A *wicked* Cold Day | Mystic, Connecticut

Anyone who lives in New England will be familiar with what I'm talking about when I mention that wicked cold spell we had a few weeks ago. You know the one. The few days that made you wish you'd bought every single pair of long johns, hat and mittens you'd ever walked by. And I'm not talking about the Pinterest-cute hats with the adorable matching mittens. I'm talking function. The ones that keep you warm enough you never lose feeling in a single finger and make it so you breeze through a day not even realizing you're outside. Anyway, I digress. That cold spell? Well, I've been mentoring a senior at Stonington High School for her project focused on photography and we decided it was a good weekend to explore Mystic, CT - camera in hand. Aside from having to be extra cautious with camera gear, wishing I'd bought and brought every single warm thing ever made, it was actually a super fun outing! When I realized just how cold it was going to be I took to Instagram to reach out to local shops to ask if we could stop into their stores, warm our hands, and take a few photos of their space. And bless their hearts, we had an overwhelmingly positive response from a lot of good people with great local businesses. So many so that we weren't even able to make it to all of our stops (please forgive us, and remember that we couldn't feel our hands or feet). One of my favorite things about Mystic in the winter is actually that it's a bit like a hidden gem. A well kept secret. A lot of people flock to mountains, cabins, lodges, etc. and there are not as many folks seeking beaches and the ocean. The result is that coastal towns are a bit more deserted during the colder months; however, there's less traffic and there's more of an opportunity to really connect with people, even if, let's be real, you're truly just commiserating about the cold. This time of year often reminds me of the true heart and history of coastal towns. They never shut down and the locals hold their ground and persevere through the chilly days to keep the town's heartbeat beating.  

Below are a few snapshots of our day (photos taken and edited by my mentee Sarah, and some by me). Our stops included Ford's Lobster, Sift Bake Shop, Sea Bags of Maine, Mystic Knotwork, and Mine - and a shoutout to the places we wish we'd been able to fit in - MW Coastal Goods, Salt, and Zest Fresh Pastry in Stonington. We also had one of Sarah's best friends, Madison, brave the cold and agree to model for us so she could practice some portrait work. Madison embraced the weather and her outfit choice included a well styled collection of layers. Friendship, fresh cookies, and cute local products and antiques make a cold day in Mystic our favorite. OK OK. Not necessarily our favorite. You likely won't find any locals who actually prefer frozen docks over warm beach days filled with ice cream and lemonade. But seriously, this little town has so much to offer even on the days we spend mostly shivering.

And with that, words straight from Sarah - "Thank you to all of these stores for letting us stop by and helping out with my senior project!" You may recognize Sarah from her warmer session I posted several months ago here.