Ross and Lark are not speaking to me right now. I did not know how dog friendly Mystic, Connecticut was so made them stay at the trailer. As it turns out, they could have gone almost everywhere we went. Live and learn. Downtown Mystic, right on the Mystic River, is walkable and everywhere you looked there were dogs. Dining outside cafes and ice cream parlors, entering many stores and just enjoying the sights. Some of the boat trips even used to allow dogs, but due to covid and social distancing, they are not at this time. But dogs were definitely enjoying Mystic.
Especially, the Mystic Seaport Museum. I wouldn’t have thought to bring my dog to a museum being a staunch preservationist and indeed, dogs were not allowed in the buildings. However, the Seaport Museum is a recreated 19th Century Seafaring Village with trade shops and businesses from the 1800s transported from locations around New England. While dogs cannot go inside places like the blacksmith shop, or the cooper shop they are set up so that you can see inside from outside the building.
Doggone! Wouldn’t you have liked to hear Ross talk about them? As it was, he was snoozing at the trailer, so you’ll have to listen to my version.
The Mystic Seaport Museum sits on nineteen acres. In addition to a visitors center, bookstore, café, restaurant, seven buildings of exhibits, children’s discovery areas and playground, a boat shop and multiple maritime vessels, there are thirty-eight buildings in the Village. Everything from a stone bank to a wooden sail loft, a school, houses, drugstore, lighthouse, meeting house and ropewalk.
The ropewalk, called Plymouth Cordage Company, was established in 1824, was most fascinating. At the entrance to the building were stacked rolls and rolls of thin yarn or cord spun from natural fibers such as Manila. Those rolls file into a twist to form a strand and then, three strands are twisted together in the opposite direction to form a rope. The tension on the fibers and the changing direction of the twist holds the rope together.
The original building, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts was over 1,000 feet long and had three rope making areas. The 1,000 feet length was needed to make a 600-foot rope for sailing ships. The portion of the building at the Seaport Museum is only 250 feet long. But you get a good visual for how rope was made.
I was particularly taken with the areas for children. Several wooden playsets designed like boats were outside along with two places to practice raising a sail. There was an interior section for children seven and under that had stations like those you would find on a boat such as bunkbeds, a kitchen, cargo area, deck and of course, the captain’s wheel. A larger structure had displays and hands on activities for older children. They could check the weather, raise a sail, chart a course, or steer a boat. Another section for children of all ages encouraged them to draw a design for a figurehead of a boat. Even in the largest and most modern museum gallery, there was a structure shaped like a buoy that housed cushioned seating and cubbies of books about boats.
The boat shop was also impressive with room to hold two large boats with a gallery upstairs for visitors to look over into the boat shop and exhibits to describe the work completed there.
The museum’s website says it takes approximately four hours to visit the museum and we used all of that time. Maybe Ross wouldn’t have liked it after all. But tell that to him.