An adventure to Mystic CT with a pit-stop in NYC

Nostalgia is in, re-creating core summer memories from childhood is fueling how we spend our time off whether at home catching fireflies, enjoying the craveable flavors of our grain free granola, or on our most recent adventure to Mystic CT, aka the setting for the iconically 80’s movie, “Mystic Pizza.” 

We didn’t actually visit the shop itself, but can confirm that Mystic Pizza is in fact a real place in the quaint water-front Connecticut town (and after some quick research I can report there is no GF pizza option yet) Though it wasn’t this particular film that inspired the trip, the destination was chosen by an extended family member for its feature in a Hallmark movie- “Mystic Christmas.” It’s no surprise that Mystic has been the set of multiple films with its new england village vibes, historic homes lining the main street, and even a drawbridge. We explored fun shops and restaurants downtown and found there were options for everyone in our extended family! 

While Mystic is situated on a sound that leads to the ocean, for the authentic beach experience we drove about 30 minutes North to Rhode Island, where we enjoyed the sand and waves of the chilly Atlantic ocean. Exploring the area would certainly not have been complete for this family without driving by the ever-famous Holiday House owned by Taylor Swift- aka the inspiration for her folklore-era song, “The Last Great American Dynasty.” Sitting up with spectacular views of the water, the Watch Hill Rhode Island property is conveniently located on a 10 MPH- street, perfect for looking without drawing attention.

On our way to CT, we decided to make this a 2-part adventure with an overnight visit to NYC. To make it a little easier to navigate the city, we stayed across the river in New Jersey and took the train into Penn Station. It was the kids’ first time in the city so naturally we spent time people-watching (great street-performers) and billboard watching in Times Square! We opted for food that was easy to grab and go- the kids sampled NY Pizza and bagels, while I ordered take-out from gf Thai and Korean spots. I ordered pineapple fried rice from SaiTong Thai, in the theater district. The second spot- Moonbowls is a new take on Korean cuisine and is actually a “ghost kitchen” operation with food being made out of a Doordash Kitchen. It was very good, all gluten-free, though a bit spicy for someone who doesn't typically eat spicy food! I had their chicken nuggets, fries, and a customizable "steak bowl' with jasmine rice, kimchi, chili-dusted pineapple, and roasted broccoli. Before heading onward to CT, we explored Dumbo and the Brooklyn Flea Market, drove along the waterfront, and stopped into Pow! Kids Books.

If you’re looking for a last-minute roadtrip destination on the East Coast this summer, the Atlantic ocean, saltbox houses, and quaint downtowns are awaiting you in New England!