M YSTIC S EAPORT Finally, we reached Mystic Seaport and started looking around for an inexpensive place to stay. That was certainly a “ scarlet ribbons ” experience. After checking out 4 different places, we finally selected a Howard Johnson Inn because it offered queen-sized beds. It was also the cheapest of the places because it gave us an AARP discount. Mystic Seaport is a very interesting section of the old shipbuilding city which has been carefully and lovingly preserved and presented. All the old buildings have displays covering fascinating aspects of the whaling and cod fishing industries as well as the shipbuilding trades. Volunteers were present in most of the buildings and on the ships we could board to answer our many questions. Such trades as rope making, cooperage, small boat construction, ship smithing, chandlery, and figurehead carving were presented in compelling detail. The three ships we could explore were the: L.A. Dunton (a cod fishing ship), Charles W. Morgan (whaling ship), and Joseph Conrad (a luxury yacht & a training ship). The Dunton and Morgan were sobering testaments to the miserable, dangerous, and confined lives that whalers and cod fisherman endured. It was hard to see any “ romance of the sea ” in these vessels. The volunteers aboard were enthusiastic and brimming over with information and we asked many questions.
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