Plimoth Plantation, one of the most popular attractions in Massachusetts, offers a comprehensive look at the history of Plymouth Massachusetts, focusing on the arrival of the pilgrims, settling of the colony, and interaction and influence of the Native American people. This unique look at a part of the country's history is examined through the exhibits, tours, oral presentations, Native American interpreters, costumed staff, and artifacts that are on display at the re-created historical settings at the plantation in Plymouth, all of which offer the chance to learn about the history of Massachusetts.
Visitors to the Plimoth Plantation begin their journey at the Henry Hornblower Visitor's Center. There they can pick up a site map and other information about the plantation, along with watching a fourteen-minute film in one of the two theaters. Also located at the center are several retail shops featuring native items, a children's shop, crafts, and other souvenirs.
The artifacts that can be seen around the grounds include both original ones that remain intact and others excavated from archaeological sites around Plimoth Plantation, meaning some may be incomplete. The collection includes pieces originating from as far as the Netherlands and Great Britain that are used as a base by researchers to re-create daily life in the area during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Massachusetts has a number of excellent museums, and this is one of the best for living history; it's a great destination for families traveling with children.
There are self-guided Plimoth Plantation tours that go through the 1627 English Village, as well as others hosted by costumed role-players who take you through a day in the life of a Pilgrim. At the Wampanoag Homesite, the history of Plymouth Massachusetts intertwines with that of the Native American culture, and native staffers speak to visitors about the history and lifestyle of the Wampanoag.
Visitors can continue to learn about the history of Plymouth Massachusetts at the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the original ship of that made the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620. Visitors touring the ship will see examples of maps, prints, artifacts, navigational instruments, and charts, along with information about the construction of the Mayflower II, which was built in 1957.
At the Crafts Center, you can watch as artisans create reproductions of the types of clothing, pottery, embroidered items, leather goods, tools and weapons, cooking vessels, and furnishings that would have been used in the English Village in the early seventeenth century. All the items are handmade using the techniques, tools, and materials used in the past, which gives an especially accurate picture of the settlers’ lives.
The Nye Barn features rare and endangered livestock breeds with information about each and their importance in conservation. Visitors will learn about the origin, history, and traits of each animal, as well as their adaptability to life in the seventeenth-century settlement. Animals include cattle, goats, fowl, and pigs, and they can be seen up-close in their stalls or grazing in the adjoining pasture.
The Plantation in Plymouth offers dining options at the Patuxet Café, which combines cuisine from two cultures and features dishes prepared according to Wampanoag and English traditions. Guests can dine inside, outside in the courtyard, or by the river on a picnic.
The different parts of the Plimoth Plantation have varying hours. The main plantation is open daily from March through the end of November. The visitor center, craft center, Nye Barn, Wampanoag Homesite, and English Village are open from 9 am to 5:30 pm, and the Mayflower II exhibit is located at the dock and is open from 9 am to 5 pm. To have enough time to explore the museum and the Mayflower II, visitors to the plantation in Plymouth should plan on at least three hours to tour the museum and an hour to tour the ship. Plymouth is south of Boston and along the coast, making it a great place to stop if you're on the way to Martha's Vineyard or other beach destinations.