Fun things to do in Plymouth

  • Pilgrims Memorial State Park
    Pilgrims Memorial State Park
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Pilgrims Memorial State Park
    Pilgrims Memorial State Park
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Pilgrims Memorial State Park
    Pilgrims Memorial State Park
    by Jim_Eliason

Most Viewed Things to Do in Plymouth

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    1749 Court House and Museum

    by SteveOSF Written Sep 1, 2007

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    Built in 1749, it originally served as the courthouse for Plymouth County. The structure is the oldest wooden courthouse in the United States. It also had lengthy service as civil offices after its courthouse days ended.

    In this building, John Adams defended the British soldiers charged with murder for their participation in the Boston Massacre. (The venue was changed since it was feared a fair trail might not be possible in Boston.) Mr. Adams was able to obtain an acquittal for the murder charges. Accepting this case brought Mr. Adams grief among his friends, but he held to his principal that the soldiers should receive representation. Walk through the building where a man, who was to become the Second President of the United States, had once walked, worked, and contemplated being torn between his convictions and his patriotism.

    Admission is free. The first story is a museum, but the second story has a fully intact courtroom, so be sure to go up the stairs. The staff was friendly and informative.

    1749 Court House and Museum Site of the Boston Massacre Trail
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    Back to 1627 in Plimouth

    by grandmaR Updated May 18, 2007

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    Some years ago - not in the 17th century, but in the 1970s - I visited Plimouth Plantation with my two oldest children. [Calling something in Massachusetts a "Plantation" seems like a bit of an anachronism.] It doesn't look significantly different now from the way it was in the 1970s - at least going by the website. The pictures that I took were slides which have been digitized.

    What it is -- the reconstruction of the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established by the Pilgrims which was started in 1947 by Henry Hornblower II, a Boston stockbroker and amateur archaeologist. It was expanded to today's fortified village by the 1950s. In this section of the museum, interpreters have been trained to speak, act, and dress appropriately for the period. The village approximates the assumed layout of the original

    Plimoth Plantation is open March 24 through November 25, 7 days a week.
    * The Plimoth Plantation location is 3 miles south of downtown Plymouth

    Hours of Plimoth Plantation:
    * Henry Hornblower II Visitor Center is open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
    * Exhibit in the Visitor Center: Thanksgiving: Memory, Myth & Meaning is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
    * Crafts Center is open from 9:15 am to 5:00 pm
    * 1627 English Village is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
    * the Wampanoag Homesite is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
    * Nye Barn is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
    Visiting the Wampanoag Homesite, the 1627 English Village, the Crafts Center, and the Nye Barn requires at least a mile of walking over uneven terrain

    Tickets to the Plimouth Plantation only:
    Adults $21.00
    Children (6-12) $12.00
    Seniors $19.00

    Combination tickets that include the Mayflower II are also available

    Houses and street Wood sawing device and reinactor Vegetable garden with two daughters (left & center From the village to the coast From the village to the pond
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    Plimoth Plantation: 1627 Pilgrim Village

    by gosiaPL Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    Surely this village is a must in the historical Plymouth! It is an oustanding reproduction of the first settlers' village which was originally located in present-day Plymouth. As you enter the village, you will pass through the gathering building, be sure to climb the upper floor for an overview of the whole village, it's worth it! Just don't try to fire those cannons that sit there :-)
    In the village there are costumed guides all over the place "living" their 1627's lives: cooking meals, doing their gardens and housework, etc. It really feels like you are literally taken back in time to the 1600's. Be sure to talk to them and ask them questions, they will be behaving and responding with their 1627's identities, they've gone through special training to do this. Try asking them a question related to any time later than the 1600's and see if you can catch them forget their 1627's identity :-)

    Overview of the Pilgrim Village Cannons on the upper floor Costumed guide, sewing and talking to us Little wooden cabins Daily chores never ended!
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    Pilgrim Hall Museum

    by gosiaPL Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    My trip into the United States' earliest history was not complete, I missed the Pilgrim Hall. It is America's oldest public museum that started in 1824. It houses a collection of the pilgrims' posessions: clothes, chests, chairs, swords, etc. It must be a great lesson on everyday live in the 1600's, if you visit it after seeing the Pilgrims Village.
    I'll make sure I visit it if I ever go to Plymouth again!

