The tickets we purchased at the Plantation were actually in 3 parts. The site itself, a grist mill off site and a replica of the Mayflower down at the harbor. Three different locations for one price, how could we lose?
Apparently very easily as it turns out….because after we bought them, we found out the replica Mayflower wasn’t even in the state, but in Mystic, Connecticut undergoing an overhaul for the 400th year anniversary they’ll be celebrating next year. Thanks for that. It would have been nice knowing before I paid to tour it.
And the grist mill?
Turned out not to be so historic after all.
Yes, the Pilgrims eventually built a mill in 1636 after 10 years of grinding corn by hand. And yes, it was somewhere on Town Brook in Plymouth, though no one knows exactly where.
The mill pictured here was actually built in 1970 with many of it’s parts coming from a salvaged mill near Philly. How’s that for historical accuracy?
But we paid our money so here it is… upstairs, big stones.
And downstairs, big wheel. I won’t bore you with the more technical details on the inner workings.
But I will share the picture and video of this poor girl sifting cornmeal. The mere thought of having to do that all day makes me appreciate the little blue Jiffy box I use to make muffins soooo much more.
And it was even louder in person, trust me.
Naturally I had to visit the gift store and buy some freshly ground meal which is when we passed this:
Feel free to groan.
Sadly I only caught sight of this book when we were leaving and didn’t have a chance to flip through it. Who knew Yetis brewed beer?
Leaving the grist mill, I spotted a scallop shell.
In Tennessee we saw painted bears, in Vermont painted cows, somewhere I can’t remember painted lighthouses.
Done with the Indian village, we walked through an exhibition hall full of 17th century replica pottery.
It was a bit odd. But there was a still…
And an 8 handed mug…
So that probably explains it. That, and the fact water was often polluted so they drank mostly beer and/or alcohol.
Onward to the colonist’s settlement….
First, the fort which commanded the high ground.
With it’s wonderful old cannons.
Then down into the settlement.
It was explained to us that all the employees would be playing the parts of characters based on the original inhabitants, wearing authentic clothing and speaking in the language of the period. We were encouraged to interact with them as such.
Before visiting here I was under the impression that the Pilgrims came to the new world to escape religious persecution. And while that’s true to an extent, it’s not the whole story. They actually fled to the Netherlands first, which explains all the windmills you see in this part of the country.
The settlers in Plymouth were actually sponsored by England to colonize America. They were given ship’s passage and supplies and were expected to send back goods (mostly furs and pelts) to repay the investment. After 7 years of this, they were granted land… something working class people had no hope of obtaining back home.
Of course nothing went as planned. They were supposed to land in New York, but they landed in Massachusetts. They were supposed to land in September, but they landed in December.
They were supposed to fish for food, but there were no fisherman. They were supposed to build a town, but there were no trained carpenters.
Piss poor planning if you ask me.
Hell, a large percentage of them didn’t even live through the first winter.
But they’d brought some livestock…
And as we know, managed to survive if not yet thrive.
This fellow was trying to frame a window.
On the exterior of this house.
And if you think the Indians had it bad, imagine 15 people living and sleeping in here at a time.
Check out the slight list of the house on the far right. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the husband had a hand in it’s construction.
Personally, I loved the roofs…
Fashioned from rolled reeds, they begged to be petted.
In the next house we found this fellow, and the husband initiated a conversation.
I’m guessing the man had stage experience, because he was seriously deep in character.
(And before you laugh at my incorrect title spelling, it happens to be the old fashioned way Gov. William Bradford referred to the original colony and in order to differentiate it from the town of Plymouth, the museum chose the alternate version for it’s name. So there spelling Nazi’s!)
(And before you food picture screamers start screaming for food, here are the pics from the previous night’s dinner that I forgot to include in the last post.)
A restaurant and wine bar in Mashpee famous for their wood fired pizza.
The first thing I thought of when we walked in was why do they have candy corn lights hanging over the bar?
But then I tasted their fabulous Basil Lemon Fizz…
And couldn’t have cared less.
Since they’re famous for pizza, we had pizza.
Though the menu made me apprehensive about choosing the wrong combination. Who needs that kind of ridicule at the dinner table?
We went with the grilled portabella with spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, mozzarella, roasted garlic and truffle combo… and in a word? Yum!
The morning of vacation day 3 dawned bright and sunny although cold, so we actually left the Cape Cod proper and headed north to Plymouth.
Yes, that Plymouth. Home of the Rock, the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. We were going to get our history geek on.
And just like Hyannis builds an economy around the Kennedys? Plymouth builds it’s entire town on the Pilgrims landing there first. ( The question is… did they? More on that later.)
Entering through the visitors center, we began our journey back in time to the 17th century. This is a living museum and replicates what life would have been like through interaction with Native American and Colonists. It was a blast!
First up… the Indian Village, where we saw a dug out canoe.
And a live demonstration of how they’re made.
By Native American twins.
No, they weren’t actors. Though their tribe was actually from New York state and not local to Plymouth. They patiently explained the process involved in crafting this sea going canoe and believe me when I tell you it was cold that day. All the tourists were bundled up and these guys were half naked. Which, to be honest…. wasn’t a hardship for me.
This area is right on the water and there was a pretty stiff breeze. Yes, there was a little heat from the fire but not enough to make me strip… nope. Uh uh!
The fascinating part was, when I asked him why he wasn’t cold like the rest of us…. his answer astounded me. Diet, and conditioning. He told us that Indians traditionally pay close attention to nutrition, eating a mostly plant based diet supplemented by light fish and chicken in the summer and red meat only in the winter, when the body requires more fuel to maintain it’s internal temperature. He said the white man’s habit of covering himself in heavy clothing when it’s cold tricks the body to believing it’s summer all year long, therefor not allowing it acclimate naturally.
Seriously, I was shivering in 19 degree wind chill …. and he was bare chested.
Another interesting fact? They were getting ready to submerge all the canoes in the water for the winter so they would freeze and be preserved for next year.
Any guess what this is?
People were guessing hunting blind or something to do with food storage but believe it or not… it’s a jungle gym for children.
There were multiple structures to explore…
And I seriously hoped the husband wasn’t getting any construction ideas.
No, we don’t need one of these at home.
Though the dolls with their own dug out canoe were sweet.
It’s strange, you can read all the books you want…. but walking through the village and experiencing how the original Americans lived first hand? Gives you an entirely new understanding.
This was the winter long house….
Where multiple families spent the colder months.
Traditionally 3 fires would be burning at all times, and yes. It was a wee bit smokey.
The woman in the middle was our guide for this section…
And though in Native dress…
You can tell she didn’t subscribe to the bare chested boys diet regimen. Wool socks and furs for her, even inside.
I can’t imagine 20-30 people living and sleeping in there together for months on end… no less your entire family.
I’d be suicidal in a week.
We sat on these beds/benches and let me tell you….
I don’t care how many animals skins you throw on them…. they were hard as a rock.
Privacy? What’s that. You’d literally be head to toe with Uncle Joe and cousin Sue all winter.
To which I have 3 words….
Where there's only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.