|Plimoth Patuxet Museums, Plymouth MA|
|Want to go back to the time shortly after the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock? You actually can. Plimoth Patuxet Museums (formerly Plimoth Plantation) is perhaps the most authentic historic recreation ever—truly fascinating!|
Most lifelike of all the representations of early colonial life is Plimoth Patuxet Museums (formerly Plimoth Plantation), a "living history museum of 17th-century Plymouth," Pilgrim and Native American villages as they may have looked in 1627.
Historical research was done to determine every aspect of the village: the small houses have thatched roofs and kitchen gardens and are surrounded by a fortification (palisade).
The people moving about in period dress, known as interpreters, make the daily activities of a different era comprehensible today.
The women may be seen grinding corn, baking bread in an outdoor clay oven, churning butter, or cooking on open hearths. The men tend the fields, hew logs to make planks, and take care of the animals.
Even the animals here have been bred to resemble those of the 1600s!
It's fun that the interpreters don't "break character." If you ask them about anything that happened after 1627, they will act as though they have no idea what you're talking about. Show them a camera and they'll just look bemused: "I don't know what that thing is."
Your visit begins at the hilltop wooden fortress, with a meetinghouse ("church") on the ground floor and cannons on the upper floor.
Wander down the "main street" into the village, peer over fences and into doorways, gardens and yards, and engage any of the "inhabitants" in conversation. They'll happily explain what they're doing, and answer any questions about life in the Plymouth of 1627, just as though you are a time traveler from a later age.
About halfway down the main street, a side street on the right leads to a gate (there's no sign—that wouldn't be authentic).
Beyond the gate is the Nature Walk path leading to Hobbamock's Homesite, a small settlement offering demonstrations of how the Wampanoag native people lived in 1627. Although the interpreters here are all of pre-Columbian ("Indian") heritage, they are not stictly in character. You can ask them 21st-century questions and they will answer in order to give you a full picture of indigenous life then and now.
Plimoth Patuxet Museums, a nonprofit educational institution, is open from late March through November, and requires about two to three hours to see. Besides the settlements and nature trail, there are audiovisual shows at the theater in the main building, indoor exhibits on early American life, and handiwork exhibits in the Crafts Center.
The admission fee includes free parking, access to the museum shop and bookstore, cafeteria, restaurant, and a picnic area.
To find Plimoth Patuxet Museums, which is three miles south of the town of Plymouth near the seacoast, follow MA Route 3 South to Exit 4, a left exit, then follow the signs.
If you're coming from the south (say, from Cape Cod), note that there is no Exit 4 from MA Route 3 North. You must take Exit 5, turn left under the highway, then go south on Route 3 to Exit 4.
The center of the town of Plymouth is reached via Exit 6 and US Route 44. From the center of Plymouth you can drive south three miles to Plimoth Plantation. I'd recommend that you visit Plimoth Plantation first, however, then drive north to the town to see Plymouth Rock and Mayflower II.