An August 2005 trip
to Plymouth by SFPhotocraft
Quote: Plymouth has to compete with its neighbors, Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. Poor Plymouth is often overlooked. There is a lot here, and for the history buff, it's a must. Plymouth Plantation is a must-see for any families with kids!
Those who do stop usually only spend the day and make a quick trip to see that famous Plymouth Rock or spend a day learning American history at Plimoth Plantation or the Mayflower II. Few visitors spend the night here, as they are off to next place by dusk. I am convinced that if Plymouth were anyplace else and not on the way to somewhere a bit more glamourous, it would be the place to be.
We go to the Cape each summer, but always spend a night in Plymouth. One of my partner's best friends from high school now lives here and we always have dinner with her before heading down to the Cape.
Now that the kids are older, I love the stop. Plimoth Plantation is living history, and there is no where better to teach them about the roots of American colonialization. There is no myth here--just facts. Plus, best of all, they love the visit here. There is nothing like tricking your kids into learning something while they think they are just having a good time!
Plymouth is a bit of blue-collar town, and then it has its highlights of beach homes and wealth. It always seems to me that it's not quite sure just what it wants to be!
I love the area, and they do a great job of presenting its historic roots. Even if you are just going to the cape or the islands, it's worth a day trip. There is enough to see here to keep you busy, and if you have kids, I think it's a must stop.
However, if you are talking about 2005, a good working automobile is required. Plymouth is about one hour from Boston. You can walk around downtown--it's small and compact. However, if you plan to visit the Plantation, you will need a car.
In trying to book a hotel in the area, I was surprised at how few hotels Plymouth has. They do have a handful of B&Bs and a few motels, but the Radisson seems to be the only major large-brand hotel in the area. So we booked it.
First it's called the Radisson Plymouth Harbor, but it's not on the harbor; it's about a block and half from the water. It sits behind a sort-of strip mall and the location is uninteresting at best.
We stayed here on Saturday, and it seemed every wedding in Plymouth was here on this day. The hotel does a big wedding business. The lobby is large and spacious, with lots of color, but seemed a little dated to me.
We had to go down to our room and were not ground floor but half basement. Our room was tucked away at the end of a long hall. Our room had no personality whatsoever. It was a light beige and there not a single picture or painting on the walls. The word sparse came to mind. We were only staying here one night, so we didn't ask to switch rooms, but I have to say that this room felt odd. It felt like it may not have been finished or else the hotel had a major budget crunch and art was just not on the list.
The best part of the hotel was the pool. The hotel does have a large indoor pool and the kids made use of it. The pool was very nice. It seemed to me that the rooms surrounding the pool would be the best rooms in the hotel.
I am giving this hotel a recommend, just because it's the only game in town. I didn't have a lot of complaints, the staff was fine, and we did all get a good night's sleep. However, this hotel lacks a lot of character or personality. I guess when you don't have competition you can let a lot of things slide.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 26, 2005
Radisson Hotel Plymouth Harbor
180 WATER ST
Plymouth, Massachusetts 02360
The Grille did have valet parking. We parked, took our chances, and tried to walk in without reservations. Even though the lot was full, the restaurant inside was empty. We then found out the reason. It was a bright, sunny summer day, and EVERYONE was dining alfresco on the back patio! Even though the place was full, the hostess seated us at a very nice table outdoors.
It felt great to have the sun shining down on us. The view of the harbor was okay. However, to see the harbor, you have to look beyond a very ugly parking lot. You could see the bay, but you also looked at a lot of late model cars and minivans. This was the bay that the Pilgrims landed on in 1620, and there was a sense of history and place here.
Our waitress was young and perky. She took great care of us and kept a smile and glow about her. We started out with Bloody Mary's from the bar, and they were darn good.
