Time travel is possible—I’ll start there—and my favorite way to go is by car. My latest destination?
The Old Mystic Inn!
The charming coastal community of Mystic, Connecticut is steeped in history, especially maritime. Conveniently situated between New York and Boston, it’s an ideal vacation destination with restaurants, shops, attractions, museums, and the famed aquarium. Yet I was headed somewhere else, a colonial-era bed & breakfast three miles north of historic downtown.
I was greeted upon arrival by huge maple trees with sprawling limbs, white picket fences, flowers, and a lovely gazebo. The property includes the Main House, dating back to 1784, and the Carriage House, a modern addition with suite-style accommodations. Since I’d learned about the place from a history-loving friend, (an author, like me!) of course I’d arranged to stay in the oldest part of the inn. Each room of the two-level country colonial offers a mix of antique and reproduction furnishings, hardwood and inlaid flooring, private bath, queen-sized bed, and a fireplace. They’re also named after famous writers… Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, and Dickinson to name a few.
The excitement of meeting up with my friend outshined everything until we settled in, but it soon became impossible to ignore our surroundings. Afternoon tea in a delightfully appointed parlor, grandfather clocks, chiming the hour. There are several impressive clocks in the Main House, and I wanted to take ALL of them home! Folk art, curiosities, maps… My favorite things, aside from the clocks, were old tavern signs. Everything had a story, some bit of history to explore.
My room was gorgeous, but what impressed me most was the attention to detail. A quilted bedspread, needlepoint pillows on wing-back chairs, an antique doll on a dresser, vintage books stacked on elegant nightstands, beeswax candles on the mantle. I’d traveled back in time. Full immersion into 18th century New England. *sigh*
After an awesome dinner at a popular eatery, offering everything from steak to seafood (I had Shepherd’s Pie) we returned to enjoy nighttime at the inn. I thought the place was great during the day, but darkness made it magical. It felt cozier, more soothing. I imagine it's breathtaking during the colder months…when the many fireplaces are lit, golden and crackling. There’s one in every room, and the innkeeper, Michael S. Cardillo, Jr., and his staff light them for guests. Even those in their bedrooms! But the hearth in the “Keeping Room” is the biggest, and we parked ourselves in front of it. The space is designed for conversation and “keeping,” with overstuffed furniture and soft tones of colonial music in background. There are also games if you’d like to play…chess, checkers, and cards. We opted for wine and storytelling—hands down two of our favorite pastimes!
When we were all talked out, laughed out, and the clocks were reminding us it was well past midnight, I snuggled into my private space. Time slowed further. The bedroom was relaxing to a soul-deep level. All the modern comforts—luxury even—yet it still felt old-world. Outside, the wind had picked up, and I fell asleep to the hushed creaks of enduring wood. *deeper sigh*
I slept well, because I woke up late the next morning and was surprised to find other guests were already enjoying breakfast in the parlor. It’s a cheerful, busy time, yet my room was insulated from the bustle. Innkeeper Michael is also the Executive Chef. And a wonderful chef, indeed! I promise you’ll never be disappointed with the delights coming from his kitchen.
But what would one of my adventures be without something spooky? Did I mention the Old Mystic Inn is haunted? By more than one polite ghost? If that doesn’t entice you, there are all sorts of fun things to do nearby. I spent my second day, trekking around old cemeteries and historic haunts, yet there are many other places and events to entertain year-round.
So, if you’re up for a bit of time travel, quintessential New England ambiance, great food, history, and a new “old” favorite haunted inn, check out the Old Mystic Inn. www.oldmysticinn.com Tell Innkeeper Michael,
"Kathryn Hills sent me!"
Just a note… I received nothing in return for this fair and honest review. Just some great memories. 😊