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Mystic, Connecticut

Thanks to the Julia Roberts movie of 1988, Mystic, Connecticut is home to what is perhaps the most famous Pizza joint in America. And fittingly so. The doughie delights were mind-numblingly good, served up with a heaping of North-Eastern goodness which sat heavy over a hearty coating of cheese. The service is gracious but unspectacular. But really, who cares? Unlike a small town diner, this is not about the personalization of the experience. Mystic Pizza takes everyone and all are greeted in precisely the same manner. We ought to know. We ate there twice over a two day period, lured in the second time around by the comparative warmth of the main dining area as an unexpected Spring rain pelted down outside. In many ways, the slight eccentricity of the décor and the wide ranging variety of choices were symbolic of the ambiance in the town itself. This is Quirksville, USA, just cloaked in somewhat austere clothing. From the warm greetings at the local antique shops to the dramatic and slightly frustrating draw bridge that protects the locals — if only momentarily — from maraunding hordes of well-worn travelers, there’s a sense of exquisite solidarity about the Mystic community which permeates every interaction. It’s as if all the extras out of Twin Peaks suddenly threw away their three page scripts and formed a commune, drinking liberally from the Tree of Life (oh yeah, this is bead wearing territory) and setting up a few odds and ends stores along the way. Dig deep for the real gems of this town. And be sure to stop by for some pizza along the way.

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