Mystic named as a top summer travel destination by USA Today

Mystic is one of the 10 best summer vacation places in the United States, according to USA Today. The seaside village made the recent list along with destinations like the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia; Asheville, North Carolina; Chicago; Mobile, Alabama and Mackinac Island, Michigan.

“You might remember this New England village from the ’80s film ‘Mystic Pizza,’ but it’s even more enchanting in real life,” USA Today editors wrote. “Cruise aboard a sailboat, zip line at TreeTrails Adventure Park, see the wildlife at Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center or get a little shopping done downtown. 10Best contributor Linda Laban says it’s now one of the country’s top food destinations, so explore after grabbing a slice at the famous pizza parlor.”

Nana's Bakery & Pizza in Mystic.

Nana’s Bakery & Pizza in Mystic.

Winter Caplanson / For Connecticut Magazine

To outsiders, Mystic looks like an up-and-coming food destination. National media has been sitting up and taking notice, with writeups from Esquire magazine and the New York Post praising the area’s diverse culinary offerings and the chefs producing them. But locals and frequent visitors know the scene has been building for quite some time.

When Nana’s Bakery & Pizza was named one of Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants in America” in October 2021, chef and managing partner James Wayman told Hearst Connecticut it was time Mystic got its due.

“The farming community here, the chefs and restaurants are amazing, we have this incredible seafood,” Wayman said. “It’s really cool to see it getting some attention nationally.”

Mystic has been previously lauded by Bloomberg as a top summer dining destination and a “secret food destination” by Condé Nast Traveler. Several of its restaurants have received national attention in recent years, including Shipwright’s Daughter (named one of Wine Enthusiast’s “Forward 50” for its unique wine program) and Port of Call (one of Esquire Magazine’s “Best Bars in America” in 2022.)  Adam Young, the owner of Sift Bake Shop and Young Buns Doughnuts, won Food Network’s “Best Baker in America” competition in 2018.

Renee Touponce, executive chef of Oyster Club in Mystic

Renee Touponce, executive chef of Oyster Club in Mystic

Courtesy of Idlewild Photo Co.

Most recently, Renee Touponce, executive chef at Oyster Club and Port of Call, has been named as a nominee for a James Beard Foundation award, known as one of the most prominent honors in the culinary industry. She has been nominated in the Best Chef: Northeast category.

Beyond its food scene, Mystic has also been hailed as one of the best weekend getaways in New England by Travel & Leisure, which noted the Mystic Seaport Museum as “a fascinating jumping-off point, with its million-plus artifacts depicting the town’s nautical life” and Bluff Point State Park for its views of Long Island Sound and Fishers Island. And though it’s a popular summer spot, Mystic was also named as one of the “prettiest U.S. towns to visit in winter” by Country Living magazine.

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