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    Try tricking the costumed guides!

    by gosiaPL Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    Here's my favourite costumed guide whom I tried to trick with some questions. We got involved in a long conversation and, just for a moment, I thought I caught him leaving his 1627's identity. But he only paused and smiled, and gave me his 1600's answer. I was really impressed with his knowledge of general European history!
    The other guides I talked to were great too. They must be so patient answering the dozens of questions from visitors! It's really good to talk to them, their stories feel as if you were listening to the first-hand experience of the early colonists.

    Talk to the costumed guides! Pilgrim's simple lunch Preparing seeds for sowing Attending the plant beds Catch them as they walk around and talk to them
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    Explore the interiors

    by gosiaPL Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    You may feel it's enough to only walk around the 1627 Pilgrim Vilage talking to the guides. But you will get more from this educational and entertaining visit if you see some of the interiors for furniture, decoration, everyday life objects, etc. Many of the household items (pottery, pewter) can be bought at the Plimoth Plantation Museum Store. Click for the other pictures here to see more of the interiors.

    Bedroom... or rather sleeping area Plimoth pottery Simple shelving to store things Some furniture Cooking on open fire
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    Boat cruise or whale watching?

    by gosiaPL Written Sep 4, 2006

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    Time for some chill-out and fun after seeing the serious stuff? You can:

    1) Hop on a boat for a relaxing cruise in the bay. The tours start at the State Pier, that's where the Mayflower II is.

    2) Go whale watching or deep sea fishing. The trips start at the Town Wharf which is further up Water St. from the State Pier.

    Cruise harbor at the State Pier
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    Plimoth Plantation: Wampanoag Homesite

    by gosiaPL Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    The Indian homesite is really the size of a homesite, not anywhere near as big as the Pilgrim Village. I was surprised why only this tiny bit of the Native culture was re-created and not a whole Indian village... The costumed guides there also tell their stories and are happy to answer your questions. Be sure to go into the only Indian home there to see its interior and listen to the female guide sitting there. The homesite is also referred to as Hobbamock's in order to commemorate the warrior whom his leader, Massasoit, sent to live near the colonists and act as a guide and ambassador.
    The great thing about the homesite's costumed guides is that they are actually Indians, some are Wampanoags and others come from other Indian peoples. Don't expect them to be wearing lots of feathers (common stereotype), New England's Indians are different.

    The Wampanoags inhabited south-eastern New England, and the present-day Plymouth was their village called Patuxet in the 1600's. The Wampanoag People survive today in the Mashpee area in Cape Cod. The name Wampanoag means "Eastern People".

    The man and his canoe Costumed Indian guides A Wampanoag Indian's home Costumed guide in the Indian home A smaller dwelling or storage space?
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    Plimoth Plantation: Thanksgiving exhibit

    by gosiaPL Written Sep 4, 2006

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    Before you tour the recreated Pilgrim Village, I suggest you stop at the Visitor's Centre. There is an ongoing multi-media ehxibition Thanksgiving: Memory Myth & Meaning which gives you the full story behind this original American holiday. It started as a harvest celebration between the first colonists and the Wampanoag Indians. Now it is often referred to as the First Thanksgiving but, as you can see, it had nothing to do with eating turkey with cranberry sauce :-)
    I really enjoyed this major exhibition also because it gives a lot of info about the Wampanoag Indians.

    The First Thanksgiving painting Thanksgiving exhibit Some stereotypes will be broken to pieces! Some facts about present-day Thanksgiving
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    The Mayflower II

    by gosiaPL Written Sep 4, 2006

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    The ship is a well-researched replica of the original Mayflower on which the Pilgrim Fathers came to America. What is more, it is even built from the same English Devon oak that the first one was made of, and it was sailed to the U.S. in 1957. Of course it flies the Union Jack flag of the 1620. It's fun to tour the ship and listen to costumed guides telling the story of the voyage and giving you lots of other interesting details. This is great fun for kids! There's also a book/gift store on the pier right before you enter the Mayflower II.
    The ship is owned by the non-profit Plimoth Plantation foundation. Check their website for lots of info and any details you may need to plan your tour.

