As we are seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases right now, international travel isn’t an option for most people. Countries are starting to lock down again and people are just not comfortable leaving the U.S.A. with the fear of getting sick overseas.
This is the last newsletter I’ll have before Thanksgiving next week so I thought I would write about someplace a little closer to home with some sort of significance for this time of year. I picked Plymouth, Massachusetts because nothing says Thanksgiving as much as the place where the first Thanksgiving was held.
The holiday feast dates back to November 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration, an event regarded as America’s “first Thanksgiving.” – history.com
Aside from Thanksgiving, most of you will recognize the town of Plymouth for its famous rock. This rock’s original location marks the site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in December 1620.
Plymouth has a difference of about 64 degrees Fahrenheit from their average low temperature of 18 degrees in January (the high average in January is 38) to their high average temperature of 82 in July (the low average temperature in July is 62).
If you are travelling for historical reasons, November and December are the best times to visit Plymouth. November for the first Thanksgiving and December because the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock on December 20, 1620.
When you visit Plymouth, you will find a ton of museums, historical sites, and landmarks to enjoy. There are a few must-go-to places and then the rest are depending on what you would like to learn about or experience while in Plymouth.
Mayflower II – This is a replica of the original Mayflower. Visitors can go aboard this floating museum and see what life was like at sea. You can visit the captain’s quarters, see where the Pilgrims ate and slept, and learn more about the history of the original voyage from England.
Pilgrim Memorial State Park – There are two important sites to visit in Pilgrim Memorial State Park. The first is Plymouth Rock where the Pilgrims first set their feet as they left the Mayflower. The second site is the National Monument to the Forefathers. Thought to be the largest solid granite monument in the world, the monument commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrims.
Richard Sparrow House – This is the oldest surviving house in Plymouth. It dates back to around 1640. The oldest house in America is the Fairbanks House (built around 1637) and is located 40 miles from Plymouth in in Dedham, MA.
Pilgrim Hall Museum – There are several museums in Plymouth. This one really focuses on the history of the Pilgrims. The exhibits include permanent exhibits as well as changing exhibits that are on loan from various collectors or other museums.
Those are the places I consider a must-see. There are many other museums to visit as well, many focusing on different aspects of life throughout Plymouth over the years. There are also many houses on the historical registry that are worth a visit while you are there.
Special Interest Options
In addition to the history part of Plymouth, there are many activities to do in the area for every interest.
Fishing – You will not have any problem finding a boat to take you out on a half or full day fishing trip.
Whale Watching – If you are not into fishing, you can still go out on the water and watch for whales. There are several companies that run whale watching trips.
Beaches – There are a few beaches in Plymouth where you can go spend the day playing in the sand or swimming.
Golfing – For those who like to golf while vacationing, there are several golf clubs you can visit to play a round of golf or two.
Shopping – There is no shortage of shopping in Plymouth. From small family owned businesses to large corporate shopping centers, you can find just about anything you need. There are also specialty shops like Plymouth Bay Winery and Pilgrim Hall Museum Shop.
Depending on when you go, there are also seasonal events and activities.
In November is the week long America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration. This includes a parade, festivals and various celebrations throughout town to celebrate the founding of Plymouth. The live event is cancelled for this year but there is a 52-hour Thanksgiving Marathon to be broadcast on-line and on some streaming media services (see https://usathanksgiving.com/ for more information on this).
In December there are two huge events, Christmas in Historic Plymouth and Plymouth Winterfest. Winterfest is only one night but they have a laser light show, magic show, street performers, craft fair, ice sculptures, and more. They had this in 2019 but I could not find any information for 2020 which leads me to believe it may be cancelled for this year because of Covid-19.
This past May there was a Mayflower Homecoming event which was a week-long event celebrating the restoration and return of the Mayflower to its port in Plymouth Harbor.
So there are plenty of events going on throughout the year, when you plan to go I can help you find out what is going on during the duration of your trip.
Where to Stay and Eat
It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a quaint little inn or a five-star hotel, Plymouth has something for everyone. There is even camping if you want to sleep out under the stars! Some of the hotel chains in the area include Best Western, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Hilton Garden Inn. Smaller and independent hotels include brands like Hotel 1620 at Plymouth Harbor, Pilgrim Sands on Long Beach, John Caver Inn & Spa, and Mirbeau Inn & Spa. And if you are looking for a B&B there are several of those as well.
Just like most American cities, you are going to find just about any kind of restaurant you can think of. Italian, Mexican, Chinese, fast food, etc. To get the most authentic experience however, you will want to visit the local restaurants like Tavern on the Warf where every seat overlooks the waterfront. Or Wood’s Seafood where the restaurant serves up locally sourced fish right next door to where the boats pull in and the fish is unloaded.
Because of its location on the Atlantic, expect to get some of the best New England lobsters and other local fish served up for your enjoyment. And what better to have with your freshly sourced dinner than a glass of locally sourced wine!
I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter and if I can be of any assistance with your next trip, please let me know!