Mystic, Connecticut
A maritime village that's anything but ordinary

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

If you have kids, you probably already know about Mystic, Connecticut, with its nineteenth-century seaport, cool aquarium, nearby beaches, and namesake pizza joint. What you may not know about, and what can make the difference between a tiresome parental duty and a genuinely enriching weekend, is Randall's Ordinary Inn, a seventeenth-century hotel just ten minutes north of Mystic. This restored inn supplements the seaport experience by offering children a chance to live inside history and not just poke around it. Maybe it was the old-fashioned rope-tied trundle bed that did it for my kids; or the authentic colonial breakfast cooked on a hearth and served by a staff dressed in period costumes. They also loved the livestock out back and the swing in the yard. A historic bonus is the cellar beneath the hearth room that hid fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad; just ask someone to lift up the floorboards. For older kids, tell them about the ghost of John Randall in Room 12, and then have them find his tombstone out in the graveyard.

Randall's Ordinary Inn and Restaurant, 860-599-4540 (rooms start at $169); Mystic Seaport, 860-572-0711 or