I think Terry and I agree that yesterday was one that we will remember for a long, long time. I mean, how often do you get to spend a day playing with the Pilgrims?
Plimoth Plantation, in Plymouth, Massachusetts is a living history museum where visitors can meet costumed interpreters to get a feel for what life was like for the Native people who lived here long before the first Europeans arrived, and for the Pilgrims who came to the New World in search of a better life for themselves and their families.
In 1620, when the Pilgrims arrived in this part of the world, people spelled things phonetically or however something sounded to them. So Plymouth was spelled the normal way that we all know, as well as Plimoth, Plemoth, Plimouth, and several other variations. But no matter how you spell it, Plimoth Plantation is a must-see for anybody visiting New England.
After watching a video on the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians who were here before them, we walked down they gravel path to the Wampanoag Homesite, were members of the Wampanoag tribe dressed in traditional garments greeted us and demonstrated the crafts and skills they used to survive for centuries. A beautiful young Wampanoag woman dressed in buckskins explained their lifestyle and told us about how members of her nation are working to preserve the old ways and the Wampanoag language.
Nearby, a man was making a dugout canoe in the traditional method, by burning out the interior. He explained how his people would harvest fish from the rivers and Cape Cod Sound using nets made from fiber rope.
We stepped into several thatched huts to see what the home of a typical Wampanoag family would look like.
Further along the trail we came to the 1627 English Village that the Pilgrims lived in. There we met a number of costumed interpreters who told us about their lives what it took to survive in their harsh new homeland. They explained how they grew their food, hunted for game in the forest, fished the nearby waters, and how they preserved this natural bounty to last into the harsh winters.
Not only were they dressed in period costume, they all talked in the dialect used by the Pilgrims, and played the roles of actual members of the village back in the 17th century. More than one of them asked if we were there to join the community, and assured us that we would be more than welcome to share their homes and their labors. When we told them that we were only passing through and planned to travel onward, they wished us Godspeed and good luck.
Since there were some 25 unwed men in the community, and only four or five single women, female visitors were especially urged to stay. Especially those who looked like they were sturdy enough to work hard and bear many babies!
We had a wonderful time talking to these folks, and it was very obvious that they spend a lot of time researching and learning the period and the people they represent. This young man was taking a break from his chores and told us how he hoped to acquire as much 300 acres of his own land, something that would have been impossible back in England.
Everyone we visited with was happy to tell us how great their future looked in the New World, and that in spite of the hardships they were looking forward to prosperity.
After we left the English Village, we visited the Crafts Center, where skilled artisans were producing everything from wooden furniture to pots and clothing.
We had a wonderful time at Plimoth Plantation, but our adventures for the day were far from over. We drove three or four miles into Plymouth itself, where we visited Plymouth Rock, where the pilgrims first set foot in the new land. The rock is housed in a handsome stone memorial and is protected from vandals by an iron cage.
Nearby, we toured the Mayflower II, an exact replica of the original Mayflower, the ship that brought the Pilgrims to the New World. It was amazing to think that 102 Pilgrims, 30 crew members, and a small herd of goats and pigs, along with chickens, spent over two months crossing the wild Atlantic Ocean in such a small vessel.
On the ship, we met more costumed interpreters explaining what life it was like for common sailors back in the 1600s. This fellow was amazing, and like the pilgrims we had met at Plimoth Plantation, he tried to recruit several youngsters for life on the high seas.
Below deck we met two Pilgrim women, who told us about the hardships of living for weeks on end in the cramped cargo area of the Mayflower, where privacy was nonexistent and their diet consisted of a glutinous porridge day after day.
We were surprised to learn that in the days of the Pilgrims very few people drank water because it was usually polluted and could cause illness, or even death. Men, women and even children drank beer with every meal. Maybe that’s why everybody we met seemed so happy! 🙂
Playing time traveling tourists really builds up an appetite, so we stopped for a seafood dinner at a restaurant called Carmen’s Café Nicole overlooking the waterfront. Dining out is not cheap in this part of the world, but they make sure you have enough on your plate that you won’t go away hungry!
When I mentioned on Facebook that we were going to be touring Plymouth, Steve Earle told us to be sure and visit the National Monument to the Forefathers, and I’m sure glad he did! This is an amazing sculpture that we didn’t even know existed. What an awesome piece of artwork!
By the time we got back to the campground, we were footsore and tired from our long day of playing tourist, but we had made memories we will enjoy for a long, long time.
I’m not sure what’s on our agenda for today. We may drive out to Cape Cod, or over to New Bedford, or to any of a dozen more interesting places around here. Or who knows, we may even be lazy and stay home. Sometimes it’s nice not being locked into a schedule.
Thought For The Day – Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.