Blog Post

This bucket-list place teaches us all about our American origins

The following post is a guest blog by Wil Elrick. During this time when traveling is difficult, he is writing about places on our bucket list.

By Wil Elrick

I am convinced that Thanksgiving has “middle child syndrome”. Can you imagine having the younger brother of Halloween and the older sister of Christmas? I mean really, who wouldn’t have a complex? It is true, though. In today’s world we seem to go right from Halloween into Christmas.

I’m not a huge fan of Thanksgiving but I do believe the holiday deserves it’s day in the sun between the two largest U.S. holidays so I am going to devote my November weird bucket list guest blogs to something “Turkey Day” related.

For exploring all things Thanksgiving, let’s jump right in to the birthplace of the holiday Plymouth, Massachusetts. The town often referred to as “America’s Hometown” is celebrating its 400th anniversary since being founded in 1620 by those beleaguered souls that departed the Mayflower after a rather long trip. It is the oldest city in New England and one of the oldest communities in the country.

If Thanksgiving is not a favorite holiday for me, how can Plymouth be on my list? That’s easy – I love history, and what better place to learn some good ol’ American History.

Plimoth Plantation would be my first stop. Since 1947 the living history museum has tried to recreate or at least represent the original 17th century settlement created by those English settlers we now refer to as Pilgrims. In a touch that I absolutely adore, there are actors or historical interpreters trained to speak and act only in character of the time while there are also guides that can answer questions historical interpreters would be unable to.

Plimouth Plantation (Nancy | Wikimedia Commons)

The museum is typically open late March through November. If you have ever been to Massachusetts during December through February, you already know why. The museum follows the timeline of day-to-day activities of this timeline in 1624. You can view and ask questions about such mundane daily tasks as cooking, planting, blacksmithing, and the ever exciting, animal husbandry. You may even be lucky enough to stumble upon a special day in colonial times that would represent a funeral or other special occasion. There is a chance that by the time you are reading this, the museum has changed its name which it has announced “will happen” this month, but they’ve yet to release the new name at the time of this typing.

The Plimoth Plantation (or whatever it will be called) is not the only Thanksgiving game in town though. There is obviously the ever-popular Plymouth Rock, which has a kinda weird history before ending up in two pieces inside of a granite remake of itself in the same spot. The Pilgrim Hall Museum which is the oldest public museum in the country opening in 1824. In Plymouth Harbor, you can visit the Mayflower II which is a replica of the original Mayflower that brought the pilgrims from Plymouth, Devon (England) to Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Mayflower II made this exact same trip in April through June of 1957.

Besides these historic places, “America’s Hometown” features a ton more history and places to visit in addition to all sorts of events and festivals celebrating America’s first holiday which today falls in the middle of the two most commercially successful holidays we have. So, give the middle kid a chance and put Plymouth on your bucket list too.  

Plymouth Rock (jjron | Wikimedia Commons)
Mayflower replica, Plymouth, Mass.(OldTime | Wikimedia Commons)

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