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September 19, 2005
This replica was built in England in 1955 (as old as I am) and set sail for its new home in Plymouth in 1957. It was painstakingly researched, and to the best of everyone's knowledge, kept as close as they could come to the orginal ship. Of course, they made some small changes, such as stairs (the real one had ladders), to make it easier for a modern-day visitor to explore.
The ship is managed by the folks at Plimouth Plantation, and once you step aboard, you will meet costumed docents who stay in period at all times. They will play the parts of pilgrim passengers or working sailors. They will answer questions and draw you into a conversation. However, they keep everything to 1620. If you want to know about the replica, how it was built, or what happened to the real Mayflower, you will have to ask those questions to a guide who is in 21st-century garb!
The kids loved it, but I was equally drawn in. My favorite fact that I carried away was that the Mayflower was reported to have a wonderful smell. It was a cargo ship, and its main cargo was wine, so it smelled similar to a winery. It smelled like wine and oak; if you have every been to winery, you know what a pleasant smell that is!
However, the niceties stopped with the smell. The ship was dark, cramped, and small. It carried over 100 people for 66 days at sea. They had storms, leaks, births, and deaths on board. Then, when they got to the New World, they had to still live on the ship until homes were built! It did not sound like a very comfortable life!
Today the ship is open daily from 9am until 5pm. The cost is $8 for adults and $6 for each child. However, the combination pass with Plimouth Plantation is a better way to go, at $24 per adult and $14 per child. The Mayflower is worth its weight in gold for educational value for both child and adult.
From journal Plymouth Rocks
July 11, 2005
Plymouth is a nice town which is dominated by the fact that the pilgrims first landed here in 1620. There are museums and shops and lots of the usual seaside places, but the Mayflower II is the place to visit.
We had to queue about half an hour to get onto the ship, and it wasn’t very busy, so on a busy day, I would guess you would have to queue a long time. One way around this is to pre-purchase your ticket on the web, which I would recommend. You can also buy tickets at the nearby (drive, not walk) Plimouth Plantation--joint tickets for both are available at either location.
You enter the area via a walkway which depicts the history of the Mayflower and the people who sailed on her. The conditions they travelled in were by today’s standards, appalling. They travelled for 65 days to get from the UK to America, landing first in Provincetown in Cape Cod on November 19th 1620. On December 21st a few of them reached Plymouth Rock and on December 26th the rest of the party joined them. Here you will see the type of food they had to eat, the cramped conditions the passengers and crew lived in and lots of other interesting facts. If like me you are from the UK, you will find a list of the 102 passengers and crew and where they originated, which I found interesting.
After this area, you get the chance to actually board the ship. The first thing that you notice is how small it is, compared with how many people are on board during the voyage. This is a full-scale replica of the original ship. You can walk around the ship at your leisure and can see the main deck, the captains’ cabin, the sleeping areas, storage areas etc. There are actors located throughout the area taking on the parts of the original crew. You can ask them questions and they will do their best to answer you – in old English speak.
I could not imagine spending one night on this ship, let alone 65 days travelling across the Atlantic. It is interesting to note that this replica ship has also made the journey across the Atlantic.
If you are in New England, you should spare an hour to visit the Mayflower II and possibly go onto the Plymouth Plantation too, which we did not.
From journal New England in a Week!
July 6, 2003
Plymouth Rock is just a short walk down the road. It is fairly unspectacular . . . just a rather small rock with a fence around it that you can stare down at and take a photo of . . . but as long as you're there, you might as well take a look and say that you've seen it! (This was actually one of the funniest parts of our trip. As my four year old peeked down between the rails to see what everyone was staring at, she said "We walked all the way over here to see a WOCK?!" All the folks around us laughed, and one guy said he was thinking the same thing!!)
From journal Summer at the Cape with Kids!
South Florida, Florida
November 12, 2000
From journal A Day in Plymouth
, New Mexico
September 5, 2000
From journal Hunting Up the Past