Mystic Seaport sits on 19 glorious acres fronting the Mystic River, so it’s hard to see how things can get much more idyllic (let alone historic.) But there is one way – actually more than one: take a historic charter boat out onto the water itself.
Captain Jack Spratt is known for his local historical knowledge, and offers two-hour tours aboard the appropriately vintage Encore on Wednesdays and Fridays in May. Touring the harbors of Stonington, Watch Hill and places in between, he tells the stories of expeditions of discovery, of lighthouses and life-saving stations, of battles fought and grand hotels lost. With his entertaining narrative, photographs and artifacts, he helps you look back to the day when the coast was crowded with sailing ships destined for ports around the world, and when iron rails brought steam locomotives to the docks.
Trips run two hours -- from 11 am to 1 pm every Wednesday and Friday through May 31. Cost for non-members is $65 per person; you can also charter the entire boat for up to six passengers for $350. Participants are welcome to bring snacks and drink on board. Register online or call 860 572 5331.
By the way, Encore is only one of Mystic Seaport’s many options for getting out on the water, which includes a number of charters and small boat rentals starting May 25. The most popular boat tours are via the Sabino, a 1908 National Historic Landmark coal-fired steamboat that finished a two-year restoration in 2017, and has now returned to the business of taking visitors on 90-minute trips from the Museum to the mouth of the Mystic River and back. Trips begin May 24, and operate every day of the week except Monday and Tuesday.