Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Family Travel-Plymouth, Massachusetts

One of our favorite Family destinations is Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Plymouth is located approximately 40 miles south of Boston and is best known for Plymouth Rock where in 1620, the Pilgrims first set foot in our nation after arriving on the Mayflower and the site of the first Thanksgiving.

One of my favorite pictures taken in Plymouth.

There are several hotel chains represented in Plymouth for every taste and budget.   When travelling with family, I always recommend one that offers breakfast, it is cheaper and so convenient.  The closer to the waterfront the better because it can be tough to find parking especially in the summer months.

One of the best things to do with the kids is a visit to nearby Plimoth Plantation.  The Plantation was founded in 1947 as a living history museum.  It shows the how the original village of Plymouth looked in the 17th century.  The "historical interpreters", as the staff are called, have been trained to speak, act and dress appropriate to that age.  They speak with visitors, in the first person expressing viewpoints of the Pilgrims of 1620.  They often represent actual people that once lived in there.  They loosely follow the actual timeline of 1627 from March until November, celebrating events, deaths, funerals, births as they really happened in the past.  The museum also recreates the nearby village of the Wampanoag, the native people of this area.  These interpreters do not interact in character but they are in traditional dress and answer questions and offer information about their people of that time.  Plimoth Plantation also manages the reproduction the Mayflower that is anchored in town.  The Mayflower II, also has historical interpreters that represent real crew members of the original ship.  This is a wonderful history lesson for the kids and an enjoyable day for the adults.

Plimoth Plantation

Perhaps the most unforgettable thing to do in this lovely town is the Whale Watching tour.  The memory of my first experience with humpback whales off of this coastal Massachusetts town, is still vivid and moving. The size of these beautiful creatures is something that must be seen to be believed.  The trip out of Plymouth takes you about 25 miles out to Stellwagen Bank, an 842 square mile National Marine Sanctuary, where the migrating whales feed.  There are whales there all year but because of the migration, May and November are the best times to be there.  I have done the watch several times and I have never been disappointed.  I was even blessed enough to see whales breach (come straight out of the water) on a few occasions.  These wonderful mammals are a wonder to behold and everyone should see it at least once.  Tours are available every day, one morning and one afternoon departure.

Humpback whale breaching.

Of course, you have to stroll down the main street to see Plymouth Rock, which has great historical significance but is a bit of a disappointment.  I expected a huge rock and in reality it is quite small and this is just their best guess where the Pilgrims came ashore.  Even so, take the walk, if only to get a chuckle about its size.

 My husband and twins with the Plymouth Rock historic Monument in the background,

You can also take a boat ride over to Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, for the day.  P-town as it is often called is artsy, home to some great beaches and a real favorite of the LGBT community .  While we were there, we took a dune buggy tour of the enormous sand dunes around this popular tourist destination. It was not only interesting but great fun.

My twins rolling down the sand dunes in Provincetown.

Plymouth, like most tourist towns, offers endless options for dining.  I encourage everyone to go with the seafood dishes because what you are eating was probably swimming less than 24 hours ago.  The endless options of seafood has something for everyone.  There are lots of shops along the main street to wander through after dinner and you might even want to take a Ghost Tour through this very old city or perhaps, just sit oceanfront and watch the stars over the Atlantic Ocean.

Though I have been here often, I do plan to visit again, this time with grandchildren.  I want to watch yet another generation in awe as they see the incredible humpbacks off the Massachusetts coast and their endless questions as they explore Plimoth Plantation.   There is nothing quite like it.

Until next time, safe travels!

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