Into the Mystic

The Mystic River in Mystic, CT

Other than a good pint of ale and a superb piece of Yankee Pot Roast at the Griswold Inn in Essex, I’ve maintained a somewhat fleeting relationship with coastal Connecticut over the years. In my haste to reach those favored tidal sanctuaries north of the “Constitution State,” I’ve all too often overlooked those delightful and interesting communities that have greatly contributed to New England’s rich nautical history. During a recent run up to Rhode Island, I made it a point to have a long leisurely lunch in the seaport village of Mystic.

Mystic River Bascule Bridge - Mystic, CT


Besides being known for its world-class maritime museum, Mystic offers a charming waterside retreat for those road-weary warriors that have had enough of the rush on nearby Route 95. There are a number of good pubs in town, but my favorite spot to watch life go by on the Mystic River is in the upstairs taproom at the S&P Oyster Company.

Upstairs Taproom at the S&P Oyster Company in Mystic, CT

From this exceptional vantage point one can watch the hourly raising of the bascule bridge that allows safe passage to the tall ships, and those commercial and pleasure boats that make  these southern New England waters home.

Tour Boat on the Mystic River

Mystic is one of those places that allows us to see that the quality of ones journey is not just about where we’ve been, or where we are going–but it is also about those stops that we make along the way.

Posted by: Chris Poh, American Public House Review  

Ben’s raiding the cooler again!

As we close in on Independence Day, we all look forward to a holiday weekend full of all those fun and relaxing things that make summer great.  Hamburgers on the grill, a beer in the hand, and friends and family by your side are the things that make July 4th Weekend so enjoyable.

Fort McHenry

For me, I am heading to one of my absolute favorite places on earth, Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  There I plan to spend my 10 days of vacation visiting family, doing a bit of boating, and maybe I’ll even check out a tavern or two.  (Okay, maybe three or four…)  My plan on this vacation, like all my trips to Maine, is to sit.  I plan on sitting on a dock, a boat, an Adirondack chair, or hopefully on an array of well crafted barstools.  It’s time to decompress and as Otis Redding said, “watch the ships roll in and watch them roll away again.”

Boothbay Harbor 

I can’t help but wonder what our Founding Fathers would think of how we choose to celebrate this most solemn of days.  Because of the resolution agreed on back on July 4th 1776, the men who signed it put their necks in the proverbial guillotine.  Years of war, disease, and god knows what else followed during the struggle of the Revolutionary War, and in many related respects the War of 1812 as well.  And in recognition of those events we choose to barbeque.   I don’t know what the founders who lived those struggles under the constant fear of being hung for treason might think of my hotdog and potato salad celebration, but I have a guess.  I think they would find it absolutely perfect! 


People complain America has become too lazy, too pampered.  How many times have you heard people question what the founding fathers would think of us now?  Well, I like to think on this weekend they would want us to celebrate by exercising the absolute freedom to do what makes us happy.  So while you pop open a bottle of whatever and sit under the stars waiting for the fireworks, think of what Erma Bombeck said…

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.

So as always, drink and party responsibly during this holiday weekend.  But do it knowing that you are not only enjoying yourself to the fullest, but you and your loved ones are also paying a sincere homage to those who literally put their necks on the line for this little barbeque.  Somehow I couldn’t see Benjamin Franklin lecturing us on the frivolity of our Independence Day tradition.  No, I see him raiding the cooler and waiting for the baseball game to start.

Posted by: Dave McBride



Click  here to view past articles on America’s finest  colonial taverns. 

The Griswold Inn in Essex, CT brings you back to a better time

The Griswold Inn located in Essex, CT is one of those places that make you feel like you’ve crossed back in time about 200 years when you walk through its doors.  It is dripping with history and some of the details that adorn every corner of this tavern make you stop in your tracks and admire them.  Like this sign below…

found at the Griswold Inn in Essex, CT

I found it strange that only these two groups of people need to report to the captain of the vessel.  Are these truly the only folks he should be concerned about?  Ahh, how I long for the good old days when homeland security meant keeping track of gamblers and “fancy women”…

Click here to read our article from the Griswold.  It is a captivating pub situated within a gorgeous and historic New England town.

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