The pilgrims first set foot in Plymouth Harbor in Massachusetts in 1620. One year later, the pilgrims and Wampanoags Indians celebrated the harvest with a feast in November, the first Thanksgiving Day. Four hundred years later, spending Thanksgiving in Plymouth is a fantastic way to observe this holiday devoted to giving thanks.
The town of Plymouth is only 40 miles south of Boston, so it makes a great day trip from the city.
Many businesses were closed on Thanksgiving, even in Plymouth. However, we found a few gift shops and a place to eat lunch.
We started our day trip in Plymouth, where it all began, Plymouth Rock.
Plymouth Rock is located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park. The park also includes other points of interest, such as the Mayflower II, Pilgrim Mother Fountain, Massasoit Statue, the William Bradford Statue, and the Pilgrim Sarcophagus.
Plymouth Rock is housed under a portico and surrounded by a fence.
During our visit, park interpreters were on-site to talk about the history of the rock, including the crack and subsequent repair.
Plimoth Patuxet Museums
After viewing Plymouth Rock, we toured the Mayflower II. This replica of the original Mayflower is one of the sites operated by Plimoth Pauxsite Museums.
I highly recommend a tour of Mayflower II. It gives visitors a better idea of the hardships and cramped conditions crew and passengers experienced on their journey to America. Interpreters were onsight to answer questions and provide additional information.
We enjoyed lunch at Tavern on the Wharf, down the street from the Mayflower II. They serve Thanksgiving fare for the holiday. However, we planned to eat our traditional meal at dinner. So I opted for my favorite northeast seafood, lobster.
The highlight of our visit to Plymouth was the Plimoth Patuxet Museums. You might wonder, as I did, about the spelling. The museum uses the historical spelling of the Plimoth.
The Plimoth Patuxet Museums includes multiple sites to give visitors an idea of the life of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. Exhibits include the 17th Century English Village, Grist Mill, the Mayflower II, and the Patuxet Homesite.
In addition to the Mayflower II, we toured the Grist Mill, English Village, and Patuxet Homesite. Each exhibit featured interpreters or actors to explain daily life in the Plymouth Colony.
Thanksgiving in Plymouth: Dinner
Plimoth Patuxet Museums offers special dining programs on Thanksgiving Day to commemorate the first Thanksgiving. We were fortunate enough to reserve tickets for the 6 pm seating for the Thanksgiving buffet. While some walkup tickets may be available, most are sold months before Thanksgiving Day.
Seating was pre-assigned at this Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth, so we were at a table with two other families. We enjoyed dining with the other families and exchanging stories of Thanksgiving traditions.
The buffet included traditional holiday favorites. Options included carrots, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, salad, cornbread, beef, turkey and dressing, and of course, pie.
Our traditional Thanksgiving meal was an incredible way to end our Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth. I now have a different perspective on this holiday which I’ll carry with me for many Thanksgivings to come.
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