Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Trip - Mystic Seaport

After yesterday's disappointment at a weekend-only attraction, we checked the internet first to be sure Mystic Seaport in Connecticut is open on weekdays in October. It is.

We had three places on our itinerary, but the main one was Mystic. So we headed out bright and early for the Connecticut coast, stopping in Groton to tour the USS Nautilus.

They had a gate blocking the entrance to the parking lot and a sign saying that Tuesday's hours are 1 - 4pm. We were there at 11am. So we went up the coast to Mystic.

Mystic Seaport includes the waterfront, where historical ships are docked, village shops that relate to the old seafaring days, and restoration work. They also have a planetarium, and an aquarium is nearby.

We started with the ships. They have whalers...

... fishing boats...

... and a host of others of all sizes.

The schooner, the L.A. Dunton, was under repair, with four people scraping the hull.

And the whaler was getting some help in the rigging.

We learned that I had got things wrong when I was writing my post on Minuteman National Historic Park. The soldier-historian had told us about the economic difficulties of having British soldiers moonlighting in the Boston area for low pay. He talked about "Rope..." something, which none of us could remember correctly, so I left that detail out of my post. But on the map of Mystic Seaport, there was a long building labeled, "Rope Walk," and that's exactly what the soldier had said.

We made sure to visit it to see what it was and why having cut-rate British labor might cause trouble in Boston.

A Rope Walk is a building where rope is made. For a seaport like Boston, rope walks must have employed a lot of men, so the job losses would have put a lot of families in dires straits and contributed to anti-British hostility.

The original rope walk building in Mystic was about 1000 feet long, but it had been shortened to about a third or fourth the sized for tourists.

They showed the process, from the spinning of the yarns, to the forming of the strands by twisting together the yarns, to the laying and twisting of the strands to make a rope.

We walked around the water's edge, admiring the ships and boats from dockside.

A sparkle of sunlight on the water...

A reflection...

And we boarded the larger boats to see the kind of life--and woodwork--that is no longer part of our era.

After the waterfront, we looked inside the craftsmen's shops.

In the bay window of the apothecary shop, these carafes caught the sunlight.

Scooter came with us. Pets are allowed on a leash, but not in the buildings or on the ships. So when my brother and I were indoors or aboard ship, Scooter and my mom got to rest while they waited for us.

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