Mystic Pizza still holds a special place in my heart and I am sure other 80's gals feel the same. It also was the beginning of my yearning to try some of the famous pizza the gals served up in the movie. I figured one day, while traveling the world, I would make my way to Mystic Pizza.
Fast forward to June of 2007. My cousin Mick was getting married. He and his fiancee lived in the Hartford, Connecticut area. Mystic Pizza was also in Connecticut. They were planning to hold their wedding there. My parents and I decided to make a family vacation out of the trip since we had never been to the area before. The stars were aligning.
I told my parents about the movie Mystic Pizza and how I had always wanted to try their pizza. Neither of them had ever heard of the movie or the pizza. They weren't intrigued. Sighs. I had to go to plan B. There was another movie I knew they had both seen. You see, we are a bunch of Jaws junkies in my family. We are constantly quoting the movie, discussing the movie, and reminiscing about how many times we have seen the movie. It's a little disturbing how fascinated we all are with Bruce but every family has their weirdo things they do. Mine was no different.
Martha's Vineyard was in New England. It was only 5 hours from Mystic. I suggested we could also visit the island since that is where so many of the scenes from Jaws were filmed. I had visited the Vineyard a year prior and had loved it. It is a wicked cool place and so laid back. My parents told me they were totally down for a Mystic and Martha's Vineyard adventure. Well, they didn't say it that way, they don't speak like that but who cares. I was just thrilled they were on board. Let the fun begin!
A few weeks later, we all piled into my parents mini van and headed towards New England. Along the way, I reminded them that we had to eat at the famous Mystic Pizza. We HAD too! It was supposed to be the best pizza ever. We all deserved to try a little slice of heaven right? My parents assured me we could eat there. I made them promise. They promised. Then I made them pinky swear that we we going to Mystic Pizza.
Just kidding, I didn't make them pinky swear. My dad was driving and my mom was holding the map. I didn't want to cause a distraction with the elders. Besides, I had no problem being a nagging pain in the ass when I really wanted or needed something. If I had to go to the mattresses to make sure we ate there, well then I would wrap a dead fish in newspaper and deliver the Sicilian message to my parents in person. You gotta do what you gotta do right? I wanted and needed Mystic Pizza. And I would get it. But first, let me tell you about Mystic.
|Mystic Bascule Bridge|
Obviously I have no idea what I am talking about because I have about as much knowledge on bridges as I do quantum physics. I just don't know how else to describe this bridge. Anyone that has a knowledge of bridges will probably scratch their head or laugh their ass off if they read this and I apologize for that bridge people. Not trying to be offensive or anything.
Anyway, of course we had to walk across the yellow bascule bridge. Why wouldn't we? It was too awesome to not walk across. The bridge itself was only 218 feet long but it was magical nonetheless. We stopped along the walkway on the bridge and gazed down the Mystic River, checking out all the boats bobbing around in the waters. I couldn't get enough of it. We walked it several times on our trip.
On one of our evenings in Mystic, we decided to dine at the S&P Oyster Company. S&P sits right along the Mystic River across from the weighted part of the bridge. Their food was excellent with lots of great seafood dishes on the menu. It was a little pricey to dine there but definitely worth it. My dad enjoyed the oysters very much. And who could argue with such a beautiful view of the Mystic River and the Bascule bridge.
We were fortunate to have good weather that evening so we dined outside on the patio. As we ate our dinners, we watched the bridge begin it's ascent from horizontal to vertical several times, allowing sailboats to float on through to the other side of town. One sailboat made me real nervous though. I thought he was going to crash right into the bridge before it was fully lifted. My family and I stared at this scene intently, holding our breath, wondering if the white, billowy sails on the boat would get caught in the bridge, flipping the boat over.