    Mayflower II Mayflower II by the State Pier Mayflower II's flags Mayflower II ticket office and store
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    The statue of Massasoit

    by gosiaPL Written Sep 4, 2006

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    If you're too preoccupied with the Plymouth Rock, you may miss this sweet statue of Massasoit on the hill almost opposite the Rock. He is standing alone there overlooking the Plymouth harbor... Massasoit was Chief of the Wampanoag Indians who helped the the European newcomers survive the first winter (the Pilgrim Fathers landed in Northern America in December 1620) and then taught them to grow corn and make flour of it.

    The statue of Massasoit
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    America's Museum of Pilgrim Possessions

    by cruisingbug Written Apr 3, 2006

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    Pilgrim Hall houses a collection of the material possessions of the Pilgrims as well as numerous paintings and the remains of the Sparrow-Hawk, a small ship which was wrecked off Cape Cod. Included in the collection are cradles, furniture, weapons, personal household items, etc. as well as important artifacts such as Myles Standish's sword and chest and the Brewster and Bradford chairs.

    Admission is $6 - allow about an hour. Please note that half the museum's collection is down steep stairs, as are the restrooms, so is not wheelchair accessible (they're raising money to make it so). Photographs are not permitted.

    White family cabinet, Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth MA
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    Pilgrim Sarcophagus

    by cruisingbug Written Apr 3, 2006

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    Half of the Pilgrims died over that first bitter winter of 1620. The survivors, fearing attack from the Natives, buried their remains on this hill at night in secret so that their dwindling numbers wouldn't be so obvious. The graves, including that of my great-great-great-etc. grandfather, were unmarked.

    At some point, rainstorms began to wash the buried bones from the hill. The remains were collected and placed in this memorial sarcophagus 300 years after the fact.

    Nearby is a statue of Massasoit, the Native Wampanoag leader who befriended the Pilgrims.

    Coles Hill, Plymouth, MA
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    The Tiny Mayflower II

    by cruisingbug Written Apr 3, 2006

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    The Mayflower II is a reproduction of what some believed the original Mayflower would have looked like. It was built in England and sailed across the Atlantic in the 1950s. The ship is staffed with re-enacters who "live" in the year 1620, as well as modern-day staffers and sailors. Feel free to ask questions of any of them - although the ones in Pilgrim dress won't have any answers beyond their time frame.

    What's most striking about the Mayflower II is its size - it's a small ship, and the Pilgrim passengers were all contained in the lower deck. They very rarely went topside as they didn't want to mingle with the rough sailors or get in the way (or go overboard as one did - luckily he was rescued). Also notice the very large "Great Cabin" where the captain of the ship lived - it was quite spacious in comparison, and even in comparison to most London houses! The Mayflower was a cargo ship, so ordinarily there wouldn't have been 100 extra people riding along.

    Admission is $8 but if you get the combo pass with Plimoth Plantation you save $5 ($24 total).

    Mayflower II, Plymouth, MA
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    Gotta See the Rock!

    by cruisingbug Written Apr 3, 2006

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    If you're in Plymouth, Plymouth Rock is a can't miss. Maybe it's the real rock the Pilgrims first set foot on, maybe not. Either way, the sentiment is there - this is where it all began! Actually, Plymouth wasn't the first settlement in America - St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Spain, Jamestown, Virginia was settled in 1607, and Quebec is Canada's oldest city, founded in 1608. Plymouth was, though, the first permanent settlement in New England - by mistake, as the Pilgrims were headed for Virginia.

    The rock itself is housed in an open Greek-temple-looking portico and surrounded by an iron fence. Viewing is from above. Two-thirds of the rock are beneath the beach, so only the top third is visible. The current rock is about half its original size as it accidentally broke while being moved in 1774, and because so many souvenir seekers had chipped away at it over time.

    Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts USA
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