"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
January 13th, 2012
Are you tired of having all the “fun” historical sites end up to be less than what you’d expected? Looking for something educational that is actually entertaining for all members of your family, no matter what the age? A trip to Massachusetts just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Plymouth Plantation.
The Plymouth Plantation is a museum, but it’s a very different kind of museum. In my opinion, it is the best historical site on the East Coast. Instead of endeavoring to portray 17th century times through artifacts and pictures, this museum contains two outdoor villages, perfect for you to explore while learning some history, the fun way! These villages depict the lives of the colonists and the Wampanoag in the year 1627, just 7 years after the Pilgrims first landed in the New World.
The English village is beautiful and peaceful. Here you will find small, timber framed houses, surrounded by kitchen gardens and fields full of flowers. Cows, sheep, and goats graze within their paddocks while chickens cluck contentedly in the streets. Who lives here? Why the pilgrims of course! Volunteers from around New England play the roles of the Pilgrims. They speak and dress exactly as they would if transported back to the 17th century. Feel free to ask questions of them, as they are well-educated on the lives and viewpoints of those they are representing.
One of my favorite things about this museum is that all activities are hands-on. On any given day you could find yourself helping a Pilgrim wife weed her garden, driving the cows out into the field, helping to plow a field with the men, learning how to milk a cow, or playing traditional games with some of the children. An escort is not required, so you can explore and enjoy everything at your own pace. There are a few museum guides throughout the village, dressed as modern employes. They will answer any of your questions in modern terms, as talking with someone from the past can become just a little confusing!
The other village is the Wampanoag homesite, just a short walk through a beautiful forest from the first village. Unlike in the English village, all of the participants in this village are actually Native People, of various tribes. Some are even descended from the Wampanoag that lived in the region in the 1700‘s. These people dress in deerskin clothes in the style of the time and on any given day you can find them tending their crops, hunting and fishing, gathering edible plants from the woods, or cooking their food over a fire. Don’t miss the making of a mishoon (log boat) to paddle in the nearby Eel River!
Both the Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower 2 are wonderful choices if you are looking for a fun, family-friendly way to spend your day. Both educational and entertaining, it’s a great experience for both young and old. These exhibits are near the top on my list of neatest ways to learn about the history not only of the East Coast, but of all of America.