Mystic prepares for Memorial Day weekend tourism

It is almost Memorial Day weekend and many people are already traveling; including right here in Connecticut.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:39 PM EDT
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MYSTIC, Conn. (WFSB) - It is almost Memorial Day weekend and many people are already traveling; including right here in Connecticut.

Elsje Rossow is from South Africa. She’s visiting friends who live in New Jersey. On their way up to Cape Cod, they made a stop in Mystic.

“We come up here every Memorial Day weekend,” Rossow’s host Sean Best said.

It’s tradition for Best to be on the Connecticut shoreline this holiday weekend. He certainly isn’t alone.

“For sure, this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, is the official start of summer for us,” Bruce Flax with the Mystic Chamber of Commerce said.

The weekend hasn’t even started but the tourism has already begun.

“In the summertime, the bulk (of our traffic) is probably as high as 80% (tourists),” Flax said.

Tracy and Robin Maynard-Harris are a part of that 80%. They’re visiting from Orlando, FL.

“We have a map where we travel and fill it with pictures of us in each different state,” Tracy said. “We hadn’t been to Connecticut, Frontier Airlines had a sale.”

“She randomly said to me, ‘do you want to go to Connecticut?” Robin said.

They came to USA Today’s fourth best summer travel spot to see the famous drawbridge, do some shopping, eat out and, of course, take a picture at Mystic Pizza.

“We just looked up things to do in Connecticut and saw how beautiful it is,” Robin said.

Business owners say although summer remains their busiest time of the year, as Mystic becomes more popular business is starting to round out.

“We have actually started our reorders much earlier this year because as you know Mystic is now a year-round destination,” Bethany Perkins said.

Perkins owns The Bee’s Knees Boutique which has two locations: one downtown and another in Old Mistick Village. She spent the day Thursday bringing extra product to the downtown location to make sure she could keep up with demand this weekend.

“It’s Thursday and the traffic has really picked up already,” Perkins said.

Where are all of these people going to stay? There are few short-term rental options left and they’re pricey; as high as $499 per night. That’s why Flax says many people are opting for traditional hotels in and around Mystic.

“I think the short-term rentals have their place, it’s certainly evening out a bit,” Flax said.

The Maynard-Harris’s are taking it day by day when it comes to their lodging.

“We decided to do something very different and to just explore and if we found a place like Mystic that we really loved then we would find a place to stay there,” Robin said.