Trip Report: Beluga Whales, Mansions, Cliffs & Wyoming?? – Mystic CT & Newport Rhode Island – Dec 2016

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Intrigued by the title?

We hoped you’d be 🙂

Maybe one day we’ll get into why this happened but a planned trip turned into this 4-day, 3 night road trip about a month ago…

Our quick change in plans morphed into Connecticut for night one, then off to Rhode island for 2 nights before heading back with some attractions on the way.

Pre PS – this would make a great trip for Mid Winter break! Read on for details.

Ready, set, here goes!

First off – when heading down Route 21 South in Clifton (just before the merge with Rt 46)  take a look at these Bald Eagles that have been hanging out for the past 2 months or so as you crawl past in the 1-lane traffic.

Go see them for yourself! [Update Dec. 2017… The eagles have since disapeared]

We began our trip by heading into Evergreen Grocery in Monsey for food, where we stocked up for the next few days on prepared meals on the way to Mystic Ct, known for its famous Seaport Museum and Aquarium on the Mystic River just across the Long Island Sound from Long Island, NY.

We had planned an stop to check out Stew Leonards in Danbury,

…about an hour and a quarter or so from Passaic and about the 1/2 way point to Mystic.

While not much of a major destination for the Kosher consumer due to the ratio of non-kosher prepared food to packaged food, this store rightfully bills itself as “The World’s Largest Dairy Store”


…and rightfully lives up to that name!


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Having operated as an actual dairy farm for decades, the store maintains a free petting zoo outside (which was closed when we came, due to the late evening hour we arrived at)


You can check the opening hours online, but it was a pleasant surprise, and an added bonus if you are bringing along the kids.


The store is laid out in an incredibly interesting manner, where there are no aisles.

Instead, you walk through a gigantic maze with a predetermined path that takes you through every department in the store, before ending you up at the checkouts.


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I have to say we probably annoyed some of the locals standing around and gawking at everything while taking pictures with our camera…


…like these bands of cute themed characters that keep playing musical instruments and have “shows” beginning every 3 minutes, monkeys, lobsters and other characters doing flips on the ceiling, and more!


They even have a “working” Milk Packing Plant


– a replicated throwback to the days when they actually were packing milk on-site. It is very authentic and cool looking though, for kids, with milk flowing, bottling & more.

In all – we’d give Stew’s a high rating for an on-the-way stop by when traveling in that direction. It’s definitely unique place not seen elsewhere, and just off the Main Highway.

After our hour long break in Danbury, we headed off to Mystic, where we stayed at the Howard Johnson in Mystic, and were very pleasantly surprised by the value for the price.

The rooms were pleasant, recently updated, included a fridge and microwave, and they even have bikes to borrow free during your stay (although they were put away for the Winter in our case)

There was even a nice indoor pool, decently sized and absolutely empty – you see, [shhhhhhhh…. here comes one of our best secrets!!,] beach towns, seaports towns and ocean front places in the North are FREEZING in the Winter, and so therefore are generally EMPTY of tourists! 


Perfect places to take frum families on vacation, and usually very cheaply too! Use the pool in peace, visit attractions without lines and have fun!

More to come in Part 2 and Part 3! Stay Tuned for details or enter you email below to be emailed updates!
















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  1. Therowners January 12, 2017
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