Took advantage of a sunny day to visit Plymouth. The bright blue sky almost tricked us into forgetting that it was super cold and windy, but not quite. We bundled up as best we could and braved both the weather and the numerous school groups visiting that day as well. Our first stop was the Plimoth Plantation Museum.
We started our visit in the visitor center with a short movie about the museum. From the visitor center we headed first to the 17th Century English Village. In the village all the reenactors are actually playing the role of a settler. They remain in character all the time, so the discussions you have with them are as if you are talking to someone during that time period. Some of the opinions and ideas they have are quite different from current ideas which makes for very interesting conversations. One really interesting idea that some of the settlers had was that the dense tree cover in the area was keeping the climate cold. They believed that once some of the trees were cleared that the temperatures would rise significantly. They believed that because Plymouth and Northern Portugal were at the same latitude that after the trees were gone they would be able to grow orange and lemon trees.
After visiting the village we went to the Crafts Center. Here they demonstrate in a modern setting how pots and bread were made during the 17th Century. On the day we were there, they were making bread. There is also a gift shop in the Crafts Center.
From there we headed back to the visitor center to have some lunch. The cafe in the visitor center has Colonial and Native American items on the menu. They also have sandwiches, soups, salads and snacks. We luckily beat the school groups into the dining area and were able to find a spot to eat. The plantation definitely needs a separate area for the school kids to eat their boxed lunches though. The food was pretty good and not too expensive. There is another larger gift shop in the visitor center as well.
After lunch we visited the Wampanoag Homesite. The reenactors here are dressed in period costume, but are not in character. They are all native people either from Wampanoag or from other native nations. They all speak from a modern perspective about the Wampanoag history and culture. From the homesite there is a short nature trail that takes you back to the English village.
As part of our ticket to the plantation we were also able to visit the Mayflower II. This is a short drive from the plantation in the town center of Plymouth. It is located right next to Plymouth Rock. To visit both of these you need to park at metered parking nearby. It is possible to get a map of the Plymouth town center from the gift shop at the plantation which was very helpful. The reenactors on the Mayflower are also role players and speak from the perspective of the time period. This was interesting when one asked where I was from, and when I told him my town was near Cambridge, he immediately started talking as if I were visiting from England. I was kind of disturbed by the the covering for Plymouth Rock. It looks very much like a Grecian temple which seemed an odd covering for a colonial era rock.
After leaving Plymouth Rock we walked through town and up to Burial Hill. This is the actual site of the original village and fort. The town is not very large and it is easy to walk to most of the sights from the Mayflower II. There is an additional sight you can visit with your plantation ticket, The Plimoth Grist Mill. It is also closer to the center of Plymouth, but we ran out of time before we had a chance to go there.
The museum is very well done and enjoyable. Would have liked to go when there were fewer school groups, but from talking with the staff at the museum, the school groups are pretty constant from when school starts until the museum closes for the winter after Thanksgiving. I think if you went during the summer you would not have the school groups, but would then have large numbers of tourists.
Took lots of pictures. You can see them on Flickr by clicking not the photo below: