We left around noon from NYC and drove straight to Holmberg Orchards Farm, which is super close to Mystic Connecticut. Potential traffic (plus a baby and a toddler in a car) for our first 2+ hour trip could definitely cause delays. I was super excited we didn’t have to reserve tickets!
We made it without having to stop and there were barely any people at the farm (double woo, haha)! When we went (Labor Day weekend) they had apples, nectarines, pears, and peaches available for picking. It was nice to be able to go apple picking before Autumn officially hit! I am not one to rush seasons or holidays (Halloween decor in August STAAP), but I admit I got a little rush from it!
Growing up, I never went to a farm. Heck, I didn’t even know how certain things grew til’ I got much older (how old, I ain’t sayin’), so it feels great to be able to have the kids experience all this stuff early on.
The apple trees were miniature, and had apples at eye level for my 3 year old, which was so nice. She has been to a few farms before, but it was my son’s first time. He stayed in the stroller for the most part (YES! It’s stroller friendly!). When my daughter would pick something, I’d bring it to him and tell him the name of it. Don’t laugh-it might stick, you never know!
They have an actual bathroom there (not porta potty). Ok, don’t get me wrong, if I have to go, I’ll most def use it! But c’mon, you have to admit it’s straight up nasty (LOL). So, MAJOR plus for that.
There is a stand serving up the absolute BEST apple cider donuts we have EVER had! There is plenty of seating in that area also. They make their own hard ciders, and have a small patio area for tasting with two tables. There are vines surrounding the space making you feel like you’re at a miniature vineyard. Adorbs!
We got all the flavors, and tried a few while we were there (we took the rest home). The overall favorite was the original Apple Cider. The rosé cider wasn’t as good as I’d thought it would be, but it wasn’t bad either. If you are limiting yourself to one, personally I’d stick to the original.
They have a market with so many goodies. I LOVE farm markets! We got a slice of apple crumble, local honey (a must!), and berry muffins (perfect for quick breakfasts). Everything was SO. GOOD.
We went to the famous Mystic Pizza afterwards. Apparently the writer of the movie Mystic Pizza went there and felt inspired to write a movie about it. I am a pizza fanatic, so I had to try it. To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be all that great. I wanted to try it more so because I felt like it’s a staple of Mystic, Connecticut…and of course because there is a movie named after it!
They have two entrances, one for dine-in and the other for take out. The line was out the door for the take-out side. They don’t take reservations, so its first come first serve. Our wait was about 45 minutes, which blinked by after a diaper change, a potty trip, and deciding what we’re ordering. Deciding what to order beforehand is so helpful when sitting with kids. I mean seriously, you know they can only sit at the table patiently for only so long. Quick note, they do NOT allow strollers! You can bring a car seat in or pop your baby in a high chair if they’re big enough.
The pizza was actually pretty good! The pies look small, but they’re thick (not like deep dish thick) and aren’t cheap on the toppings. We initially ordered a plain (mostly for the kids) and a house special along with calamari. My sister decided to add on a mediterranean when she saw the size of the pies. We actually didn’t really need it, but of course we ate most of it anyway (haha)! Everything was really good and everyone enjoyed it!
After that, we explored the cute little town. It’s basically a few blocks of adorable small shops that are super tempting, well for me at least. I LOVE to shop, but I have been trying to be more conscious of my purchases. Anyway, it was VERY crowded when we were walking around, but everyone seemed respectful of the whole distancing rule. We had ice-cream at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream. There is a very narrow walkway and a CRAZY line, but it goes fast & is SO worth it. I had 1 scoop of vanilla chocolate chunk on a waffle cone. I also tried hub’s chocolate based one, both were SO DELISH! Most definitely recommend if you’re in the Mystic Connecticut area.
The next day we went to the hotel pool, which was exciting, because it’d be my son’s first time in the pool! I brought the kids’ swim vests and they had a blast! ‘floating’ about. We stayed at the Clarion Inn New London-Mystic mainly for the price, and the fact that they had an indoor pool. They only allowed 8 people in the pool at a time, which was perfect because that was the size of our party!
Just to touch on the hotel a bit, it was very budget friendly (under $120 per night for Labor Day weekend) and clean. The front desk guy, Vinny, was very helpful and friendly. We booked a King room and asked for a playpen for our son to sleep in, and they gave us one with no problem. We brought an extra blanket to cover the ‘mattress’ of it, and he luckily slept in it just fine (thank God!).
They had free wifi and complimentary breakfast too. We actually didn’t try the breakfast (if we could sleep in any bit extra we do!)-plus we had muffins…and I brought my organic instant coffee from home LOL. (I’d use one of my daughter’s milk box and my son’s water to whip up a cup). Would I recommend it? Yes. Would I stay there again? Probably not. I realized I can be a bit bougie (just with some stuff haha!).
