After a restless night of sleep, we woke up, cleared out of our hotel and went straight to Dunkin Donuts for the breakfast of champions. I made sure that I read up before hand so I knew the proper way to order my coffee (“medium – coffee regular”). Dunkin Donuts has an ordering language that locals know so they get the proper coffee-cream-sugar ratio. I guess they don’t trust you with your own sugar/creamer in these parts. The clerk didn’t single me out as a tourist until Jeff ordered and blew my cover. Who cares though, I got to have a donut and coffee for breakfast, right?
After breakfast, it was off to the Mayflower II, a reproduction of the original Pilgrim ship the Mayflower. We lucked out because the ship had been in Mystic Seaport undergoing a survey in preparation for an “extensive overhaul.” It came back to town on May 15th. In 1620, the Mayflower brought 102 English Separatists from England to the New World. They were bound for the area near the mouth of the Hudson River in modern day New York State. At the time it was part of the region known at the time as “Virginia,” named for Queen Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen.” The original ship sailed back to England, fell into disrepair and was scrapped sometime after 1624.
A few years back while doing some genealogical research, I discovered that Jeff is related to one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact. I don’t remember which one. There were 41 signers. At the time I discovered this information I thought it was spectacular until I found out that 35 million people or 12% of the U.S. population are descendants of the 102 passengers of the Mayflower. I guess that is still pretty neat, just not spectacular.
After visiting the Mayflower II, we drove three miles south to the Plimoth Plantation. The Plimoth Plantation contains reproductions of the original English settlement and a Wampanoag (the local natives) home site.
Both areas are staffed by guides in period costume. They are trained to carry out the many day to day tasks that the original inhabitants would have had to complete in order to survive. The plantation functions as a “living museum.” There are gardens and livestock and all of the materials to build the buildings are processed on site using colonial methods and tools. There is even a bakery that makes “thirded” bread, made with wheat, corn and rye flour. We also learned about making beeswax dipped candles, pottery, and sewing. All of the costumes are made (and repaired) on site by people working on the plantation. In the Nye barn, we saw some pigs, goats and llamas. All of the animals at the plantation are historical breeds, representative of what the pilgrims would have raised.
To prepare for the Plimoth Plantation, I read Myles Standish and the Amazing But True Survival Story of the Plymouth Colony. It was a fascinating book about several facets of colonial pilgrim life, with particular focus on Myles Standish, an English military officer and military advisor to the Plimoth Colony.
For lunch, we went back into Plymouth to the Lobster Hut. I thought I didn’t like lobster – and then I ate a lobster roll. Three words: TO. DIE. FOR. After properly stuffing our faces, we packed it and a drove to our home for the next three days… Cape Cod!