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Adventures Along the Seafarer's Trail!

Note from Lisa:

The Mayflower II is scheduled to land in Mystic today! Get the scoop: MAYFLOWER II to Arrive on Sunday.To follow its progress, click here to track the location of Jaguar, the tugboat that's bringing it.

Watching the Mayflower II come up the Mystic River on this cold December day will give us all an idea of what it was like for the Pilgrims to land in Plymouth, Mass., almost 400 years ago in December 1620--too late in the year to gather food and build adequate housing. Half of the 102 Mayflower passengers died that winter.

According to Dr. Lee McDowell, author of Vitamin History, the early years, scurvy is what led to the majority of deaths among the Mayflower passengers in that 1620-1621 winter. As scurvy progressed, the settlers became too weak to walk. “Scurvy is a hideous disease that involves body tissue breakdown. Clinical signs and symptoms include bloody patches under the skin, extreme weakness, loosening of the teeth, rotting gums and a breath that is an intolerable stench of putrefaction. Old healed wounds and scars can suddenly break open, and fresh wounds and sores show no tendency to heal.” Some of the Mayflower deaths were a direct result of scurvy, “while other deaths may have resulted from an indirect effect of scurvy, with the lack of vitamin C resulting in a lower resistance and greater susceptibility to disease organisms (e.g. pneumonia).”

When I prepared for my long winter sail featured in my book Mystic Seafarer's Trail, I made sure to pack bottles of Vitamin C. I hope the crew of Mayflower II remembered to do the same!

Anchors aweigh!
— Lisa Saunders

The Mayflower II anchored in Plymouth, Mass.

If you asked the Pilgrims what they valued most on their Mayflower journey to New England, hands down they would have told you beer. It was considered part of a healthy diet and a trusted source of water—even the children drank it. Long after they reached the slimy bottoms of their water casks during the 66-day sail across the Atlantic, their beer remained drinkable. The Mayflower passengers were desperate to land when their beer supply ran low.

Not concerned about scurvy or running out of beer? Then find some fun things to do in: Mystic Country Events and Discounts! ; The Day; Mystic River Press; This is Mystic; The Resident; The Mystic Wave; Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce; Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce; InTown
“Many more sailors in the world’s navies were lost to scurvy than in battle, and more explorers died of it than from any other cause,” says Dr. Lee McDowell, author of Vitamin History, the early yearsMcDowell's book features vitamin-deficiency diseases such as scurvy, beriberi, night blindness, xeropthalmia, pellagra, pernicious anemia and rickets. 

Sample experiment: In 1749, an onboard experiment showed that oranges and lemons cured scurvy, but it was not until the late 1700s that the British navy required ships to carry citrus juice.
Featured Events
(Through 12/21): Fall Goat Cheese Tasting
Sun, 12/14: Denison Homestead Holiday House Tours
Thurs, 12/18,7pm: Blue Christmas for those who are mourning a loss.
Sun, 12/21, Community Carol Sing-- Free admission from 10am-4pm with the donation of a canned good item; Event to Benefit the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center.
Food/Drink:Happy Hour Food and Drink Specials
Everyday: Nature Center Hiking Trails
Cold nights: Trivia Nights in Mystic!

Mystic Writer's Colony--includes tips/meetings/events.

Miss someone this Christmas season? 
I recommend this article written by a widow:
Seasonal - Blue Christmas. And here is one written by me: The Empty Christmas Chair: Holidays without our daughter.

Need Publicity for Your Event or Cause?

The Lisa Saunders Show

Congenital Cytomegalovirus (CMV) PowerPoint presentation by Lisa Saunders (I've begun meeting again with Conn. politicians to get a CMV education bill passed in 2015 to prevent this #1 viral cause of birth defects).
The Lisa Saunders Show airs on Channel 12, Weds, 8pm, and on the Lisa Saunders Show YouTube channel. Lisa's videography/production team: Suzanne Janso and Suzanne Doukas Niermeyer, Freelance Editor.



Lisa Saunders is an award-winning writer, marketing specialist, TV host and instructor at New London Adult & Continuing Education. She is the author of seven books, history columnist for Pathfinder: A Companion Guide for the Widow/er’s Journey and part-time historical interpreter at Mystic Seaport. As the parent representative of the Congenital CMV Foundation, Lisa works to prevent the #1 birth defects virus. She lives in Mystic, Connecticut, with her husband and offers several workshops . See her News 8 interview about Mystic or see her other projects at:

Excerpt from Mystic Seafarer's Trail:

Shortly after stepping out of my new home with my hound for our first stroll through the historic seacoast village of Mystic, Connecticut, a woman pulled over in her van and yelled, "Excuse me." Assuming she was a tourist wanting directions to Mystic Pizza or some other attraction, I wasn't prepared for what she really wanted to know: "Do you realize the back of your skirt is tucked into your underwear?"

“You will laugh out loud at Lisa’s adventures in this part travel guide, part historical reference and completely hilarious tale.” Bree Shirvell, Editor, Stonington-Mystic Patch.

Mystic Seafarer's Trail is available online and in Mystic area shops.

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Want to literally follow the Mystic Seafarer's Trail to see where the adventure begins? 
Download the free Mystic Seafarer's Trail map

 Photo captions: Lisa Saunders and the Mayflower II in Plymouth, Massachusetts (photos by Jim Saunders).  Photo of Jim Saunders with Christmas characters outside a restaurant in Ridgewood, NJ. Bio photo of Lisa by Cindy Barry. Sketches by Marianne Greiner.