Touring retro in Eastern Connecticut’s Mystic Country.
To some retro is a hot trend, to others, it’s the way things used to be. Whatever your take you can taste from a bygone era here in Mystic Country. We are certainly well known for our coastline, wineries, Mystic Seaport, Mystic Aquarium, and the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos. Less known are small, classic American businesses that have been going strong through the years. From 1940s carry out, to gleaming 1950 style diners and bowling alleys, these icons of eras gone-by have been well preserved for visitors to enjoy.
Try your hand at hand at duck pin bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes, Mansfield (c. 1954) Tel. 860-423-8510. 10 pin lanes are available at Friendly Bowl, Brooklyn (c. 1961) Tel. 860-774-4313. Paper score sheets are in use at both venues (bring those basic math skills).
Mansfield Drive-In Theater, Mansfield (c. 1954) plays movies outdoors to your car or lawn chair. The picture and sound have been updated but the place remains the same great spot.
Galaxy Roller Rink, Groton (c. 1955) spins today’s music over a gleaming hardwood floor. Lessons are available.
Putnam, Windham, Norwich and Colchester run band concerts on the town green all summer long. Check town sites for schedules and music.
Ocean Beach Park, New London hosts c. 1940 era art-deco buildings that line a boardwalk the length of a gorgeous white sand beach. While some more modern attractions have been added, there is a distinct retro vibe here. Check out the whale on the miniature golf course and evening beach events nights in summer.
Walk Downtown Putnam. It’s a classic and once booming 1940s mill town. Shops and outdoor dining make this village a destination. An original boxcar that inspired the 1940s Boxcar Children books is a quaint commemorative to Putnam resident, Gertrude Chandler Warner.
Agricultural fairs are an area must. The Brooklyn Fair (Aug. 23-26, 2012), for example, is the oldest agricultural fair in the US of A.
Hungry? Roadside stands and drop-in community breakfasts, fish-frys and pasta suppers dot the region.
Take out from Hank’s Dairy Bar, Plainfield (1957), Sea Swirl, Mystic (site of an original Carvel’s, c. 1955) Check out their fried clams, or Harry’s Place, Colchester for burgers (c. 1920, on National Registry of Historic Places).
Sit down for a casual breakfast or lunch at Carson’s Store, Noank (c. 1907) complete with padded stools, milk-shakes and penny candy. Tel. 860-536-0059. Or, if in the Northeast Corner, the Mansfield General Store (c. 1856) serves up tasty meals (antique shop next door).
H.L. Reynolds Co. General Store (c. 1859) is a historic shop in Lyme selling coffee, muffins, ice cream and various household items the way town shops once did. Dollhouses are a specialty.Tel. 860-434-2494.
Heard of Hosmer Mountain beverages? The company has been in business since 1912. In addition to more modern lines, they continue to bottle their “antique” root-beer, cream, sarsaparilla and birch beer sodas. Stop in at their charming Willimantic location.
Spotted something we missed? Tell us in the comments below!!!