The kids had burgers, Chris had a salad, and I had lobster eggs Benedict. The food was good, so we had no complaints, but it was a little bit ordinary. It was what we expected with no surprises. The kids’ burgers were good, but a bit on the dry side. The Caesar salad was also plain. My lobster Benedict probably was the best choice at the table. I did take a peak at the dinner menu, and they offered the typical choices: New England chowder, lobster, scrod, and scallops. It all looked good, and from the amount of cars the night prior, I guessed popular with both locals and tourists.
The nicest part of the meal was being outside and the friendly service. I won't tell you that this is the best meal we had the trip, but there was nothing to complain about. It was a good, standard American brunch, and I would return.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 22, 2005
East Bay Grille
173 Water St.
Plymouth, Massachusetts 02360
Attraction | "Mayflower II"
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.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 19, 2005
Mayflower II at Plimoth Plantation
State Pier across from 74 Water Street
Attraction | "Plimouth Plantation"
The Plantation is open from March 26th until November 27th and is closed in the winter. You begin in the interpretive center, which has a snack bar, large gift ship, small museum, and a movie to introduce you to what you are about to see. The cost to visit for adults is $21 and $14 for kids. The better value is to buy a combination ticket that includes the Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, which costs $24 or $14.
Once inside the plantation, you are in a small cluster of cottages. There are no stores and shops. Unlike Williamsburg, this is a basic settlement built for survival of the brave and hearty pilgrims. About the village you will meet docents in 1620s garb. They will speak to you in reference to the 1620s and will not break character. They are pros and stay in period at all times. They encourage you to ask questions and even banter a bit. They will tell you about life here in Plimoth Plantation almost 400 years ago. You can step into their homes, smell their cooking, see their beds, or watch them as they do their daily chores.
You quickly learn this isn't the turkey-and-pumpkin life of the pilgrims we learned about. My son put it best as we got back into the car. He said, "Life sure was harsh." This is exactly what I think the curators want you to take away from this experience. During the year, they have many special events where you can eat a meal with the pilgrims or even sleep at Plimoth Plantation. Check the website for dates and details.
Beside the cluster of pilgrim homes, there is also a Wampanoag Village. Wampanoag were the Native Americans who lived in this area. They too will share their crafts and story with you. I actually found their sleeping accommodations to be more comfortable than the pilgrims!
Overall, it was a fascinating day, and one that will teach even the adult. So much of what I was taught about the pilgrims was just American folktales and not the truth. Here at Plimoth you can learn the real story.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 26, 2005
137 Warren Avenue
Plymouth, Massachusetts 02360
508 746 1622
Attraction | "Plymouth Rock"
First off, Plymouth was NOT the first place the pilgrims set foot in the New World. They actually first landed on Cape Cod near Provincetown. They did not like it much there and moved across the bay after several weeks. There is no account that anyone ever set foot on Plymouth Rock. In all the writings of the time a large rock is never once mentioned. It wasn't until over 100 years later that folks started the myth of a big rock in the harbor being the first place the Pilgrims stepped. As a matter of fact Plymouth wasn't even the first settlement, Jamestown in Virginia was already up and running when the pilgrims landed. So much for believing your grade school teachers!
America was young and needed symbols. So, in 1774, they tried to move the rock up into town and make a shrine of it. However, when they tried to move the rock, it broke in two! So if you look closely at the rock today, it's actually two pieces held together with mortar.
In 1859, they carved the date 1620 into the rock and built a permenant home for it by the harbor. The building looks somewhat like a small Greek temple and houses the rock.I have been to Plymouth Rock three times, and each and every time, someone will walk up, look down, and say in a loud voice, "That's it?" I have to agree--it's a bit underwhelming to see it. I feel sorry for the ranger who stands guard by the rock, who must hear this over and over, day after day.
To see Plymouth Rock it's located downtown, near the harbor. You can't miss the small temple. It's free and is always open to view. It may be a bit underwhelming, it may be a bit of a myth, but it is one of the great American symbols and is worth the stop, even if it's just to ask, "Is that it?"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2005
Pilgrim Memorial State Park (Plymouth Rock)
Plymouth, Massachusetts 02360