I’m thinking about changing the structure of the posts to something more chronological, with more photos and less narrative, more tourist and less history. Let me know what you think: good, bad or indifferent.
After all was said and done at Plimoth Plantation, we stopped by their Patuxant Cafe for a quick lunch. They had the usual burgers, but also a 17th century and Native inspired menu. Kathie and I shared stuffed quahog and 17th century cheesecake. Quahog is a hardshelled clam and it was stuffed with a corn bread mixture. And what makes cheesecake 17th century? Lots of currents and spice, and no sugar.
“We were supposed to land in Virginia!” groused the woman in 17th century garb, sitting on the top deck of the Mayflower II. We sympathized. If they had, maybe a near 50% of them would not have died their first year in the colonies, as they did in Massachusetts.
The Mayflower was the circa 1605 merchant ship that brought the 102 English colonists to Plymouth in 1620. Her original destination was Virginia, but gale winds forced her landing in Massachusetts instead and the colonists eventually decided (and regretted, once winter came) to stay. Mayflower II is a reproduction of the Mayflower, made in Devon, England for Plimoth Plantation in 1955. It’s anchored in downtown Plymouth, about 3 miles northeast of Plimoth Plantation. Be warned: parking in downtown Plymouth is difficult.
Tradition has it that the Plymouth colonists landed on a site now called Plymouth Rock. It’s almost certainly not true, but you know how stories gain a life of their own. A small piece of the rock is on exhibit, on the other side of a small park from the Mayflower II. “It’s just a rock!” said one disappointed child to his mother. Yes, but it’s a rock covered by a neoclassical pavilion.
Our next destination was Pilgrim Hall Museum and we walked down Water Street to get there. Plymouth is a tourist town equally divided between sea-themed tourist shops and historic statues and attractions. So our slow stroll involved lots of reading of historic markers, looking at statues and peering into shop windows at pirate-wear. Did you know that since 1970, Native Americans have been gathering at Plymouth on Thanksgiving Day to observe a day of mourning? I didn’t either, until I read it on a sign on Water Street.
Pilgrim Hall is a small museum with paintings and displays on local history. I can’t say I was hugely impressed. All I remember are some beautiful stained glass windows in the reception area, and room-sized painting of (I think) the colonists landing. No photographs allowed.
We were heading back toward the docks after we finished Pilgrim Hall Museum (30, maybe 40 minutes max) when there, in front of us, was Wood’s Seafood. It’s #3 on Trip Advisor’s list of the best restaurants in Plymouth, and #1 among the seafood restaurants. It was still a little early for dinner, but we were there and we were hungry so a clam fry — fresh and local — capped our day.