I was in the midst of eating a french fry when this all went down. It was hanging out of my mouth while ketchup was running down my chin. I just let it roll on down, that's how intense this moment was. I had napkins. I was going to be just fine. Thankfully, the boat made the pass without incident. It's safe to say the bridge operators and local boaters had this timing thing down when it came to the bridge. If I were operating the bridge, that sailboat would have so much been doomed
|S&P Oyster Co. Nice view of the Mystic River & Bridge|
We sampled ice cream from the Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop. We perused all the sweets on display in the sweet shops. We admired colorful and unique crafts and paintings from local artists. Some of the specialty shops were crazy expensive but I must say, everything was also very nice. I loved that there were no chain stores or chain restaurants in the village. Everything was locally owned.
|The Harp and Hound Irish Pub|
I must say, I am truly fascinated with old boats for some reason. I often wondered what it would be like to sail on an old wooden ship. I don't need to go out into the ocean or anything. That would intimidate me too much I think but, I'd be happy with a little whirl around a harbor or something.
The Mystic Seaport was very enjoyable and rich with history but the Aquarium was my most favorite part of our adventure in Mystic. The bridge was definitely a close second but the bridge did not have Beluga whales. The Mystic Aquarium had Beluga whales. I was none too excited to witness the exotic beauty of these snow white mammals
The aquarium, while not huge, was well designed and very pretty. I was so impressed with how this aquarium catered to their visitors by providing great viewing platforms and accessibility to all of it's features. Even if it was a crowded day at the aquarium, there was plenty of room for everyone to take in the sights and exhibits.
One of the first exhibits we visited was the outdoor Penguin Pavilion. I'm telling you, you could pretty much walk right up the edge of the pool and witness the penguins up close and personal without any glass barrier between you and them. They were literally a few feet away from you. Naturally you couldn't touch them or anything, but it was really amazing to see them that close.
|Tickets to see the Belugas 2007|
The penguins were total characters too. We stood there forever just watching them swim and frolic. Each little avian had their own quirky personality. One penguin in particular really liked my daughter. He swam right over to her, following her as she walked along the edge. We so much wanted to pet them but of course we did not. We also got to observe them eating a snack of raw fish. That was so much fun. They were hilarious, clumsy and cute. We got quite a few laughs from our little penguin buddies.
|The Penguins. Too Cute!|
My kids and I walked over to the most beautiful tank setting I have ever seen in an aquarium. This one acre tank looked like a scene taken from the coastal area of the Beaufort Sea. It actually felt like you were standing in this picturesque yet frigid, arctic wilderness.
Along one side of the tank was a long glass observation wall perfect for whale sightseeing. Patiently, the kids and I stood facing the glass, staring intently into the dark blue waters. There were no whales to be seen. We waited and waited and waited. Nothing. Saddened and despondent, we decided to make our way to another exhibit. Maybe if we came back later, a Beluga would make an appearance.
As soon as the words left my lips, that is when she appeared out of nowhere to say hello.
|Borrowed Picture. The Mystic Arctic Coast in Winter.|
I turned and laid my eyes upon this fabulously unusual creature floating by the glass. I fell completely speechless. We all gasped at the sight, our eyes wide with surprise and amazement. Be still my beating heart. I remember saying, "Hello Gorgeous." Slowly, we walked towards the glass to get a closer look at this precious creature. We stared at her with sheer wonderment. (I later came to find it was the Beluga named Naku.) This aquatic beauty was swimming back and forth in front of the glass, spinning and turning, hamming it up for us.
|Stunning yet odd.|
We were so captivated by her. As she was swimming and diving and showing off for us, we noticed another Beluga appear by the glass. This one was much smaller, almost like a baby. He was giving us what seemed to be kisses behind the glass. ( This whale was named Juno. He was a baby Beluga. He was only 4 or 5 years old at the time of our visit. Naku was 25 or 26. )
My heart was so happy and the smile on my face was so big. The world and the distinctive creatures living in it are nothing short of miraculous.We are all miracles and we need to remember that. We need to appreciate how special we are. The kids and I could have stayed there all day long watching the beautiful Belugas flaunting their swimming skills but, it was our last day in Mystic before heading down to Hartford for the wedding.
