above image: Barn Island @italirican2003 Bluff Point State Park Popular walking, mountain biking, picnic, fishing…
by Francesca Street
The picturesque, coastal town (well actually zip-code 06355) of Mystic Connecticut is probably best associated with Julia Roberts’ breakthrough 1988 romantic comedy Mystic Pizza. The film, a coming of age story revolving around Roberts and her fellow waitresses Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor, cemented Roberts’ status as a Hollywood star and put Mystic, Connecticut firmly on the map. Twenty-six years later, the eponymous pizza parlor continues to attract movie fans from far and wide and is one of Mystic’s most popular tourist attractions.
Mystic’s idyllic location on the Mystic River, its world-famous maritime museum Seaport, and its host of independent shops and amazing restaurants make it a pretty fantastic holiday destination. Unsurprisingly, the town has a few other high-profile fans besides Julia and co.
Want to follow in their footsteps? Read on to discover a few famous faces that have enjoyed the sights and sounds of Mystic Connecticut and to find out about their favorite Mystic hangouts:
1. Taylor Swift
The most recent high-profile visitor to Mystic was chart-topping, Grammy-award-winning musician Taylor Swift. Since buying her seaside mansion in nearby Watch Hill, Swift has been spotted several times exploring the region.
In June 2013, Swift spent the day enjoying ice cream cones from Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream and admiring Mystic’s beautiful riverside views along with friend and fellow singer Selena Gomez. Swift uploaded a Vine in which she and Gomez celebrated the beginning of summer whilst sitting on Mystic’s famous drawbridge.
Some weeks later, Swift took thirty of her backing dancers for a celebratory meal at Mystic’s riverside S and P Oyster Company and once again paid a visit to Drawbridge Ice Cream for dessert. As the summer months once again descend upon us, it seems likely Mystic residents will once again see Swift return to the town to sample more of its culinary delights.
Want to follow in her footsteps? Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream, which prides itself on top quality ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, is open all day every day from 10am-11pm during the summer months. Meanwhile, if you want to book the S & P Oyster House for dinner the restaurant can be contacted via their website www.sp-oyster.com seven days a week.
2. Meryl Streep
Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep has a long-standing link with Connecticut. She famously eschewed the LA lifestyle and chose to bring up her family in the Connecticut town of Salisbury, where she still lives to this day.
Streep also has a long-standing link to the town of Mystic. Her parents owned a retirement home on Mason’s Island and Streep chose the island as the location for her marriage to her husband Don Gummer in 1978. During this time, she was apparently a regular visitor to the town. Most intriguingly, the New London Day reports that on one visit to Mystic, Streep bought an outfit at a local shop which she proceeded to wear to the 1989 Academy Awards.
Whilst filming 2012 film Hope Springs in the Mystic area, Streep was reported to have bought clothing from the Stonington branch of Clad In, which also has a shop on Mystic’s Main Street. No word yet as to whether she plans to wear the clothes at a future Oscars ceremony!
Want to check out Streep’s favorite Mystic hangouts? The naturally stunning Mason’s Island is a must-visit if you are in the Mystic area. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway and is also home to the famed breakfast destination Kitchen Little. Kitchen Little was previously located on the highway near the Seaport, but its new setting provides larger seating area and more spectacular views. The restaurant also has another celebrity link: rumor has it that Foo Fighter front-man Dave Grohl once enjoyed a post-gig brunch at Kitchen Little!
3. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the iconic movie star couple, chose Mystic Connecticut as their honeymoon destination in 1945. Bacall and Bogart had met on the set of To Have and To Have Not a year earlier and the two went on to star in several movies together, including The Big Sleep. Bacall and Bogart chose Mystic because it was the antithesis of Hollywood and the couple proceeded to spend a secluded few days enjoying the town and its sights.
Bacall and Bogart stayed at The Inn at Mystic, a grand, Georgian hotel overlooking the water. Want to follow in their footsteps? The Inn has plenty of rooms to suit different needs and requirements, whilst for those who simply want a taster of the glamor, the Inn’s newly re-opened restaurant The Harbour House prides itself on “fresh, seasonal, local” cuisine.
The Harbour House’s elegant bar with its views over the water sounds the ideal setting for a relaxing summer evening; admiring the stunning views and pretending to be a classic, Hollywood star.