Fall Foodie & Family Day Trip Itinerary For Mystic, Connecticut
I haven't been in the US in the fall in four years and from what I've experienced, the fall in the US is just so much more colorful than in Europe. So, when I booked my tickets to fly to CT for a family wedding, I was thrilled to be able to visit Connecticut again in the height of the most colorful and tasty season. In addition to seeing the beautiful fall foliage, I was excited to spend time in Mystic, one of my favorite old stomping grounds and one of the most popular places to visit in all of Connecticut. So, let's dive into how to spend a perfect fall day (or any day, really) in Mystic, Connecticut.
Fall Day Trip Itinerary: Mystic
As with all of my travels, I focus on food with sightseeing tucked in around the eating. So, I've included my new and old favorite foodie-friendly finds here, as well as family-friendly options. Mystic is a haven for really excellent restaurants, so it has actually been tricky to narrow this list down to just enough picks for one day. If you are in the area longer and seeking more suggestions, check out this post which has more of my favorites from the area.
Breakfast + Downtown
Since today will be a day of serious eating, my suggestion is to start with something lighter for breakfast, and obvious, a cup of tasty coffee. And combine eating and sightseeing together and you've got my personal favorite travel (and family-friendly) mashup.
Start your day with a tasty bagel with cream cheese and large cup of coffee at Green Marble in downtown Mystic. With those goodies in hand, stroll the streets of downtown Mystic and enjoy family-friendly and foodie stops at some of my favorite shops: Bank Square Books, Mystical Toys, and Spice and Tea Exchange. While sipping your coffee, be sure to check out this historic Mystic River Bascule Bridge, which opened in 1920, and spot historic ships docked at Mystic Seaport.
After your breakfast and stroll, head to Mystic Seaport, which really is something all visitors to the area must see. Mystic Seaport is an outdoor living museum, exhibiting coastal life in New England during the 19th century. Here, you'll have the chance to see blacksmiths at work, board former whaling vessels from the 1800s, and even see boats being built and restored. Visiting in the fall is particularly beautiful with the colorful foliage, and there are numerous events (like Nautical Nightmares) that are worth getting tickets for. Mystic Seaport is also great for kids of all ages because they can run around like animals on the town square and even play with old fashioned toys. Personally, I love Mystic Seaport now as an adult and when I was a kid.
Lunch + Olde Mistick Village
Now back to food. My new favorite local find for lunch has to be Bleu Squid located in Olde Mistick Village. Olde Mistick Village is an outdoor shopping village with beautiful landscaping, which over the past few years has gotten a new lease on life with some hip shops and restaurants opening up (like Vault Coffee, Bleu Squid, and Jealous Monk brewery).
Bleu Squid is a delectable fancy grilled cheese restaurant (that now serves breakfast!). During my recent visit with my mom and sister, we tried the spinach and pesto grilled cheese, plain grilled cheese, and chicken and apple grilled cheese. We all agreed that the pesto grilled cheese was our favorite. Also, we shared a plate of mac and cheese, which was so good and would certainly please any picky kid. For lighter options, Bleu Squid also serves salads that sounded pretty darn tasty as well.
If you are craving dessert, Bleu Squid sells excellent homemade cupcakes with the seasonal fall flavors being pumpkin and blueberry. Since I love chocolate, I'm a big fan of their double chocolate and their chocolate orange cupcakes. I definitely recommend trying a cupcake or taking one to go.
B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill
Now that you are completely full, time for another fall foodie stop! B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill, which is the oldest steam powered cider mill in all of the US, is a fun seasonal stop. Clyde's is only open seasonally, from September until December, so this is a must-visit if you are in the area this fall. At Clyde's, you and your family can watch cider being produced using the old steam powered mill (only on weekends) and check out the inner workings of the old mill.
But what would a cider mill be without some tastings? Inside the two on-site shops, those over 21 can taste hard ciders and apple wines. They've also got a wide array of apple products for purchase such as cider, cider doughnuts, apple butter BBQ sauce (so good), honey, maple syrup, and more all from local producers or made in-house.
If you somehow manage to have space in your stomach, my personal favorite pick for dinner has to be the downstairs of Captain Daniel Packer Inne (in downtown Mystic). This tiny restaurant/pub offers delicious foods (I dream of their goat cheese medallions) in a really cozy environment -- perfect for a crisp fall evening.
If you have more time in Mystic, another family-friendly option is the popular Mystic Seaport. And if you are looking to try out the delicious wine options in the area, check out this post.