Mystic provides safe harbor for seaport visitors

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MYSTIC, Conn. -- Built high, wide and handsome atop a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound, the Inn at Mystic is a safe harbor for visitors eager to take in the sights and sounds of this fabled seaport, a 19th century hub of maritime commerce that is one of the eastern seaboard's fastest-growing vacation areas.

Actually several venues in one, the 15-acre Inn at Mystic resort is itself a piece of living history, its showplace being the Haley Mansion, a colonial revival structure built in 1904.

The mansion -- from which clients can enjoy views of the harbor, the sound and the Pequotsepos Cove -- offers five individually decorated guest rooms that feature canopied beds, original wallpaper, designed fabrics, steambath/whirlpool, verandas and balconies.

The mansion, including a 40-foot-by-70-foot tented terrace, also is available as a conference facility.

Clients may prefer accommodations in the adjacent Gate House, which offers four guest rooms, one of which (Room No. 8) is where Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart honeymooned in 1945.

The Gate House, which overlooks a small orchard, features English paneling, fireplaces with imported mantels, antiques and whirlpool baths.

Both the Haley Mansion and the Gate House sit in isolation from the 40-room Motor Inn, whose charms, like those of the 12-room East Wing behind it, reside more in their interior amenities than in their plain-Jane motel exterior.

Many of the accommodations in the Motor Inn and the East Wing, which backs out on the property's terrace tennis court, include refrigerators, balconies and wood-burning fireplaces. All of the East Wing's ground-level rooms feature whirlpools.

Clients should be aware that the lower East Wing rooms are accessible only by staircase.

Rooms in all four venues feature cable TV, telephones, coffeemakers, hair dryers and Internet access.

The Inn at Mystic offers free use of its outdoor tennis court, two putting greens, heated outdoor pool and adjacent soaking tub as well as its boats and canoes.

Dinner -- not to mention lunch and a bountiful breakfast buffet -- is served daily in the Inn's elegant Flood Tide restaurant, where classic tableside preparation re-creates the elan of grand dining.

Added Flood Tide touches include free afternoon tea service and cocktail piano performances in the lounge during evenings.

The Inn at Mystic is located at the junction of Routes 1 and 27 two miles from Interstate 95, about 90 miles south of Boston and 130 miles north of New York.

Rates at the Inn at Mystic range from $95 midweek in winter to $295 Fridays, Saturdays and holidays during the summer and fall.

For more information, call (800) 237-2415 or visit the property's Web site at www.innatmystic.com.

A quick look at available packages

The Inn at Mystic offers a number of packages, including:

  • The Perfect Gift, priced at $525, double, includes accommodations, dinner for two in the Flood Tide restaurant, in-room champagne, tickets to the nearby Marinelife Aquarium and a keepsake gift.
  • The Mystic Aquarium Celebration, from $119 to $184 per person, double, offers two nights' accommodations in the Motor Inn, dinner and an aquarium ticket.
  • Newport Mansion/Rolls-Royce, at $345 per person, double, includes two nights in Haley Mansion; a chauffeured tour of Newport, R.I., and nearby Stonington in a Rolls-Royce, and dinner. This plan is available Sept. 5 to Dec. 20.
  • Sampling the seaport's sites

    MYSTIC, Conn. -- The mystique of Mystic?

    In addition to its littoral geography, with its picturesque coves and New England village ambience, Mystic offers an array of attractions for visiting clients. Here is a sampling:

  • Mystic Seaport. This 17-acre complex is both an open-air museum of U.S. maritime history and a functioning shipyard where the art and science of 19th century shipbuilding come to life.
  • It was here, in one of the 60 buildings and shops that make up this sprawling re-creation of a waterside community, that the Amistad was recreated for its launch in 2000.

    Don't miss the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaler in the world and a National Historic Landmark. Like all the ships docked here, it is open to the public.

    Mystic River cruises aboard aboard the Sabino, a rare coal-fired, steam-powered ferry, are popular.

    Admission costs $17 for adults and $9 for children ages 6 to 12.

  • Mystic Aquarium. Water creatures of all kinds, from spider crabs to beluga whales, rule the waves at this kingdom of the sea.
  • Among the most popular attractions are the Coral Reef exhibit, the Alaskan Coast exhibit and the Challenge of the Deep, an interactive model of a high-tech ocean explorer vessel.

    Admission costs $16 for adults; $11 for children ages 3 to 12.

    For more on the seaport or the aquarium, call (888) 9-SEAPORT or visit www.mysticseaport.org.

  • Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. A 22,000-square-foot re-creation of a 16th century Pequot Indian village, this tribute to Connecticut's native American population features the most lifelike mannequins this side of the Rue Morgue.
  • Had enough history? Take a free shuttle bus to nearby Foxwoods Casino, whose success made this museum possible. Admission is $10 for adults; $6 for children ages 6 to 15.

    For more information, call (800) 411-9671 or visit www.mashantucket.com.

  • And then there is Mystic Pizza, located in downtown Mystic.
  • If you remember the movie of the same name, this is the place and for that alone it is worth stopping by.

    There is no admission charge -- the profit is in the pizza. For more information, check out the menu.

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