|Mayflower II, Plymouth, Massachusetts|
|This replica of the Pilgrim ship Mayflower helps you understand how much the Pilgrims must have suffered on their voyage to the New World.|
The fact that the Pilgrims suffered to get to America will be brought home more forcefully when you tour the Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship built in England in 1955 and sailed across the Atlantic to Plymouth in 1957.
Visiting Mayflower II
Extensive restoration work in preparation for the 400th anniversary celebrations in 2020 continues during the winter months, but in the warm months (mid-May through October) the Mayflower II is at her berth near Plymouth Rock and open to visits.
Mayflower II, an exhibit of Plimoth Plantation, is only a few steps north of Plymouth Rock (which is three miles north of Plimoth Plantation itself; map). The ship's audiovisual show at the theater and indoor exhibits on Puritanism and early Pilgrim life are open. If you plan to visit both Plimoth Plantation and Mayflower II, be sure to buy the discounted combination ticket.
A museum shop and picnic area are at the Mayflower IIsite as well, and there are restaurants and snack shops right across the street.
A Bit of History
How, you are sure to ask yourself, was it possible for 102 people—even small ones, even devout Puritans—to fit themselves and all their baggage for a two-month sea voyage and the setting up a new town into the tiny rooms and onto the tiny decks of this little ship?
(Part of the reason is that the Mayflower's companion ship, the mis-named Speedwell, proved unseaworthy, and all of its passengers had to be squeezed onto the Mayflower as well.)
And how could they stay on this little ship for two months?
The only answer that comes to mind is "by courage and dedication," and it's for that the Pilgrims are admired and remembered.
Interestingly, the town of Harwich, England, northeast of London, claims to be the real launch site of the original Mayflower, challenging Plymouth (England)'s claim.
With the Harwich Mayflower Project, Harwich is using 400 tons of English oak to build a $3.3-million replica of the Mayflower to sail to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in time for the 2020 celebration of the 400th anniversary (1620-2020) of the Mayflower's sailing.
(As Harwich has it, the Mayflower originally sailed from Harwich, but sought port in Plymouth when the Mayflower's sister ship, the Speedwell, sprang a leak. So the Pilgrims' original port of embarkation was Harwich.)
—by Tom Brosnahan