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A Vacation Adventure In Plymouth
by Don and Peg Doman
American history doesn't get much older than Plymouth Rock, the pilgrims, and the Mayflower. It all starts in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Peg and I, along with long time friend Al Burrage, began our own journey from West Dennis on Cape Cod to Plymouth on a day in late September.
Although the pilgrims landed first in Provincetown further east on Cape Cod, they quickly made their way further inland across Cape Cod Bay to Plymouth. Nothing appears in print about the rock until over one hundred years later. The information was passed from father to son. Elder Faunce at the age of 95 pointed out the actual rock where his father and the other pilgrims landed a hundred and twenty years or so earlier.
Plymouth Rock has been broken in two, moved and chipped at over the years. The two broken pieces were reunited in 1880. Only the top half is visible. Plymouth Rock is roughly 1/3 to 1/2 its original size. The visible portion of Plymouth Rock weighs approximately 4 tons. The portion under the sand weighs approximately 6 tons.
Although Plymouth Rock is placed inside a protective monument, it is still open to the weather just a few feet from the lapping waves of Plymouth Harbor. Even in the rainy off season there is a constant stream of visitors. During the short time we stood inside the monument, there were always another four or five people there. Nearby rough-hewn cabin-size buildings sell books and brochures about Plymouth Rock, the pilgrims, and the Mayflower.
There was a family visiting Plymouth at the same time we were. I should have asked them where they were from. They were dark skinned and looked Indian or Pakistani to me. Such is the draw of this solid piece of history. If they were visitors to this country, they were interested in our history. And if they were citizens, they were taking an active part in teaching their children. The little boy and girl strained to see the rock behind the protective barrier. Later they ate lunch at the same restaurant we did. The parents had lobster. I think the kids had fish and chips.
A replica of the Mayflower (Mayflower II), which brought the pilgrims from England to America is birthed only about a hundred yards from Plymouth Rock. Just a block away from the dock where the Mayflower is tied up is the town pier.
We never tire of looking at visual humor. On the pier Peg stopped and stared at a skiff perched atop a roof. So, of course she needed a photo of the fisherman and his skiff. Quaint names and signs abound in New England. We always take our humor where we can find it. The name of another business came to mind looking at the boat ontop of seafood restaurant, Ketch of the Day. There's a million of them.
One of the great attractions of New England (for me and many others) is the low price of lobster. To make the price even less expensive is the New England practice of combining self-serve dining with normally expensive seafood. Wood's Seafood is an institution. Here's what they have to say about themselves: "During the prime summer months, we carry fresh bluefish and striped bass caught locally. Our live lobster tanks are stocked with a large selection of live lobsters ranging from 1-10 pounds as well as live rock crabs. Live lobsters are caught by local fishermen from the clear waters off Cape Cod Bay."
On September 2, 1992, a local lobster trapper brought a huge blue lobster into Wood's Seafood Restaurant and Fish market. Caught off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, this blue lobster raised a stir accross the nation as the story was covered by the APA and United Press as well as the local media. Thousands of people flocked to Wood's Seafood to get a peek at this rare find in nature. The odds of finding a blue lobster is approximately 1 in 20 million. Although blue lobsters are rare, lobster cooked just right is not rare at Wood's Seafood.
The prices at Wood's were unbelievable. Peg had the single boiled lobster dinner for $11.95. I chose the twin lobsters for $19.95. I was not disappointed. Those lobsters where the best lobsters I'v ever had. I skipped the french fries and the cole slaw (I never found any cole slaw in New England to my liking, anyway), but added a pound of mussels for another $4.95. Both the mussels and the lobsters were truly wonderful. Al had the deep fried scallops, which he almost drooled over. Although both Peg and Al enjoyed their lobster bisque, they felt it wasn't as good as it could have been. I got Peg's left over bisque to which I added my half-filled container of drawn butter with a few little pieces of lobster. Now, that was tasty . . . very tasty.
After lunch Al wanted us to see the first church built in Plymouth. He wasn't really sure where it was, but knew it was close. We easily drove past it minutes after leaving the restaurant. There was a small driveway. We let Al out to shoot pictures. Peg and I stayed in the car. Actually, we didn't want to move. Al joined us after I drove around the driveway a couple of times to accommodate other tourists. Al gleefully showed us his digital images of the church. I think there were about two dozen photographs . . . maybe more. "Do you think I missed any archetectural features," he asked. I said, "Yes, I think you missed a stone on the right side." He was not amused.
The day in Plymouth was perfect. We saw historical sites and attractions, met interesting people, and ate great food.