This Month's MagazineDining and SpiritsArts and EntertainmentTravel and LeisureHome and Real EstateHealth and WellnessShopping & FashionEvents and PicsElegant Wedding Magazine

Bookmark and share

Issue Date: March 2005 Issue


Into the Mystic

Discover living history in Connecticut's 19th-century seaport.
Doris Larson

If You Go:

Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea

1-888-973-2767 www.mysticseaport.org

At Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea, a panoramic landscape of white sails is set against a brilliant blue sky. The sails top the tall ships berthed on the Mystic River, where a fleet of more than 500 vessels comprise America's leading maritime museum.

As I walk along the dock, a lusty sea chantey draws me to the Charles W. Morgan, circa 1841, the country's last wooden whaling ship from a once-great Yankee fleet.

Kids are clambering up the gangplank of this square-rigger, settling on the deck to watch young, blue-shirted Mystic staffers climb the swinging rope ladder to set the sails. A few lucky kids are chosen to help steady the ropes.

With sounds of clanging bells and a strong wind against the sails, I join the cluster of families huddled against the rail. We follow our Mystic guide into the bowels of the ship, stooping in the dank chambers to get to the cell-like rooms where sailors slept.

From the Morgan, it's a short walk to the preservation shipyard, where historic vessels are restored by people working with19th-century tools. The freedom schooner Amistad was built in this shipyard.

The aroma of cooking over an open-hearth fire draws me to the Village Green, where I'm sidetracked by "A Tale of a Whaler," a play in progress on the Performance Stage. Actors in this interactive drama pull audience members into the action several times a day. As I wander the village, I make stops at the cooperage and the shipcarver's shop and lunch on clam chowder at Spouter Tavern, named for Ishmael's "very spot for cheap lodging in ‘Moby-Dick.' "

After a morning with the kids, I'm ready to visit Mystic's exhibit galleries lined up around a center green known as Anchor Circle. I stop to view the collection of ships' figureheads, those "silent pilots" of the sea, lining the walls of the Wendell Building. Another exhibit, Women & the Sea, takes a look at the role women played in maritime history.

As I leave, one last chorus of a sea chantey follows me.

Way, hey, blow the man down ...


Comments. All comments must be approved by our editorial staff.
 
Choose an identity
Other Anonymous
 
Name 
Website 
All of these fields are optional.
CAPTCHA Validation
Retype the code from the picture
CAPTCHA Code Image
Speak the code Change the code
 


Home | Subscribe | Archives | Advertise | Newsstands | Contact Us | Jobs | Legal
© Cleveland Magazine 2014 | P: (216) 771-2833 | F: (216) 781-6318 | 1422 Euclid Ave. Suite 730 Cleveland, Ohio 44115
This site is a member of the City & Regional Magazine Association