We piled into the Mini Van and made our way through downtown. The bascule bridge was being raised as we came upon it. We had front row seats one last time before saying goodbye to this amazing bridge. Mystic Pizza was waiting on the other side.
We pulled up to the pizzeria, grabbing a spot very close to the building. The exterior of the pizzeria reminded me of the many back home. A giant sign hung above the door welcoming everyone to a slice of heaven. Luckily, as we walked into the restaurant, it was not very crowded. The interior was wall to wall hunter green wainscoting. I loved it. Booths and tables lined the little restaurant while a big neon sign advertising " A slice of heaven" hung above the pizza counter.
A giant movie poster from" Mystic Pizza" was framed on the wall along with other movie photos, memorabilia and metal street signs. It was a very quaint little pizzeria. I was digging the atmosphere. Mystic Pizza the movie was playing on one of the TVs in the restaurant. I pointed it out to my parents. I don't think they really cared.
We were seated at a table and given menus by a very nice and hospitable server. As we perused the menu, we definitely decided on a large plain pizza but also ordered some other dishes from the menu. I don't remember what we ordered because all I had was pizza vision. I could not wait to try this pizza. I was giddy with anticipation. As a lover of pizza, my palette is very distinguished I must say. The eagerness to add Mystic Pizza to my repertoire was unbearable.
We placed our order. We were all starting to get sleepy too. We had a fun, adventurous past few days but it was catching up to us. We were exhausted. The day before, we had in fact, visited Martha's Vineyard to check out all the places where scenes from Jaws were filmed. My dad loved it. I loved it! I was so thrilled my family got to see Menemshaw, Aquinnah, Edgarton and Oak Bluffs.We talked about Jaws and our day at the Vineyard as we waited for our food to arrive.
|Getting ready to try Mystic Pizza|
I gave them a B- for the size of their large pizza. It cost $11.99 for a large cheese pizza. I was a little disappointed in the portion, not gonna lie. Mystic's large pizza would have been considered a small or personal sized pizza back home.
Size doesn't always matter though I reminded myself. If the flavor is amazing, that is all that matters in the end and I could not wait to grade the flavor. We all placed a slice on our little pizza plates. It seemed like an eternity for the pizza to cool enough for us to not suffer third degree burns on the roofs of our mouths. I could wait no longer. As I grasped the still very hot pizza with my hands and brought it slowly to my mouth, I took one more big whiff. Heaven for sure I thought.
As the first bite touched my lips, I immediately felt my heart sink. Slowly, I chewed the pizza. I decided I needed one more bite to be sure. Maybe the first bite was just a fluke. I took another bite of pizza. My heart sank even deeper. I'm not saying the pizza tasted bad because it didn't, but it was not at all a slice of heaven to my taste buds. The sauce was very...... bland. It had a tomato soup flavor to it which was just weird. The cheese was rubbery too.
|Mystic Pizza Menu 2007|
In fact, many of the pizza shop owners in NEPA hailed from NYC. Some of them even had dough and breads brought in from Brooklyn daily. I don't know what it is but you can tell the difference. I think it is the NYC water. It has to be.
Anyway, I am not out to bash any place of business. The other food we ordered everyone seemed to enjoy. And, my parents and kids did like the pizza. They also agreed it was not nearly as good as the pizza back home though.
I, personally, had to grade the flavor of the pizza as a C-. Nothing can score lower than mass produced chain pizza in my book. I usually grade them a D for flavor. La Famiglia is the only chain pizzeria I have tried that I could seriously give a grade A for flavor. I was so bummed that I did not believe Mystic Pizza was a slice of heaven.
I did finish a few slices of pizza because I was starving and I would still highly recommend visiting Mystic Pizza because it is a really cool, friendly place. Just because I was not impressed with the flavor of the pizza does not mean it is horrible pizza. It's one person's opinion. Everyone has different taste buds. As for Mystic, CT, it is a cute little town with a lot of things to see and do. I would highly recommend taking a day or two to visit.
Things To Do In Mystic, CT