And by part three I mean week two! This isn’t confusing at all.
And also, YES this is in Friday Flotsam’s spot. I know! I’m sorry. We were all achingly tired yesterday, so I gave myself the day off and violently shoved yesterday’s post into today’s slot and man it feels good to be a gangster.
So week two! We’re all settled. In a rhythm. Feeling adventurous. Up for anything. TAKING IN THAT SEA AIR.
Like these clowns. ^
That Monday we ate through two strawberries.
Wait, that’s not it.
That Monday, the weather was sunny and bright, so we spent the afternoon down by the swimming dock raft thingy. It’s this tiny wooden platform with no sides that serves zero purpose but to send my anxiety into overdrive.
But I’m fine. It’s fine.
Lots of people have asked about these bikes, and when I say they’re Public bikes, I mean the brand. Not that we rented them from the city. Ha! The brand is actually called Public, which I’m sure in hindsight they’re like, CRAP. People are like, “Ohhh okay, public bikes.” And I’m like, “No no, Public! They’re ours. Never mind.”
And yep, they’re balance bikes. Which at first I thought was loco, but Aaron pushed for it, and now they glide around uphill and downhill like no bigs and remember that anxiety thing I mentioned above? Right.
That evening we went to Engine Room in Mystic! L O T S of you recommended this place, and I totally forgot to get a photo because we were outside and the sun was directly on the food and it would have been blown out and you would have deleted me from your life.
But! If you go, get the hush puppies. OMG, the side butter was this rosemary MAPLE butter and I wanted to make the rest of my life about it.
The next day was overcast and foggy, so we strolled around Stonington Borough, dipped into little shops here and there, zigzagged through the neighborhoods and gawked over the houses that oooooze all the New England charm.
Hideous place, this is.
The fog was so intense and moody and I was like, “I KNOW YOU’RE HERE, NICHOLAS SPARKS.”
You know me and feet photos.
This is basically what every house looks like here. White picket fences, vibrantly-manicured window boxes, timeless, intricate details in the windows and doors.
In other words, WAAAAAAAAAH.
Oh! Found the most incredible chipotle black bean soup at The Coq & Co, right there on the Borough. UNREAL. We took a pit stop at this tucked-away park to let the kids run around while Aaron and I split this spicy, warm cup o’ black bean bliss. It is now my life mission to recreate this soup for you. You’ll cry forever.
We kept meandering through the beautiful streets, looking for Mystic Pizza locations (IT’S WHO I AM, OKAY), and stopping along the way to smell the water, breathe in the hauntingly-thick fog, and of course to imagine the very worst scenarios in which my family accidentally falls over that stone ledge to their demises.
. . . It was time for wine.
So we popped on over to our second vineyard of the trip, this time landing at Stonington Vineyards. CUTE place. Charming and lush and right out of a dang movie.
WHAT, Will. You’re getting milk, okay?
The next day the sun came out with a vengeance, so we decided there was no other direction for our life than a LOBSTAH CRAAAAWL!
And by crawl I mean two places because I got full and sleepy.
Of course we started with Ford’s! WORLD FAMOUS and downright fabulous. (AND MYSTIC PIZZA WAS SHOT HERE.) (Remember the scene where the gal rides her scooter down that hill, holding a giant pizza, and she gives it to her mom and coworkers right there on the water, working the lobsters?) (THAT WAS RIGHT HERE!) (I’m fine.)
The whole scene right there in Noank is too cute for its own good. And get this, the locals don’t even drive to Ford’s in the summers. They take their freaking boat across the water, pull right up and the servers come down to take their orders. THIS IS A NORMAL THING HERE.
Also, it’s BYOB. So everyone stops at the Universal Package (also known to the locals as “the Packey”), picks up their beer and wine and lives their best life.
And the lobster? INSANE.
Can’t even put it into words. Hot and buttery, freshest lobster flavor, UUUUUGH.
Next up! Abbott’s in the Rough. Another incredibly-famous joint right there in Noank. Just a hop, skip and jump away and you’ve found yourself in another la-la labstah land. This scene is waaay more picnicky. You order up front at a huge, festive counter, and they call your number just a few minutes later.
I WILL say, we were confused by this lobster “roll,” as it’s clearly a round bun. Theeeen I heard later on that the cold lobster rolls are the subs, and the hot rolls are round buns. Is this right, locals?!
I LOVED the lobster, however. Even more buttery than Ford’s, and still boasting that fresh, sweet, luxurious ocean flavor.
I think OVERALL I preferred Ford’s lobster, but I totally appreciated the kid-friendly vibe at Abbott’s. Both 1923829482932% worth a visit.
Bring your boat.
And your beer.
After our lob lob (<—omg no.), we kept driving until we found another charming New England town – Niantic. We popped into a few local shops, walked the farmer’s market for a second, and found THE BOOK BARN. Highly recommended from a crap ton of you – this place was incredible. A book shop, like ALL OVER THIS LAND. They even had a playground and GOATS. As in, alive goats on a small patch of farm-like land.
No, it’s true.
That evening Aaron decided to, oh you know – DIG UP DINNER.
What is this life?
Saturday morning we made the 5-minute drive (EVERYTHING IS SO CLOSE HERE) over to Mason’s Island for breakfast. Kitchen Little is this ooooooold-school, quick-paced diner right there on the water. Thick, northern accents welcome you as you wait for a table (it’s um, popular), and the food was classic, comforting and fresh.
I got the Mystic scramble (I THINK that’s what it was called), and it was seriously crazy delicious. Fresh crab meat and the softest cream cheese are are tucked into the fluffiest scrambled eggs and I bawled for an hour.
Oh, that mound of soggy paper towels to my right? Yeah, Will decided to dump his entire ice-cold water right in my lap.
It was n’awesome.
After breakfast we made our way over to the Stonington Farmer’s market for kale, a handmade linen candle, fresh scallops and Italian ice. Then we strolled over to these boats because the man who sold us the scallops said to go check out the two blue boats because those are the literal boats that brought up our scallops and we should know where our FOOD COMES FROM.
Did the kids even rightly care?
You tell me.
Look at this unbelievably-cool random rainbow in that cloud? How perfect is that?
Remember the whole anxiety thing?
I SWEAR THIS POST IS ALMOST OVER.
Father’s Day! Aaron ventured into Mystic and picked up some deeelicious goodies from Sift Bake Shop.
It is now my life mission to eat a ham and cheese croissant every day until I die.
After breakfast we took the 20-minute scenic drive (EVERYTHING IS SO CLOSE HERE) back to Watch Hill for a spin on the famous carousel, and some much-needed beach time.
I didn’t get in.
. . .Just love.
They actually ASKED to be buried in that hot sand. I don’t understand this at all.
Once we started to feel crispy and weary, and headed back to our neck of the woods to clean up and head back to Saltwater Vineyard for some oysters and WINE. Because wine and Father’s Day and let’s pretend it’s Mother’s Day again.
First up though, we stopped in at the Sea View Snack Bar for a cold (AND SURPRISINGLY AMAZING) lobster roll and fried clams. We have eaten our weight in fried clams on this trip and I could not be happier about it.
The view here is perfection. Two adorable shack-like huts next to each other, one serving ice cream, and the other, fried clams. And food. Lobster. All of that.
THAT IS A SHIP BACK THERE.
And that was week two!
So much food, so much fun, so much sand.
Like, SO. MUCH. SAND.
Also, thanks for humoring me for what felt like 45 months just now.