Why You Should Visit the Bascule Bridge in Mystic, Connecticut

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Bascule bridges, like the one that crosses the Mystic River in Mystic, CT, have several names. Some call them drawbridges because a portion of the bridge can be raised and lowered at will to allow boats to pass beneath. Others refer to them as lift bridges because they’re essentially lifted by motors and then pulled upward by the force of concrete counterweights.

Bascule bridges may use single or double leafs to obtain their objective. A single-leaf bridge has a single section that lifts and lowers on demand. A double-leaf bridge features two moveable sections that open in opposite directions from a central point. The Mystic River bascule bridge boasts a single-leaf design. 

There’s a Charming History to Bascule Bridges

If you’ve even been present at the raising or lowering of a bascule bridge, it’s an amazing sight to behold. It’s difficult to imagine the workmanship that goes into constructing these not-so modern marvels. Surprisingly, bridges like the Mystic River bascule bridge have been around for centuries. In fact, historians believe these cantilever bridges were used to protect the castles of medieval Europe as early as the 15th century. Regardless of when or why they came into existence, the cities that boast architectural masterpieces like the famous drawbridge in Mystic, CT, are immensely proud of them, and for good reason. They’re beautiful, functional remnants of a rich past. 

Bascule Bridges Exist All Across the Globe

Bascule Bridges, like the one in downtown Mystic, pepper the New England countryside. There’s the Thames River Bridge, that connects New London and Groton and the Washington Bridge that spans the Housatonic River between Milford and Stratford. There are others as well. In fact, these bridges exist all over the world. The Tower Bridge in London has long been a source of pride for Englanders, and the Kuala Terengganu Bridge in Malaysia is an architectural masterpiece, just completed in 2019. 

Learn More About Mystic, CT

Unlike its foreign counterparts, however, the drawbridge in Mystic, CT, connects two parts of the same city — Groton on the west and Stonington to the east. It’s a beautiful, architectural addition to a historic seaside village that still flaunts its rich, maritime history. If you visit Mystic, you’ll find a quaint New England town still dotted with the colorful homes of its sea captain ancestors. But you’ll also find a booming downtown area that offers every imaginable amenity. From Drawbridge Ice Cream to the Whaler’s Inn Hotel, Mystic offers a full family experience for people of all ages to enjoy. There’s a cider mill and a seaport museum, river cruises and outdoor food festivals

Mystic, CT, is packed full of exciting and interesting attractions, all interspersed with the authentic food of small-town New England. Sample the delicacies of the bay at S&P Oyster Co. or Shipwright’s Daughter, and then retire for the evening at the Mermaid Inn or Spicer’s Mansion. Top off your visit with a boat adventure or by visiting the many downtown shops that sell authentic waterfront memorabilia. 

But before you leave, visit the famous Mystic, CT, drawbridge that’s raised at 40 minutes past the hour throughout most of every day from May through October. It’s a sight you won’t soon forget. 

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