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Are you thinking about a road trip for this Summer? The East Coast of the United States is the perfect place! Close from Europe, saves flight hours (and money), it is an area full of history. Among the major cities of the country, beaches and natural parks, you can discover here the roots of the United States.
Last Summer our on-the-road trip started in Boston, from there we headed South.
45 minutes from Boston by car there is Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plymouth has played a very important role in American colonial history. It was the final landing site of the first voyage of the Mayflower, and the location of the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony.
Plymouth is a seaside town of about 60,000 inhabitants. Anchored in the port you can see a faithful reproduction of the Mayflower which landed here on 11th November 1620. It is traditionally said that the Pilgrims first set foot in America at the site of Plymouth Rock that today is proudly displayed under a Doric portico.
The settlers named their settlement “Plimouth” after Plymouth in England from where the Mayflower raised anchor. It’s amazing to think about how this small vessel has crossed the ocean in 66 days, with 102 passengers on board. Today you can visit it and attend historical reconstructions of life on board.
It’s exciting watch the sea from here and try to imagine how it was in 1620 when this lonely ship arrived, changing the history of this Country forever. Before the Pilgrims this was the Wampanoag native homesite, 90% of them was sadly killed by the diseases that the Europeans explorers brought.
Native American taught the colonists how to grow corn, where and how to catch fish, and other helpful skills for the New World, helping them in the survival of the settlement for the first year. Upon growing a plentiful harvest in the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims gathered with Native American people in a celebration of thanksgiving to God for their plentiful harvest. This celebration is known today as the First Thanksgiving.
If you go to Plymouth do not miss a meal at Lobster Hut! Massachusetts is famous for lobsters (and cranberries) and this is the perfect place to try them without spending too much. Place your order at the counter and then have a wonderful dinner with sea view! Their motto is “Seafood at its Best”, for us it was a memorable dinner.
On the second day we had a very special experience: the Plimoth Plantation, an outdoor and indoor museum that offers powerful personal encounters with history built on thorough research about the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s.
You’ll try the time machine experience: walking through a beautiful park you will be transported in the XVII century and you’ll surprise yourself in a hut covered with bark chatting with Hobbamock, a Native American Wampanoag of 1620, or you could learn recipes by young native girls. Did you know that in the Native American diet there was very little meat, no potatoes and no alcohol?
You can also visit the English village of Plimoth. You’ll be transported in 1627, seven years after the arrival of the Mayflower, Pilgrims has created a young farming community. You can enter in the houses and meet the colonizers, costumed role players performing daily activities and habits and speaking ancient English of the time.
Visiting the Plantation is an opportunity to chat with characters and ask them lots of questions about the 17th century life. If you have children you can’t miss this place, it’s a kind of magical experience, you’ll feel like you have travelled back in time. Avoid trick questions, the role players are really good and they will always stay “in character”!
Inside the Plantation, at the Craft Center, you will find artisans practicing historical crafts. You’ll see them making items such as earthenware pottery, textiles and candles. The Plimoth Plantation is an open air museum where you can discover and see with your own eyes what life was like for Native American and early American settlers.
After the Plimoth Plantation our trip continued towards Cape Cod. The East Coast and New England are full of surprises . This is just the beginning!