Jul 212012
 

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.

Indian woman

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.

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We stepped into several thatched huts to see what the home of a typical Wampanoag family would look like.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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After we left the English Village, we visited the Crafts Center, where skilled artisans were producing everything from wooden furniture to pots and clothing.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Nick Russell

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  16 Responses to “Playing With The Pilgrims”

  1. .

    Nick ,

    How long is the tour of Plymouth Village , or is it self paced ?
    What is the price ? Thanks for a great article and photos .

    .

  2. what a great blog, thank you Nick for the history lesson. We are planning to travel up that way next summer if all our plans work out and we will definatley stop where you stopped. Travel safe.

  3. While you are in the area I hope you will be able to see Sturbridge Village. It is also a living history museum but from a later period. If you make your way into Ct. a nice stop is Mystic.

  4. Dale, Old Sturbridge Village and Mystic Seaport are both on our list of places to visit while here.

  5. We spend most of our summers visiting family members in our old hometown in Maine and winter in Florida. We have driven past Plimouth Plantation for years and never bothered to stop. But after reading toady’s blog we told our daughter we are packing the grandkids in the van and heading there next week. How did we miss this place for so long?

  6. Loved the story of the Pilgrim village and ship. We are at the Thousand Trails campground in New Jersey and headed to Rochester, MA next week for a two week stay at Outdoor World. We will definitely stop at the Pilgrim Village while we’re there.

  7. Thanks for the great blog and beautiful photos. This one goes on our bucket list.

  8. Nick

    We visited thw Plymouth Plantation a few years ago. A young fellow in his 20’s was playing the role of Dr. Samuel Fuller. the colonies’ physician. He also was playing my eight times great grandfather. Could not let the opportunity pass.
    I ram over and gave hime big hug and pumped and pumped his hand saying Grandpa, Grandpa. He stayed firmly in has role and pushed me away saying “are you daft?”

  9. Nick

    We visited thw Plymouth Plantation a few years ago. A young fellow in his 20’s was playing the role of Dr. Samuel Fuller. the colonies’ physician. He also was playing my eight times great grandfather. Could not let the opportunity pass.
    I ran over and gave him big hug and pumped and pumped his hand saying Grandpa, Grandpa. He stayed firmly in has role and pushed me away saying “are you daft?”

  10. There was a class of grade-schoolers visiting when we were at Plimoth Plantation asking all the questions on their worksheets. I enjoyed listening to the actors give answers while staying in their roles.

  11. This goes on our bucket list for sure. I’m so glad to have found your blog, newspaper and Yuma Rally! Love the food pictures–we do that too. Travel safe and have fun.

    Marilu

  12. We have been to different areas of the country with history reenactments like you just did. You learn a lot. They go through extensive studying to tell the right information. Love the blog, we’ll be there in 2014.

  13. Thanks for sharing this interesting day you had!! We really should go visit sometime. I learned last year that I am a descendant of John Alden and Pricilla Mullins (among MANY others, as they had 10 surviving children!!)…now more interest in seeing the things of the early days here in this country!!

  14. Marvin, it is a self-paced tour. Admission to both Plimoth Village and the Mayflower II are $29.50 for adults and $26.50 for seniors over 62.

  15. I’m a retired history museum director. While you’re in the CT area, be sure to visit the Mashenatucke-Pequot Museum. It’s one of my favorite small history museums documentingaspects of Native American history. The glacier exhibit experience is awesome. Thanks for sharing the Plimoth Plantation and spreading the joys of learning about life in early 17th-centuryNew England.

  16. You just visited one of my most favorite places in the nation. It is truly magic to go through this village where no one breaks character. Well worth the money spent and plan to stay for a good part of the day to take it all in.

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