Beautiful & Busy: Kids and adults fill schooner Argia as tourism returns to Connecticut

Destination New England

MYSTIC – This dock is busy – really busy – once again, as The Schooner Argia is back in business with even more trips than years past.

“There’s a feeling of ‘Thank goodness,'” says Captain Amy Blumberg.

Last summer, due to the pandemic, the floating Mystic landmark added more cruises to accommodate tours with less capacity which is now back to normal.

And the extra tours of this beautiful area? They remain.

“We continued with that this year because there seems to be a lot of demand now for outdoor [activities],” says Blumberg who has been operating the vessel with nimble hands since the early 90s. She says the Argia saw a blockbuster spring.

“Mystic is all about maritime, it has a maritime town, a maritime history,” she says. “You’ve got to be able to do what you’re coming to learn.”

So, that’s what this experience is all about. Visitors, especially the young ones, help hoist the sails.

Striking, against the blue sky.

“Well, I was trying to pull the rope down so this one would go up,” says Pearl Clayton of Michigan.

The Argia is a replica of a 19th-century schooner – it’s 81 feet from bow to stern and can take 49 passengers out into Fishers Island Sound.

“I like seeing the other boats,” says Clayton. “I was wondering how much they cost too.”

And sightseeing is a big part of this cruise. We gaze at the impressive homes on Fisher’s Island and other various sites, both natural and unique.

“That is South Dumpling Island, a sanctuary for cormorants,” explains a crew member. “North Dumpling Island is owned by a man named Dean Kamen.”

The inventor of the Segway scooter has a quirky home complete with a duck boat and a recreation of Stonehenge.

“Just happy to be with my daughter, some mother-daughter time,” says Alison Maretic who believes it was about time they enjoy a bonding experience out and about in the fresh air.

“It’s like so different, it feels different, feels nice to breathe,” says her daughter, Angelina.

“Being outside is a great way to get used to being around people again,” says Blumberg.

While the wind is hard to find, modern amenities allow for much exploring.

“Unlike back in the day where ships like this were doing their trading up and down the coast, we have a motor so we can still cover some ground see different parts of the sound,” says Blumberg.

Passengers return to the shore fulfilled while the crew happily braces to satisfy more restless tourists, hungry for fun.

“I hope it continues to be higher than usual during the summer but I’ll just be happy with back to normal,” laughs Blumberg.

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