Ready for Spring!

Blooming witch hazel, the first sign of spring at Mystic Seaport, in front of the Treworgy Planetarium.

Blooming witch hazel, the first sign of spring at Mystic Seaport, in front of the Treworgy Planetarium.

Yes, spring is near, although the stormy month of February closed with yet more wild weather; fortunately this time just rain and wind. Yet, the rain and warmer temperature have helped flush away the snow and plowed up piles, exposing emerging daffodils here and there (some just outside my window). Yes, spring is near and always comes early at Mystic Seaport. The most well-known symbol of spring here, of course, is the witch hazel at the gate adjacent to the Treworgy Planetarium which is now blooming its noteworthy yellow. Soon it will be the majestic Magnolias’ turn by the Thomas Greenman House. And so it is as we begin to welcome back our members and guests who return to the Museum’s grounds as they thaw following the long, quiet winter. It’s a most welcomed sight.

While the grounds were dormant for visitors during January and the first half of February, we had a most productive winter undertaking a wide variety of special projects ranging from roof replacements to curatorial and interpretation projects to shipsmith work for the Charles W. Morgan and enhancements to the planetarium. Much was accomplished setting us up for a successful new season. Soon the covers will come off vessels hauled for the winter, and others, like Sabino, will start to make their way to the Shipyard for bottom paint and other preparations. Floating docks will find their traditional places, and quite soon the Stonington High School crew will bring over their shells for their spring home on our waterfront and daily practices will commence. The Boathouse crew is already at work preparing the Whitehalls, peapods, and other small craft for the livery, and the Beetle Cats and Dyer Dhows too get their annual attention before the busy sailing season on the river unfolds.

What we miss most is the regular interaction with our visitors and students. As the days warm and lengthen, more and more visitors and school groups linger longer engaging with our skillful interpreters and educators all across the campus, and especially extending their time on the decks of the Joseph Conrad or L.A. Dunton to better understand the maritime heritage they both so proudly represent. So many of our new guests initially have little understanding for our nation’s maritime heritage, but after a day immersed at Mystic Seaport, most are hungry for more and many become members, helping to sustain the Museum’s tradition of imparting knowledge.

If you have read this to the bottom, thank you very much and enjoy the balance of the eNewsletter. Remember, this year like no other is the time to renew a lapsed membership and to take advantage of the many events that will make 2013 a memorable year. Finally, let us know what you like about the eNewsletter or what you’d like to see us consider, simply by writing the editors at


Steve White