East Coast US, New England, Travels

A City of Firsts – Plymouth, Massachusetts

Fall semester of 2013 was a busy one, so aside from my Providence getaway I didn’t do much traveling. Once the holiday break arrived, I still had to stick around for a few days to take care of some things before heading home to Montana. However, not having classes or homework meant I had more free time than usual.

It was a few days before Christmas and things were pretty quiet, leaving me with an urge to explore. So I assembled a haphazard group of those who were still on campus (one roommate, one classmate, and his friend) and the four of us planned a last minute day trip to Plymouth, MA.

Plymouth is well-known as the landing site of the Mayflower (though they actually landed on Cape Cod first but opted not to settle there) and therefore the location of the first settlement established by the Pilgrims upon their arrival in the New World. It’s the oldest town in New England and one of the oldest in North America. It’s therefore the site of many “firsts,” including the first Thanksgiving, the first street, the first church, and the first Pilgrim burial ground, among others.

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Burial Hill (the first cemetery) – Plymouth, MA
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Burial Hill (the first cemetery) – Plymouth, MA
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Site of the first fort – Plymouth, MA

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The first street in America (and that’s the first church at the end of it) – Plymouth, MA

It’s also the site of the famous Plymouth Rock. For those of you who have longed to see Plymouth Rock, I’m going to go ahead and spoil it for you:

It’s not exciting.

I was expecting to see waves crashing against a giant boulder right on the coast of Cape Cod Bay.

What I wasn’t expecting (but what I actually saw) was a fairly small rock enclosed in a pavilion with the date 1620 etched into it.

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Plymouth Rock – Plymouth, MA

Underwhelming, you say? Yes, yes it was. I was pretty disappointed. There’s not even any proof that the Pilgrims ever stepped on Plymouth Rock.

The rest of Plymouth, however, was very enjoyable. Snow doesn’t tend to arrive in southern New England until January, so though it was a bit chilly, we had a great time walking around and exploring the town. Some of the attractions were closed (such as the Mayflower replica, thought we could see it through the fence), but the result was that there were very few tourists. The town was fairly empty so we had most of the attractions to ourselves.

I have to admit, after seeing how small the Mayflower is, I’m amazed that it made it across the Atlantic!

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Replica of the Mayflower – Plymouth, MA
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Waterfront – Plymouth, MA
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Cape Cod Bay – Plymouth, MA

We wandered the streets, seeking out all the historical sites and walking out along the waterfront. We ate lunch at a quaint little restaurant overlooking the water, and very much enjoyed our little getaway.

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View from the restaurant – Plymouth, MA

One thing I’ve enjoyed about my time spent in New England is all of the history. Montana has Native American history, but we don’t have the giant, beautiful 300-year old churches and old houses, and all of the history of colonization and the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

I always learn so much from visits to historical places, and Plymouth is a charming little historical town that is definitely worth a visit!

5 thoughts on “A City of Firsts – Plymouth, Massachusetts”

  1. Interesting how revered Plymouth Rock is – even I, a British person, have heard of it. What a disappointment for it to be so small! Who knows if the carving was even contemporary to the pilgrims!?

    Liked by 1 person

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