In the November issue of Living, there’s a piece about Plimoth Plantation, fitting in, of course, with the Thanksgiving theme of the issue. I don’t know if Martha herself has ever been there, but can’t you just picture her mulling around, picking up tips on how to thatch a roof or suggesting to an enacter that she add some thyme to her stew? (As a side note, didn’t you love the show about Mexico yesterday? I really enjoyed it, although I couldn’t help thinking it was a nice way for Martha to write off her vacation!)
We vacationed on Cape Cod the summer of ’07 and made a stop at Plimoth Plantation (Plymouth is where the Cape connects to the mainland). Whoo-hoo – something in this issue I have actual experience with other than cooking a turkey!
So here’s my personal scoop on PP. Honestly, Williamsburg is much, much better. Obv (as my teenager would say), it’s not the same time period, but if you want living history, Williamsburg is just so much better.It feels more real and it’s much, much bigger. The enacters are much more into it and are doing really complicated trade work.
PP has a huge visitor’s center with films and dining halls. Check out this photo of the cow carrying the Mayflower. what’s the deal with that? This is what greets you. I didn’t get it at all. The actual village did not thrill us to death. The Wampanoag area was pretty sparse – not much there to see and not too many “residents” to talk with. Another thing to keep in mind – there is a very, very long walk in to the visitor’s center, then the Wampanoag village, and then the settler’s village. And it is seriously hot there in the summer. Bring water and wear sneakers.
The actual village itself is built on a hill. The houses are small (again – obv)
which makes it hard to squeeze in with other visitors. We didn’t find the “residents” to be nearly as in character as those at Williamsburg and there weren’t as many crafts and trades to observe in action.
You do get to see real thatched roofs and what kinds of gardens were grown. There is some livestock around as well.
I think it’s worth a stop to understand what the settler’s village actually felt like and how they really lived. Dirt floors and open fireplaces are not a lot of fun. And it’s damn cold in the winter.
We’ve made a point in our travels to take our kids to places that will give
them a real perspective on history. The Jefferson Memorial might be grand, but walking through Thomas Jefferson’s house and the room where he wrote and where he died has a lot more meaning. Even though PP is only a reenactment (and not even on the actual location), it was still an important way to understand the beginning of this country.
Let me say this though – the gift shop was pretty darn good (Mr. MarthaandMe just about had a heart attack over all I bought – always a sign of good shopping). Overall – a good thing? Yup – two thumbs up!
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