This is where you should go if you don't want to spend the $17 to get into Old Mystic Seaport. Entrance is free, but it's all shops. It is very cute, however.
I think it's great for kids, actually. We saw a lot of kids enjoying the ducks in the water and the green areas with benches. Lots to look at, not a lot to do besides shop.
Unique Suggestions: Walk around, check our the ducks and the mini mill. Enjoy the cutesy houses for what they are. I love this kind of cheesy stuff, so I was happy. My husband was less thrilled. He did enjoy his very authentic iced coffee drink, however.
There is a Nordic shop, an Italian shop, and Irish shop, a Native American shop, and fudge. You get the idea. This is one place you could pick up souvenirs, anyway. You can also do laundry at the pay as you go laundromat. We considered getting a frozen banana, but were turned off by the idea of sucking on it all night.
Fun Alternatives: If you want more history, and your wallet is heavier than ours was, go to the Mystic Seaport down the road.
This interactive map has an inset for the village. Click on items to learn more:
Yes, this is the place that made Julia Roberts famous. It's a pizza restaurant in downtown Mystic that was the shooting location and the namesake for the film. As a result, the place is usually packed and there is often a long line to get in, especially during the tourist season.
Unique Suggestions: Show up early to get your place in line. Or visit during a weekday or off-season, when the droves of tourists are smaller.
See the most boring travelogue on VT!! My Mystic drawbridge travelogue.