I really wanted to do a restaurant by the water, so we went to Red 36. My sister had actually called the day before and it was a 2 hour wait, so we figured we’d try again the next day. Our plan was to go there, put our name down, and head over to a donut shop my friend recommended. When we get their and put our name down, the wait was 1 hour and 10 minutes. So, I hop back in the car where hub and the kids are waiting for me, and as soon as we start making our way out of the parking lot they call me. They tell there was a cancellation and if could come right now.
We sat outside in these adorable patio benches right by the water with giant umbrellas. We ordered lobster mac & cheese, calamari and brussels sprouts as our apps, all soo GOOD! For our meal we ordered a lobster roll, fish & chips, a salmon burger, the Red 36 burger and pizza. Everyone enjoyed their meal. I took a bite of both the salmon burger & Red 36 burger. Although they weren’t my fav, my lobster roll, which was plain, was pretty good! We stayed for quite a while & the kids were starting to get a bit loud, but nobody seemed bothered. I most definitely recommend this spot if you’re going to be in Mystic, Connecticut. It was soo relaxing, delicious, and beautiful. The service was also awesome.
We went to Ocean Beach Park later that day. Because we went later, the parking was $10 instead of (I think) $25. The sun was already low, but we brought our awesome beach tent anyway. It’s super easy to set up and take down (well thats what my hubs says, lol). We brought sand buckets and shovels and pails and the kids had a BLAST. We were able to see the sunset too, which was so beautiful. There is a nice boardwalk with ice-cream and other shops, but we stayed on the beach making sandcastles…and getting sand out of my son’s mouth. I used a rolled up muslin blanket as if it were a giant makeup brush, and it worked great!
The next day was check out day AND my wedding anniversary (6 years married, yay!)…and my husband misplaces his wedding ring! I’m usually the one that misplaces everything & he is usually super aware of where all of his stuff is, so this was definitely different. We were already running behind schedule and I could feel his anxiety. This is going to sound nuts, but check this out…I take a deep breath and I ask the universe for help finding his ring. I tell myself I trust the universe, there is no need to panic. It. will. show. up.
A few minutes later I find myself walking to my bag and taking out my wallet. I look in…and the ring is in there! OH EM GEE. We couldn’t even believe it! My daughter must have somehow put it in there, because she was playing with my wallet the morning prior. The funny thing is, I took out my wallet to make a purchase that afternoon, and I did NOT see it in there. I was super grateful, because I have been working on trusting myself more, so it felt like a big step in that direction! Anyway, now we could finally get to Mystic Aquarium! But first, Deviant Donuts!
We get to Deviant Donuts and there was only one person in front of us, which was awesome, because our time slot was ticking! So, we tried the samoan, mango raspberry, babe ruth, a chocolatey bomb (don’t remember the name), and one with peanut butter notes. Of course, I also got a yummy iced hazelnut latte. The favorite was the samoan by far (omg, SO good) followed by the mango raspberry. The chocolate one was a bit too rich for my blood (I love chocolate, but it was a lot) & the others were really good too, but favorites are favorites.
By the time we wrapped up our donut delight mess (there is seating right outside), the line was INSANE. We were SO lucky we got there when we did! The shop itself is located within Old Mystic Village, and there are so many cute vintage looking shops (hence the name).
We had actually come to the area the day before to try Deviant, but they ran out of donuts! So, if you’re going to try this spot (or any other donut spot in Mystic Connecticut) make sure you get there early! We bought a few art supplies in the toy shop and I got a few crystals and things to add to my ever growing collection at Becca Rose.
We finally make it to Mystic Aquarium, which is a 2 minutes drive from Deviant. There were a LOT of people on line, but luckily it moved fast. They check your tickets and you walk into this sort of room within the line that checks your temperature. Everything moves along pretty quickly. The aquarium has a sort of linear path that you follow for the most part, which I loved (Virgo much?). They make you keep your mask on the whole time & everyone was very respectful of social distancing while we were there.
We were able to touch sting ray and baby shark, and they also had a little water play area next to the baby shark area for kids (very cute). It was clean, and the exhibits were eye catching and beautiful. It is stroller friendly, although we decided to put our son in a carrier so he could see everything easily. The indoor exhibit has stroller parking, but I saw everyone walk in with their strollers. Not sure if strollers aren’t allowed and they allowed it because of COVID, but it’s always nice when it is actually allowed.
Overall, we all really enjoyed the aquarium, especially the interactive parts! I would definitely recommend adding this to your itinerary if you’re going to be in Mystic, Connecticut. Its great for families and just everyone in general!
Our trip to Mystic, Connecticut was a total success! We were able to go to a farm, hit up a pool, eat at a pier side restaurant (Red 36), go to Ocean Beach Park & go to Mystic Aquarium amongst other things! It was amazing to be able to do all of that while trucking along all of our stuff, a toddler and a baby! I feel so blessed to have been able to experience such a great trip in the midst of a pandemic. I can’t wait for our next adventure, YAY!