This is a 6-7-hour tour and is available year-round. Some attractions are closed during the winter months and the cranberry bogs are only in season from September to October.
Stand by Plymouth Rock, where our forefathers landed in December, 1620 after what had to have been a long trip in deplorable conditions – they had to survive the treacherous winter seas crammed into a 100-foot hold with all their supplies and livestock. Half of the 150 souls who made the voyage lost their lives the first winter due to lack of planning.
Walk the decks of the Mayflower II (a replica of the original Mayflower), see where the first Thanksgiving took place, visit the home of John and Priscilla Alden, and stand in the stocks of shame as your family takes photos to send home to your town’s newspaper. Visit the Myles Standish Monument for wonderful views of Cape Cod and Massachusetts Bay where you may see Right Whales cavorting in the water.
Visit Howland House, built by one of the Pilgrims – John Howland and his wife Elizabeth Tilley Howland – and taste, if you dare, the slimy “sweet water”*, which the Pilgrims relied upon for drinking and cooking. See the home of Richard Sparrow, another Pilgrim, built in 1640, and see the old Jenney Grist Mill that was built in 1636.
Another site of interest is Plimoth Plantation (“Plimoth” is the original spelling), a re-creation of the initial rudimentary settlement, and visit with costumed guides who speak in (understandable) Elizabethan English. The Plantation also includes a Native American village, and we will also take you to Burial Hill, on a high knoll overlooking the ocean, where the majority of the Pilgrims are buried. Half of these people died during their first winter as they arrived too late in the year to build housing and tried to make it through the particularly harsh winter in rough lean-tos.
During the warmer months, we may be able to take you to the Myles Standish Monument, some of the cranberry bogs (Ocean Spray Farmers Co-op has their world headquarters in an adjoining town), and also to see the Forefathers’ Monument, which is the tallest free-standing stone monument in North America.
Once you have taken this tour, you can truthfully claim that you have visited Cape Cod. Historically, Cape Cod was always considered to be the first, or westernmost, town on the Cape. Then, in 1933, a canal was cut through Cape Cod, slicing along the eastern border of Plymouth, separating it from the “arm” of the Cape. Plymouth isn’t as affluent as towns on the other side of the canal, and residents on the “other side of the bridge” who have their noses in the air like to proclaim that Cape Cod begins on the eastern end of the Canal Bridges (the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges), where housing costs are more than double those in Plymouth, but their argument is contrary to the weight of history. These two Canal bridges take 12-20 hours off the sailing time for ships and yachts between Boston and New York City and also saves mariners from the often treacherous waters encountered at the hook of Cape Cod. Over a 400-year history, more than 400 ships sank off Cape Cod, including the infamous Pirate ship, the “Whydah”, which was recovered with a magnificent treasure about 15 years ago. The canal was dug during the Great Depression, in 1933.
If you wish to skip some of the sites in Plymouth, we may have time to take one of the nearby bridges over the impressive Cape Cod Canal for a quick visit through Sandwich on Cape Cod (traffic permitting – Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays from May until mid-October has heavy back-up traffic on the bridges).
* In Olde England, there was salt water, which one cannot drink, and “sweet water”, which meant fresh water, although some was not potable. The Pilgrims found Herring Pond, with fresh water running down slopes to the sea – the water was somewhat cleansed as it passed downhill over rocks and sand, but at the source (the pond ½ mile from the sea), it has algae and scum floating on it these days. Bring a sipping cup! (We’ll bring bottled water!)
Being as this is Plymouth, you can purchase a hot turkey dinner with all the trimmings every day of the year here, but there are also many other choices for lunch, ranging from the cafeteria at Plimoth Plantation, to many seafood restaurants on the coast. (Don’t worry, every place also offers red meat and other choices as well.)
Are you a Mayflower descendant, or think you may be? The Mayflower Society is in Plymouth, and their genealogical archives may help you find out more about your family. Also consider the New England Genealogical Society on Newbury Street in Boston, for further research.
We also provide Genealogy tours and can gain access into old, locked-up Colonial Graveyards for you.