After a road trip, I'm usually happy to return to my own cozy bed in my humble ranch home. After a three-night stay at the Inn at Mystic
's Haley Mansion, though, my poor family and friends had to put up with my uncharacteristic lamentations for nearly two weeks. "I miss my mansion," I moaned--more times than I care to admit. And though I've finally managed to stop pining daily for this place, I would return to the comfort and elegance of that historic seaside retreat in a heartbeat.
Rooms to Suit All Tastes and Budgets
The Inn at Mystic (check rates
) in Mystic, Connecticut, is a rather unique lodging property with four distinct types of accommodations. The Main Building offers 40 oversized motor hotel rooms with upscale furnishings and appointments. The 12 East Wing guest rooms afford visitors a choice of a variety of additional amenities including fireplaces, balconies and whirlpools. Each room on the property is individually decorated with its own distinctive touches, and the entire site has the enviable claim of being the only lodging establishment in Mystic to overlook Mystic Harbor and Long Island Sound.
Up on the hill behind the central inn complex, you'll find even more unique lodging options. Behind the 1904 Haley Mansion is a romantic Gate House with four intimate guest chambers available to adults only. The Gate House's room number eight has the romantic distinction of being the hideaway where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall honeymooned in 1945. Bogart was a friend of the mansion's owner, Frederick Mosel, who bought the home from Katherine Haley, widow of one of the founders of New York City's Fulton Fish Market, in 1943 and sold it to the Dyer family, owners of the Inn at Mystic, in 1980.
My lovely mansion room, Room 2, featured this antique four-poster canopy bed.© 2004 Kim Knox Beckius
While the Gate House has a story all its own, the mansion is equally charming, and its five guest rooms each offer appealing surprises. My room, room two, for example, was furnished with an amazing 1847 carved wood four-poster canopy bed. In addition to being a showpiece in a room furnished with several antiques, the bed was also wonderfully comfortable--the perfect place to dream that I belonged in these rich surroundings.
I'll admit that when I first climbed the stairs and opened the door to the Colonial Revival mansion with my room key, I felt a bit like an intruder. There wasn't a soul around as I hauled my suitcases, camera and laptop up the gracious central staircase to my waterview room. Over the course of my stay, though, I began to feel more and more at home each time I retired to "my mansion," relishing the peacefulness and sophistication of the classic structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many couples choose the mansion as a wedding location, and the adjoining tent and spacious common areas make it a perfect choice for an intimate celebration.
What will you do while visiting Mystic? The entertainment options range from the excitement and glitz of two of the world's largest casinos, Foxwoods
and Mohegan Sun
, to historic and cultural attractions such as the Mashantucket Pequot Museum
and Mystic Seaport
, to the family-pleasing animal encounters that await at the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration
You can also have plenty of adventure without leaving the Inn at Mystic. One of the most enjoyable components of my trip was a peaceful and lung-expanding early morning kayaking outing on the quiet inlet the runs alongside the inn with Jody Dyer, who runs this family-owned property. A native Mainer who has the distinction of being not only a Registered Maine Guide but a savvy and superb host, Dyer is a remarkable woman who infuses the Inn at Mystic with a sense of grace and warmth. All guests have free use of the inn's kayaks, sailboats and canoes, along with access to a tennis court, heated outdoor pool and soaking tub, two putting greens and birding and walking trails.
The Inn at Mystic is the only lodging property in Mystic, Connecticut, that overlooks Mystic Harbor.© 2004 Kim Knox Beckius
The Inn at Mystic is also home to the Flood Tide Restaurant, which was in the midst of a substantive transformation at the time of my visit in the spring of 2004. Dyer explained that fine dining is "out," so the restaurant's new focus will be on more informal cuisine cooked over an open, wood-fired hearth. Some Flood Tide menu classics will remain, such as the Caesar salad prepared tableside and the Crepe filled with Lobster Madeira, a delicious appetizer that you can try at home with this recipe
from Executive Chef Bob Tripp.
Home is still sweet, but in our connected world, it is no longer the retreat from workaday worries that it once was, particularly for folks like me whose home and office are one and the same. When you find yourself longing for the calming influence of the sea and the aura of simpler days, head to Mystic, Connecticut, and the Inn at Mystic. Whichever room you choose, you may find it difficult to surrender your key when it's time to return to meetings, phone calls and laundry.
For more information and reservations at the Inn at Mystic, call 860-536-9604 or toll free, 800-237-2415.