This post is part of a series on The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip, our 10-month, 15,000-mile tour of the top pet friendly attraction in each of the lower 48 states.
The sea is a magical place … she’s romantic, mysterious, even dangerous. She’s a source of entertainment, provides a livelihood for many, and inspires everyone she touches. She’s absolutely timeless … and perhaps that is what allows history and modern technology to mesh so perfectly at Mystic Seaport.
Spread over 19 spectacular acres on the banks of the Mystic River, Mystic Seaport is the largest maritime museum in the United States. But it doesn’t feel like a museum. It’s more like a park … with opportunities to explore magnificent old boats and learn about the nautical lifestyle that was prevalent in this part of New England in the 1800s.
The galleries, museums, and exhibits interspersed around the grounds showcase some of the two million maritime artifacts held here, as well as the world’s largest collections of maritime photography – over 1 million images, in all. The high-tech, interactive displays bring history to life in a way that truly captures the imagination.
Direct immersion into history is also possible in the quintessential 19th-century seafaring village. Sixty original buildings have been relocated to this site from around New England. Now they’re staffed by historians, craftspeople, and storytellers, so you can pick the brain of the blacksmith as he completes a part needed for a boat repair, get tips on barrel building from the cooper, learn about navigating on the high seas before GPS, and see what it was like to make rope by hand. Stop in at the grocery for some “modern” household conveniences, and then chat with the sign carver about his latest project. All buildings marked with blue and yellow flags have an interpreter on duty, and those that don’t have exhibits providing insights to the business or home life of the one-time residents.
And what would a maritime museum be without boats! Climb aboard the Charles W. Morgan, the sole surviving wooden whaler out of a fleet of 2,700. There’s a Viking longship, with its graceful curves, and the Joseph Conrad, a full-rigged 1882 training ship. The museum’s collection of nearly 500 historical boats is the largest in the country and includes four National Historic Landmark vessels: the Morgan, the Dunton, the Sabino and the Emma C. Berry.
Leashed pets are welcome throughout the grounds at Mystic Seaport, but may not enter restaurants, exhibit buildings, or board display vessels. Pets are allowed on boat rentals and on the waterfront cruise boat, as long as there’s room on the tour for the dogs to fit comfortably.
Pet Rules at Mystic Seaport
- Pets must be on leash
- Pet waste must be picked up and disposed of properly
- Pets are welcome in all outdoor areas
- Pets are not allowed inside the buildings or on the display vessels
- Pets may join you on the narrated waterfront cruise, as long as the tour size allows room for the dog on the boat
- Pets are welcome on the rental boats
Though pets can’t go inside the buildings or on the display boats, there are plenty of lovely places to sit in the shade and enjoy the scenery while the humans take turns exploring those areas – including the outdoor seating areas at Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern, the Galley Restaurant, and Latitude 41º Restaurant and Tavern.
A unique feature of Mystic Seaport is that there is an active shipyard on the property. Restorations and repairs of historic boats are constantly ongoing, and you’re invited to view the activities. This is also where you’ll find the narrated waterfront cruises, a 30-minute tour of the Seaport that provides a completely different perspective.
At the southern entrance to the Seaport is the bookstore, gift shop, café and bakery. If picking up a bite to eat and enjoying the sunshine on the village green sounds appealing, they have sandwiches and other goodies to go. There’s also a wall of fudge, which is not to be missed. The upstairs bookstore has an impressive collection of nautical titles, and the gift shop has something that will please every person on your list!
We started our meet-up in Mystic by welcoming canine visitors and their people for the Seaport’s “Dog Day.” Pets are always welcome at the Seaport with no admission fee, but on this special day, any dog who brought their person to the park also got their person in for free! It was a special treat to meet all the guests.
From there, we joined CT Humane Society and Tito’s Handmade Vodka for a dog friendly meet up and fundraising event at Red 36 in Mystic! We had a special spot out in front of the restaurant, and the turnout was incredible! Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time, and we were able to raise $746 dollars for the shelter. Of course, playing with the puppies was my favorite part.
Thanks to everyone who made the day such a success!
Visiting these attractions with Ty and Buster is a dream come true. We’ll be blogging about each one as we go along, so fasten your seatbelt and stay tuned!
The Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip wouldn’t be possible without the support of our wonderful sponsors: Winnebago, 2 Hounds Design, Alcott, goDog®, PetGuide.com, Red Roof Inns, Sleepypod, The Bark, PetHub, RVPetSafety.com, and The Honest Kitchen. Please be sure to visit their websites and social media pages and thank them for their participation!