Monday, June 27, 2011

Mystic, Connecticut

On Sunday we headed out to the supermarket to restock the larder and then in the afternoon we drove into New London to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum where we saw a small but interesting collection of American artists over the last century. Lyman Allyn was a ship captain who raised his family on what is now the University of Connecticut campus and after his death, his daughter had the museum built to house his collection of art. There were several Hudson River School paintings, mainly by Church or Cole, although there was one Bierstadt painting of the Alps. There were numerous portraits of austere people from the 1700's and early 1800's and a sprinkling of American Impressionists, most of which we did not know. The painting to the right is by Charles H. Davis and is called "Sky". It reminded me of the cloud painting we did during the Liz Heywood-Sullivan workshop at IAPS. In a separate gallery of the museum, they had an exhibition of William Wegner paintings. He paints portraits using his weineramer dog as the face and adds different wigs or other clothing in each painting. No photos were allowed in that gallery unfortunately. Sunday evening we strolled through historical downtown Mystic and it is extremely charming with numerous shops and restaurants on either bank of the river linked by a drawbridge which rises every hour for the boats to pass underneath. Everyone is walking around eating ice cream cones and taking photos. We saw the famous Mystic Pizza (see left photo) which has been touted for the movie of the same name but is not as famous for the quality of the pizzas. Today we headed over to Rhode Island as their coastline is lined with beaches and we packed up our plein air stuff and some beach chairs and set off early to have a beach day. Oh woe is me. Were we ever disappointed. We arrived in Watch Hill which has a beautiful beach that curves out into the Atlantic and there was no parking except if you were a member of the yacht club or owned a "changing room". A changing room looks like little mini condos all connected together and runs along the edge of the beach with a large fence between you and them. If you own a changing room, you have a numbered parking spot and a key card to enter the fence and a room where you can hang out or change clothes or whatever. The photo to the right was taken from the yacht club parking lot where we loitered for about ten minutes before heading further up the coast looking for an available beach. We passed through Misquamicut with no view of the ocean, just tall fences with signs indicating who owned a particular portion of beach. We got to Weekapaug and found that even the State Beach had a fence and an exorbitant fee for out of state visitors. Allan was incensed. In Australia where he was born, the beaches are for everyone and people are playing volleyball and sunbathing and it is practically a national sport.... going to the beach. I felt the same way, hailing from L.A., where we all headed to Malibu every weekend. Allan thought it was terrible that the people could not get to the beach here, but I had to remind him that if you were a Weekapaug person, you could go to the Weekapaug designated beach and meet up with your Weekapaug neighbors and all the little Weekapaug children would play together on the beach. In the meantime they would not have to put up with any Arizona Foreigners on their beach or parking in their parking lots. We headed back to Mystic to console ourselves at The Oyster Restaurant (above left) where I had some of the best butternut squash risotto and shrimp scampi I have ever tasted in my life.

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