Berthed a few steps from Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II is a full-scale reproduction of the type of ship that brought the Pilgrims from England to America in 1620. The 106 1/2-foot vessel was constructed in England from 1955 to 1957 using designs, tools and methods similar to those used around the time of the original Mayflower's sailing. Great care was taken to use historically accurate materials such as English oak timbers, linen canvas sails, and true hemp rope. On June 13 1957, the Mayflower II arrived at Plymouth after a 55 day voyage. Since 1958, Plimoth Plantation has exhibited Mayflower II to tell the story of the famous 1620 voyage and the terrible "first winter" in which half of the original Mayflower's passengers and crew died from exposure and malnutrition.
Once you step aboard, you're hit with the thought about how small the ship is. The quarters shared by the 102 passengers, who spent 66 days here sailing toward freedom and the unknown, are cramped and dark and you have to admire the determination of these people crowded into the 'tween decks area. There was little privacy other than blankets hung as curtains between the piles of their worldly belongings separating one family from the next. Their personal possessions, except for the minimum needed for daily existence, were stowed below in the hold with the ship's stores until they were brought ashore at Plymouth.
The Ship is manned with actors portraying 17th century seamen readying the ship for the return voyage to England, who will answer any questions as they go through their chores.
These costumed guides never come out of character...or speak of times beyond the year they are portraying. This particular man spoke to Gosia and I for quite sometime and was quite knowledgeable. Gosia noted his knowledge of European history and many fascinating details of that time.
No Plymouth trip is complete if you don't go and visit the Mayflower. This ship is just a replica of the 1620 ship that sailed from England but it does give an idea of the conditions of the people on board.
Be sure to ask alot of questions to the crew onboard of the shipboard experience.
Not the typical tour of a historical site, colonial lantern tours are done after dark and are a walking tour of the city of Plymouth. There is an extremely large amount of history that you wouldn't learn if you were to take traditional tours.
One of the best touches is that all people on the tour get to have a lantern for the duration of the tour. The history behind the patterns on the lantern is explained.
This is a seasonal activity but goes until November 27 of each year.
There are two tours each night, the regular and the ghost tour.
Do you suppose the kids who come here have ever chased a chicken down a dirt lane? I doubt it. This is a wonderful way to teach kids about history. Especially if they are studying the era in school at the time. I highly recommend bringing the kids. There are video/audio exhibits in the main building, there is a craft center where you can watch and question the people working there...as well as the actual village area. Many opportunities to really dig in and get the feel of the times in Plymouth.
This costumed guide had to be suffering with the heat that day. She told of her work day which consisted of gardening and cooking. Sometimes she had to work on sewing or making small items for the household. She was on her way back to the garden with all these layers of clothes on, which she said was her SUMMER clothes. She was an excellent guide....knowledgeable and quite engaging.
The costumed guides at Plimoth Plantation are very good. They never vary from their character or time period. This brother and sister told of their lives in the colony...and what they missed most about home. It was such a hard life for them. The brother was finding it more bitter than the sister. The days were spent worrying about survival...with no time for play or rest. They enjoy their lunch before returning to the work of the day.
The waterfront has a sidewalk and stone wall right up to the street...so that it is easy to take a leisurely walk and look at the ocean. There are many pleasure boats, fishing boats, and tour boats available for summer fun....or the amateur photographer. You can go to the top of a little hill to see the Wax Museum, a couple of monuments and an awesome view of the harbour. Lots of B&B's and apartments for summer vacations...as well as an interesting little business district that has lots of good shops, antiques, coffee cafes, and restaurants....pubs.
A replica of the Mayflower is open to the public as part of the Plimoth Plantation experience. Costumed interpreters on board give you a feeling of the Pilgrims' journey to the new world.
You will encounter costumed role players, modern-day staff and maritime artisans, all eager to talk with you. On the seaward side of the ship, there are reproductions of the two boats that came to America with the original Mayflower. The smaller vessel is a ship's boat and the larger is a shallop (coastal working vessel). In 1621, the ship's boat returned with Mayflower to England while the shallop remained as the colonist's first sailing craft.
Next to Mayflower II, a dockside exhibit traces the history and origins of the ship's passengers, and describes the navigation techniques the crew used to find their way at sea. As you leave the ship, a collection of vintage photographs documents the construction of Mayflower II in England and her 1957 Atlantic crossing.
The most important thing to know is that the role players you meet stay "in character" and that for them, the year is 1621. Just say "hello" and enjoy your conversations with Mayflower role players, keeping in mind that they will not recognize any events after 1621.
Ask lots of questions!
Listen to other visitors' conversations (it's OK to eavesdrop here.)
Don't be shy about asking the role players to repeat something or to explain a word or idea.
Plymouth Harbor is home port to many popular excursions including whale watches.
Captain John's Boats offer a 4 hour whale wathing adventure. As they depart historic Plymouth Harbor, your naturalist, a professional marine biologist, provides an informative description of the whales you are likely to see off of Cape Cod, as well as commentary on the day's whale watching activities, and is available to answer any questions you may have about whales. This program has proven to be of such outstanding educational value that it now serves as part of the science curriculum in many Massachusett's and New England schools.
Enjoy the cruise across Cape Cod Bay on one of two open decks or lounge in the climate controlled main cabin. Your comfort is assured and complete galley service, offering your favorite food and beverages, is available.
Plimoth Plantation, a living museum of life in Plymouth the way it was in 1627, is a popular, national attraction. Here, visitors can interact with the inhabitants who have assumed the identity of early Plymouth Pilgrims.
The Mayflower II is a reproduction of the 1620 English vessel which carried the "Pilgrims" to America. There is a visitors' center where you find information and tickets. Plymouth rock is a short walk away...and across the street is a wax museum. Highly recommend that you take young children to this area...as well as the Plymouth Plantation just outside of town.
This is a pretty neat place to explore! You can see how the Pilgrims and Indians used to live!
Plimoth Plantation: The Museum
The 1627 Pilgrim Village
Hobbamock's (Wampanoag Indian) Homesite
The Carriage House Crafts Center
Part of the Plimoth Plantation reproduction village contains the Hobbamock's Homesite. Here we see the native American's camp. Costumed guides speak to visitors about the way they housed themselves as well as their hunting and cooking. The kids usually love this part of the tour. You can spend as much or as little time as you wish at each portion of the village.
At Plimoth Plantation you can go inside the reproduced homes. I sat comfortably imagining having a cup of coffee in this early home. The simplicity is rather refreshing...no microwave, TV, or rock music here!
Loved the pottery...had to buy some in their gift shop to bring home. In order to fully appreciate these photos and the detail of these buildings, you really need to click to enlarge the photos.
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