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Day 56 (10.27.07) - Plimoth Plantation, Two Cultures

We get lost on Cape Cod first (and as usual, find really cool things), then experience Plimoth Plantation as the Wampanoag and Pilgrims lived in 1627.

overcast 60 °F

Summary: Old Country Store (1880), Politics in Action, and a recreation of the Pilgrim's colony as it was in 1627 - called Plimoth Plantation.

Logistics: Miles Driven: 65
Weather: Overcast, occasional rain
Camped at KOA Boston/Cape Cod, in Middleboro, MA

Details: We planned to visit Plimoth Plantation today, but took the wrong exit and ended up somewhere else. What luck! We ran into an Old Country Store, built in 1880 and run today using an interesting combination of old (1914 cash register) and new (coffee & pastries for breakfast). Pat has been running this store for 40 years and still rings up the sales on the old cash register. Two of her regular customers, Fred and Patty were asking us about our RV, as they are hoping to purchases something similar and start doing some traveling themselves. When Pat found out about our trip, she insisted on buying us breakfast! From left to right, these are Pat, Patty, Fred & Mom enjoying making some new friends:


Here is Pat and her cash register (again, I must apologize - I forgot to remove the sun hood before taking flash pictures - ugh, that's what causes the shadow):


We also found a Post Office (finally), and met a man out stumping for votes. This is Gregory Milne who is running for Charter Commissioner.


Mom couldn't see why I was taking a picture of a politician that I don't know anything about and from another part of the country than my voting district. However, after all that we've been learning about how our forefathers worked so hard to secure our right to govern ourselves, I think it's nice to see some democracy in action. After all the bad press we give our politicians, perhaps we should consider where we'd be if nobody was willing to run for office anymore?

Anyway, after finally unloading many pounds of mail to send back home (the RV is just too small to keep everything that we collect for the whole trip) - we got back on the highway towards the Plimoth Plantation. It turns out there are two Exit 4's, one on each side of the Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal. Everything to the east of the canal is Cape Cod and the highway changes from Hwy 3 to Hwy 6. We were on Hwy 6, but needed to cross over the bridge where it turns into Hwy 3 and take that Exit 4. (I'm sure glad we made that mistake though and got to meet all those interesting people).

We got to Plimoth Plantation and found out that in the 1600's there wasn't any 'correct' way to spell things. People often spelled things they way they sounded to them, which might be a little different than the way they were spelled by someone else. So we have spellings such as 'Strawbery Banke' and Plimoth or Plymouth. The museum uses a spelling from William Bradford, Plymouth Colony's second governor.

It was a little cool and rainy when we got to the museum, so we bundled up pretty good. The main entrance is the last modern building we'd see for the next several hours.


This is a living history museum of the Plymouth Colony as it looked in 1627 and a nearby Wampanoag home. There are quite a few role-players and other staff that really help you feel what it might have been like to live as the people did in 1627 and experience the two cultures from each others perspectives. To save a little time, I'll just post the thumbnails of the photo's I took. You can click to enlarge and get a little more information (I didn't make a thorough inventory however, as in who lived in each house, etc.)

Wampanoag Home:


The whole Plimoth Plantation is located along the Eel River (as Plymouth was located along the Plymouth River). As we walked from the Wampanoag home and the 1627 Plimoth Village, we saw a swan in the river. If you've been following our trip, you know we rarely pass up animal, bird, or pretty scenery pictures!


We then walked to the re-creation of Plymouth Village as it was in 1627. Actually, in 1627 there were 28 homes in Plymouth, but the plantation has only about half that number - but it's still quite impressive (and realistic). Many of the buildings had role-players in them who interpret history "in-character". They talk in the language of Shakespeare's time and reflect the political and cultural views of the time. While the village and furnishings are as authentic as possible, they are recreations so you can walk around, touch things and experience early pilgrim life in a more realistic setting (not locked behind glass cabinets).


Finally, after enjoying both the Wampanoag home and Colonist village, we went through the Craft Center. This is where modern day craftsmen & women demonstrate how various things were made back in the 1600's. Most of the products actually used by the Pilgrims were brought over from England, but the techniques are still appropriate to the period items whether manufactured in England, or later in the colonies.


We spent some more money in the gift shops (I keep reminding myself - this is a once in a lifetime trip, this is a once in a lifetime trip, this is...), then finally started towards Rhode Island shortly a little after 5 PM. A few miles down the road we passed a KOA Campground and it was actually open. It was late, raining, and I was very tired - so I decided to pull in. We'll tackle the next state on our circumnavigation tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a nice little treat for the adventurer in all of us (aka - if you get lost, look for the hidden gem's where you end up!):

Posted by jl98584 23:10 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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One of MY favorite tricks is taking flash pictures with the lens hood still on, and thus I have lots of vignetted photos.

Really, you are allowing all of us to enjoy this trip through you. The history comes alive. The American characters you meet give us the flavor of the places you visit. The occasional videos (especially this one) top it off like frosting on a cake.

Be careful around Providence. Of course, it's been a few decades since we lived in New England, but back then it became a family byword, as we never got off the freeway going through there but what we got lost downtown in some loop due to poor signage, which sent us round and round the same circular route near the capitol before we could figure out how to return to the highway.

by msj

Thanks for the head's up! I'll definitely fire up the GPS navigator before we hit town then. The unit I bought is for the laptop, might have been better to buy one that is always on the dashboard, less inconvenient.

by jl98584

What's with the iron pot over the fire in the Wampanoag hut? I suppose the Pilgrims traded such things with the Indians by 1627? Did the role players happen to mention how they got it? I would have thought an iron pot would be quite valuable in 1627.

by TexasRTJ

We didn't ask that question but had learned earlier at Fort Niagara that an iron cookpot was generally the first item Native American's would trade for. Many of the Native American groups that we've learned about are matriarchal, the best way to keep peace at home would be to bring home a cook pot! The Pilgrims and Wampanoag did negotiate and trade from very early after the Pilgrims landed.

by jl98584

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