Vacation Destination Review #1: Mystic, CT: Part 1 Friday Travel, Arrival, No Rest For The Weary

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I know I said before that I’m done introducing new segments on this blog, but I lied. Why? After our family trip last weekend to Mystic, CT, I took time to figure out a way to blog about it without sounding like a fourth grader writing about “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Instead of a bunch of pictures with a list of everything we did, I came to the conclusion that writing a destination review (of the area as a whole, rather than specific attractions or hotels) would be the best way to approach the subject matter. This way, perhaps you folks can use some of the travel tips and info I share here when planning your own family vacation! See? I want my writing to serve YOU. Sharing is caring!

This will be a 3-part post, one post for each day away, as I tend to write a lot and combining 3 days into 1 post will be just waaay too long.

Travel to Mystic

flickr photo by debcll https://flickr.com/photos/debcll/5028004516 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license
flickr photo by debcll shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Friday was literally crazy. After packing, S2’s nap, dropping the dogs off at the mother-in-law’s house, and making sure all was fed and bathroomed, we were finally on the road with a not-very-early 4:00 pm start. We expected the driving trip to take 3.5 hours. However, expectation does not often = reality. Especially when you throw children into the mix.

One thing I learned from this trip? STAY THE COURSE. Google Maps suggested we could “save 12 minutes” with an alternative route, so Mike and I decided Hey, Why Not? Well, I’ll tell you why not. The ‘alternate route’ GM suggested ended up taking us through a literal maze of backroads, smack dab in the middle of Nowhere, CT. In fact, at one point Google Maps actually dropped our connection, and I couldn’t get back on to the driving directions due to there being no 4G service in whatever the hell town we were stuck in. This caused me to panic just a tad. Luckily Mike, with his keen sense of direction, got us out of the black hole and safely back to civilization. Google Maps: back on.

Livin’ It Up At The Hotel Connecticut

When all was said and done, what should have been a 3 hour drive ended up being about 4.5 hours. The extra time was due to not only the unexpected detour, but also a visit to good ol’ Sonic for a dinner of most unhealthy proportions. And what’s a fast food dinner experience without a craycray kids’ meal toy? Behold:

Cute, though. Also, when the clock is approaching 8 pm and your 2 year old is still smiling, that is, as Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner once harmonized, “such a fine sight to see!” (from ‘Take It Easy,’ 1972).

Speaking of Eagles, S10 requested we play ‘Hotel California’ on the car ride, since it is one of her favorite songs. Being a huge Eagles fan myself (as well as damn proud of my kid’s music preferences), I was quick to honor her request. She likes to sing along to the song, though she does change the lyrics. (She also ‘sings’ the Joe Walsh-Don Felder guitar solo, which is…..interesting to listen to.) S10 changes the lyrics of HC to make them more “kid-appropriate,” a.k.a. less weird-sounding coming out of a 10 year old’s mouth. This is all her idea, not mine-just so you know.

Here are some of the lyrics to HC, with S10’s changes in bold:

Verse 1:

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of chocolate, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be something else

Verse 2

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my water
He said, “We haven’t had that thing here since nineteen sixty nine”

Bridge

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink Kool-Aid on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”

I mean, who wouldn’t want pink Kool-aid on ice?

flickr photo by K. Todd Storch https://flickr.com/photos/ktoddstorch/36313130 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license
flickr photo by K. Todd Storch shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

I’m sure Don Henley would approve of S10’s edits. Haha.

 

 

 

 

We’re Here!

Finally, at 8:30, after 4.5 hours of driving (well, Mike was actually driving, but I was the navigator with the cell phone app), we had arrived in Mystic, CT!

S2 and myself waiting as Mike checks us in. We werr SO done with the whole "being in the car" thing
S10 and myself waiting as Mike checks us in. We were both SO done with the whole “being in the car” thing, and I’m quite sure that S2 was too.

Our room was pretty decent at the Howard Johnson (or Hojo, for short). Two double beds, a small balcony, a TV, a microwave, a small fridge, and a HUGE bathtub with Jacuzzi jets were the amenities that stood out to me. Unfortunately for Mike, S2, and me, the only one of us that experienced the pleasure of taking a Jacuzzi soak over the weekend was S10. But at least someone got to enjoy it, right? The hotel staff was very accommodating and pleasant to deal with from the front desk to the housekeeping ladies, and the drink and snack machines took credit cards! Yeah, I definitely would stay at the Mystic Hojo again.

We were all pretty beat that first night in town. Getting S2 to sleep in a non-crib double bed with me was a feat I wasn’t looking forward to, and for good reason. Eventually however, sleepy success was achieved. For both girls!

Both ladies, fast asleep. This was the picture until about 2 am, when S2 woke up and spent the remainder of the evening kicking me in the back and keeping Mike and me awake.
Both ladies, fast asleep. This was the picture until about 2 am, when S2 woke up and spent the remainder of the evening kicking me in the back and keeping Mike and me awake.

However, at about 2 am, things in Dreamland changed. Miss S2 woke up, and didn’t 100% legit go back to sleep for the rest of the night. For the next 5 hours, Mike and I (who each slept on one side of her creating somewhat of a ‘parental fortress’) were kicked, head butted, and asked random questions. Fun! (Not.) Since Mike seemed like he wasn’t about to move, at about 5:30 am I gave up, got up in a huff, and crawled into the other bed that only housed the sleeping 68 lb body of S10. It was in that bed that I finally slept, for about 2.5 glorious hours. Mike slept for considerably less time in the other bed with ‘No Sleep Till S2.’

After that rough night, Mike and I knew that the next day wasn’t gonna be easy. But, we only had two days of vacation ahead of us, so we powered through and saw to it that fun would be had. Tired or not, we were Mystic Aquarium-bound, Saturday morning, here we come! Zzzzz.

Stay tuned for part 2, coming soon!

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