My most recent getaway was a girls weekend to Mystic, CT. After lobbying for location ideas we decided on this waterside town because none of us had ever vacationed there. We wanted the coastal feel and it was a short hike (or so we thought…beware it took much longer than expected with summer traffic-but it was worth it) from Jersey.
I take the reins when it came to activity planning; it’s a task I both enjoy and take seriously if handed over to me. I went into the trip planning with only one clear directive from the group. One of my friends had created a “Before 30 Bucket List” and we were all chipping in to help her reach her goal. Her birthday was in September and she had a few items left to check off; sailing was one of them. I grew up at the shore and had grandparents who lived on a lagoon with their very own sailboat in their backyard. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear someone hadn’t even set foot on a sailboat! Mystic was the perfect destination for a sailing adventure and I was determined to set up this expedition.
Typically, my main planning focus on any trip is always food related. What are the restaurants, experiences, events we need to hit up while in town? Any friends and family who know me and have heard my travel adventures, always know that even the trip story is primarily focused on food. (“Oh the sightseeing was great but, the Osso Bucco at the Purple Pig was the best pork I’ve ever had and don’t get me started on Chicago style pizza.”….sentiments from a recent trip to Chicago sounded a lot like this).
For the first time in a while, I have to say that the highlight of my trip was not surrounding a food related experience and for that reason exactly, I felt compelled to share.
It goes back to that sailing experience I was working on planning. After seeding through search results for basic harbor tours and family-oriented sail outings, I finally came across what I hoped to be our perfect match. And it ended up being just that!
I contacted our captain, Darin, and set us up for a 2 hour Sunset Cruise around the Harbor. The 4 of us would have a boat to ourselves and it was BYOB for all food and beverages we wanted to bring along (wine and cheese party here we come!). I will admit I was a bit skeptical booking our excursion because the website was a bit novice and the deposit had to be mailed by check (praying I didn’t just get taken by an online scam). But, the experience made up for what the website lacked.
Our Sunset cruise had to be moved when the day came due to rain so, we rescheduled to the next morning for the Sunrise tour. When we arrived, Captain Darin helped us get settled in and we were off. He graciously provided us with a stereo that we could plug our iPhones into to set the musical tone. (Bob Marley Pandora station did the trick) Since we did not want cheese and crackers and wine, as I mentioned earlier, to go bad we had a very European style breakfast. (And why not we were on vacation!) We took turns steering the boat, taking in the view, sun bathing, and gabbing away. Captain Darin was great at answering questions about the area, although it was not intended to be a sightseeing cruise. He also provided us with some great local recommendations for activities to do and food spots to try out during our stay. Although Captain Darin was with us the entire time, the outing also felt very private and we got ample “Girl Time” in.
Our 2 hours were up too quick but, we were informed that the next time we visit he welcomes 6 hour tours with stops for swimming, lunch, etc., as well. As I said before, I seldom get so enthusiastic about a non-food related activity (although we did have a great little spread). I would encourage those traveling up that way to look into Captain Darin and one of his “tours.” He sails on into October and can fit small groups for that intimate setting and to get away from the crowds. Also, on a side note for all those travelling on a budget, this trip will not break your bank! It is truly only a couple bucks more than those big group harbour tours they offer around town.
Check out Captain Darin here: http://www.sailpoetslounge.com/Mystic_CT_sailing_charter.html
Until next time-Happy Sails!