How Connecticut is making a comeback after pandemic

Lara Spencer explores some of the Constitution State’s treasures.
5:52 | 06/08/21

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Transcript for How Connecticut is making a comeback after pandemic
Now time to "Rise & shine" traveling around the country as states open again. This morning Lara is in her home state of Connecticut. She's enjoying a beautiful day at the mystic seaport where we learned that George went as a fifth grader. He was probably in a suit and tie, right, Lara? And a briefcase as a fifth grader. 100%. Our very own Michael P. Keaton in George. It is such a very special place, though, robin. So happy to be back here. I have great childhood memories. Hope you'll come see it. We are so far up the shoreline of Connecticut, the mystic seaport here this morning and the ship I'm standing on, "The Charles W. Morgan" the last wooden whale ship still in existence in the entire world dating back to 1841. Now 181 years old in the nutmeg state. Nestled between New York City and Boston this commuter state is home to delightful surprises. And over 90 miles of gorgeous shoreline with charming communities like this one. the first state in the hard hit northeast to open dining 100% in March, Connecticut's small food and beverage businesses are buzzing back. Welcome. Welcome. First time? Yes. There you go. Reporter: My wife didn't cook, devione serves soul food providing meals to people in need. I know how it is to not have and need a little bit of help. My wife and I was like let's make some meals are to the community and once we did that, people started coming in and supporting us. Reporter: The support so overwhelming, they now have a second location. Have a good night. Reporter: Over 60 miles to the east the classic new England seaport of mystic is a tourist Mecca in the summertime and you may just know it from the movie "Mystic pizza." I'll be slinging pizza for the rest of my life. The best pizza. Reporter: The they're still serving up slices. On the shoreline of Connecticut this is the place to stop. I'm meeting up with the kitchen manager and grandson of the original owners who wasn't even born yet when the movie was made. My dad, he was running the shop, yeah, so Julia Roberts wasn't old enough to drink so they came in -- the whole cast came into the bar and ordered a bunch of beers, my dad was like, oh, oh, let's see some I.D. Your dad carded Julia Roberts. Reporter: It couldn't stop the pandemic from hitting mystic pizza. Talk to me, how slow did it get when you forced to close your dining room, only do take-out? I don't eve want to talk about it. That's how slow it was. I'm talking maybe 50 pizzas a day, if that. Reporter: But the turnaround began. This memorial weekend mystic pizza was setting records selling over 1500 pies in one day alone. 48, got to put an apron on. I feel very excited. See. Ready for my waitress job, Julia Roberts, move over. there are no words. It is exactly what you're seeing. It's gonna be a good day Reporter: And less than a mile away a legacy in shipbuilding dating back to the 18th century being preserved. Tall ships like this beauty, "The shenandoah" are sent here to be repaired at only one shipyard in the country that can do this work. The incredible artisans that work here are second to none. What was it like for you guys during the pandemic? Well, I tell you the very beginning it was quite difficult because the number of ships we have in the water require constant attention. We slowly came back to work. And mystic seaport, the preservation boatyard is all about the continuity of history. Yes, keeping the ships preserved and skills and talents necessary to preserve those ships alive as well. Reporter: Robin, you know this is a quintessential shipbuilding town located on the mystic river. The buildings that you're seeing that are just on the shoreline here, most of them have been moved. Their original buildings saved from demolition used to create this seafaring village to educate about life in America so very long ago. Such a beautiful state in so many ways. But, Lara, what are some of the famous firsts there in Connecticut? Reporter: Well, robin, next time you bite into a juicy burger, you can thank the restaurant Lou which's lunch in New Haven recognized by the library of congress, I might add, for creating and serving the very first burger. The first phone book also traced back to New Haven in 1878. The first Frisbee, the first lollipop and how about an only in Connecticut, Connecticut the only pez factory operating in the United States and that's in Orange, Connecticut. Love those little candies. All right. We'll check back with you in just a little bit. Another first, it is the first place where I've lived an extended period of time, over 30 years because being in the air force, yeah, 1990 moved there to Bristol, Connecticut for ESPN and kept a home there all these years. It is a beautiful state and the people there are fantastic,

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