It by no means fails. Yearly, this time of 12 months, the overwhelming urge hits to go to a “Hallmark city.” You already know the sort: a spot with a captivating Important Road, timber draped with twinkling lights, and folks clad in cozy scarves strolling round procuring (with lattes from an impossibly cute native espresso store in hand, no much less). A Hallmark city, by its very nature, is the type of city featured within the Hallmark vacation films all of us unabashedly binge-watch throughout this most festive of seasons.
So, after I had the prospect to go to an precise Hallmark city through the filming of an precise Hallmark film, I clearly couldn’t get there quick sufficient. Let me be clear: In terms of the vacations, I’m probably the most fundamental of all fundamental b*tches. Give me a flannel blanket, a white chocolate mocha, and let me reside my finest life.
It’s with that vitality I boarded a airplane headed towards the charming seaport city of Mystic, Connecticut, to go to the set of Hallmark’s new vacation film Mystic Christmas.
Let me set the scene for the movie.
Marine biologist Dr. Juniper Jones (Chicago Med’s Jessy Schram) by no means stays in a single place lengthy. The introvert prefers locations to folks and has massive plans to go to Scandinavia for the vacations earlier than taking an task in South Africa. However a name from her finest buddy Candice (Patti Murin, aka Anna in Disney’s Frozen on Broadway) brings Juniper again house to Mystic to fill in on the Mystic Aquarium.
The rom-com hitch? Candice’s brother Sawyer (Days of Our Lives’ Chandler Massey) additionally nonetheless lives in Mystic, and he and Juniper have a bit, ahem, historical past. In a re-meet/cute, the pair’s paths cross… and whereas the chemistry remains to be there, the query stays whether or not they might really make a go of a relationship.
Mystic, in fact, has been the setting for a number of Hallmark films however most memorably served because the setting for the 1988 cult traditional Mystic Pizza — a film I hadn’t seen when, many (many) years in the past, I moved to the world as a younger newlywed.
My husband and I lived in a tiny condo over an ice cream store in a constructing proper on the Mystic River. You possibly can see the drawbridge from our window. Who would have thought that, years upon years later, that very same drawbridge could be the placement for scenes of a film I used to be visiting because it was filmed?
Enjoyable reality: William R. Moses, who starred in Mystic Pizza, additionally stars in Mystic Christmas!
As Hallmark cities go, Mystic lives as much as the hype. It has all of the anticipated charms of a small city on the japanese seaboard: maritime galleries, docked whaling ships, cedar-shake buildings.
It additionally has stylish new additions; throughout my journey, we tried Port of Name, which was just lately named top-of-the-line bars in America by Esquire.
There’s additionally Previous Mistick Village, a recreation of a 1720-style Colonial village with retailers like Cloak and Wand (it’s giving Harry Potter) and Alice’s Haunted Little Bookshop, together with eateries like Deviant Craft Coffees & Donuts and Mango’s Wooden Fired Pizza Co.
The latter of that checklist brings us again to Mystic Christmas as a result of, sure, very similar to Mystic Pizza featured a neighborhood pizza store you may go to to this present day, Hallmark’s new Mystic-set vacation film additionally incorporates a native pizza store: Mango’s.
A Hallmark film city well-known for pizza? YOU MUST.
And, as you may anticipate from the movie’s title, the native Mystic Aquarium performs prominently within the movie. Since Juniper and Candice each work on the facility, the film highlights the aquarium’s real-life mission to rescue and rehabilitate injured, sick, or stranded marine mammals. Peppermint, the seal who steals scenes within the film, is likely one of the aquarium’s everlasting residents, Cork the harbor seal.
If the mere point out of assembly a movie-famous harbor seal has you placing Mystic in your must-visit Hallmark cities checklist, there are a couple of different stops you need to hit after stopping by to say hey to Cork.
It goes with out saying there’s Mystic Pizza in downtown Mystic. When you’re downtown, be sure you stroll over the long-lasting drawbridge like Juniper and Sawyer, cease into Sift Bake Store, or have a nightcap at Friar Tuck’s Tavern. Simply be sure you additionally hit Mango’s and the opposite stops in Olde Mistick Village, too.
At Mystic Seaport, there’s no scarcity of surroundings to behave as an unimaginable backdrop. That is the place we spent most of our behind-the-scenes time, watching two scenes being filmed: one on the entrance to the Mystic Seaport constructing, and one other inside Anchor Cafe & Sweets.
What struck me probably the most, other than how attractive Mystic is (not me Zillowing homes on the market within the space), was how a lot goes into every shot of a film.
One scene takes a military of individuals, takes from a number of completely different digital camera angles, and a lot extra. Significantly… so.many.folks.
What exhibits up on our screens as a three-minute, golden-lit, warm-and-fuzzy Hallmark second was, in actuality, an hour of extremely choreographed and edited taking pictures.
On the finish of the day, although, it’s price it: With out Hallmark films, we wouldn’t have Hallmark cities. And, truthfully, the vacations simply wouldn’t be the identical with out ‘em.
In response to Hallmark’s web site, you may watch Mystic Christmas on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 26, at midday.; and Friday, Dec. 1, at midnight.
*Editor’s Be aware: Mystic Christmas was filmed previous to the continued writers’ strikes.