As you all likely know by now, Kevin and I have been spending the summer in our coastal hometown of Stonington, CT. Whenever I share something about the Stonington area, like downtown Mystic or the nearby Rhode Island beaches, I am flooded with questions about where to eat, what to do, and places to visit in the area. So I’ve wrapped up all of my hometown favorites into one blog post that includes our favorite local spots to eat, drink, shop, and visit in the area. While Mystic itself is amazing and cute, some of our favorites are in other parts of town (no more than a 15 minute drive), so those are included as well! Let’s dive into the hometown tour!
Places to Eat/Drink:
Okay, this needs to be said right off the bat. And by said I mean screamed from the rooftops. If you eat at Mystic Pizza, you might as well be wearing a fanny pack and using a selfie stick because you are the tourist of all tourists. I say this with love: don’t do it. The food is mediocre at best, the vibe is not great, and the movie wasn’t even shot there. Do yourself many favors and eat literally anywhere else in town. There are some killer spots in the area and this is…not one of them.
Now, let’s really get into it…
Engine Room – one of our all time favorite spots in town! Engine Room is known for its craft beers, yummy cocktails, and pickleback shots. Okay, maybe they’re not known for the last one, but I sure do enjoy them. Their menu is full of delicious comfort foods and you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose. This is where we had our rehearsal dinner, so we definitely have a soft spot for it!
Ford’s Lobster – a local’s dream. Ford’s doesn’t look like much, just a lobster shack on the water, but the food is outstanding and the view is unmatched. BYOB and highly recommend the lobster BLT!
Sift Bakeshop – if you’ve heard of Mystic, you’ve likely heard of Sift. It is home to some of the most amazing pastries I’ve ever had. The giant chocolate chop cookies, macarons, and croissants are my favorites!
Mix at Sift – Mix is the new rooftop bar at Sift! Delicious cocktails, bites to eat, and a gorgeous rooftop view
Red36 – if you are looking for a great spot on the water, Red36 is it! The vibe is nautical, the oysters are great, and the froze is even better. I would say their food realistically is a 6/10, but we definitely frequent this place for the dockside vibe.
Rise – an awesome breakfast place in Mystic. They have the classics and also their own twists on things like breakfast sandwiches and pancakes!
Pizzetta – if you insist on eating pizza while in the area, Pizetta is one of our favorites! They have a great outdoor patio on the river and live music each week too.
Deviant Donuts – weekly rotating specialty donuts the size of your head. That’s pretty much it. Check out the menu beforehand (they only do donuts Thursday-Sunday), and get there early, as they usually sell out! The Samoa donut is my favorite of all time.
Breakwater – located in the Stonington Borough, Breakwater has one of the best ocean views in town. Their happy hour is killer and the back deck is sure to provide a gorgeous sunset.
Zest – my favorite stop for savory scones and coconut butterscotch cookies (truly to die for). This is the bakery we got our wedding cookies and cake from and they are just the best! Zest is located in the Velvet Mill, where you’ll find Beer’d brewery, so stop and grab a treat while you’re there!
Dogwatch – honestly, this recommendation is mostly for drinks and a ~*vibe*~, but Dogwatch is right in a marina on the water, so their sunsets are fantastic. If it is open, head back to the “dogpound” for a drink during golden hour!
Water Street Cafe – a small, local spot with some of the best food in town. Their menu rotates daily, but their steak-frites staple is to die for.
Milagro Cafe – another small, local restaurant with the world’s best margaritas. They’re so fresh and so big, so brace yourself if you order a second round. My go-to order is a mango marg and fish tacos!
The Malted Barley – located in downtown Westerly, RI, The Malted Barley is one of our spots for great nightlife and even better pretzel sandwiches. Weekends they usually have a DJ, but stop by midday or in the evening for homemade pretzels or sammies and a craft beer.
Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream – local ice cream in the heart of Downtown Mystic. Prepare for a bit of a line during the summer, but it’s worth it for the waffle cone.
Things to Do:
Visit a winery – there are three in town and all within 15 minutes of each other. Each vineyard has its own vibe, but I like them all!
- Jonathan Edwards Winery – where Kev and I got married, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. The rose is my favorite of all time.
- Stonington Vineyards – where I worked for the summer! A very chill spot with music on Friday nights in the summer. Bring your own blanket or chairs and chill for the day or evening.
- Saltwater Farm Vineyards – the building is an old airplane hangar, so it’s a very industrial, cool vibe. We got engaged here!
Visit a brewery – Beer’d Brewery or Grey Sail Brewery are two awesome ones in town!
Shop and walk around in Downtown Mystic – there are lots of cute stores to walk through (Rochelle’s is my favorite for clothes!) and lots to see. At twenty of the hour, the drawbridge will go up to let boats pass and it’s actually pretty fun to see!
Kayak or Paddle Board on the Mystic River – there are a few local places that rent by the hour. It’s a fun way to see the river and the beautiful homes and boats along the shore.
Visit the Mystic Aquarium – if you have kids, or just like sea life and want to feel like a local on an elementary school field trip, visit the aquarium!
Visit the Mystic Seaport – honestly, hear me out. As a kid, I wish I was more interested in the history that the town has to offer and I actually think the Seaport is pretty cool! The planetarium is my favorite!
Walk through the Stonington Borough – this is one of my favorite parts of the entire town. The borough is a quaint little fishing village, home of one of the last operating fishing and lobstering fleets in the state and to many adorable historic homes. Visit the town docks to check out the boats or walk to the very end to DuBois Beach to see a panoramic ocean view where you can spot RI, NY, and CT from one spot!
Hit the beach or grab ice cream in Watch Hill, RI – one of the biggest perks of my hometown is that it’s a short ride to some of Rhode Island’s best beaches. My favorite is Napatree Point in Watch Hill! But if you don’t feel like hitting the beach or you’re visiting in the off-season, you could simply walk through Watch Hill and grab a lobster roll or ice cream at St. Clair Annex, a drink at the Ocean House, or wander past Taylor Swift’s house (it’s okay, we’ve all done it).
Visit Clyde’s Cider Mill – we all know fall is my favorite season, and there’s nothing that says fall at home than a visit to Clyde’s! It’s exactly what you’d think: the best cider, warm cinnamon-sugar donuts, and all the feels.
Well, I think that about sums it up! Honestly, if you are looking for a weekend getaway or to spend a few days in a quaint, New England town, Stonington is the place for you! It really does have it all. Although summer is coming to a close, we’ll be back…at some point likely forever.
If you visit, please reach out and let me know where you go and if you need any other recs or ideas, I’m your girl! Enjoy my home!