This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.
What do you think of when you think of Plymouth Rock? Like everyone else, as a child, I’d heard stories about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, and I’d imagined this huge rock marking the historic event of when the Pilgrims landed. Over the years, I’d heard that the rock wasn’t all that large. And I’d heard that the site of the rock wasn’t all that amazing. Did that detour us from checking it out? Nope!
In July of 2023, we embarked on a huge road trip that started in Missouri, went up to Niagara Falls, then crossed over to Maine. From there, we made our way down the coast to Washington, D.C. This amazing trip took us past many historic sites that shaped the creation of our country. How could we resist Plymouth Rock? The answer is, we couldn’t. When I discovered that you could also visit Plimoth Patuxet, a living museum highlighting the people who lived in the area, I knew we had to make a day of it.
Incidentally, our arrival in Plymouth coincided with my birthday. After a delicious birthday steak at Texas Roadhouse, we settled into our home for the evening at Best Western before beginning our adventures the next morning.
Arriving at Plymouth Rock
Our first order of business was to check out the rock itself. Plymouth Rock is located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park, right on Plymouth Harbor. We were able to park nearby for free. The walk to Plymouth Rock was lovely. This land-locked Missouri girl loves to see all the boats in the harbor.
Plymouth Rock is a short distance away in this building. It was a nice little morning walk from our parking spot.
And here is the rock. It’s true. It’s not that big, but it’s still cool to say that you’ve been here and you’ve seen it. If nothing else, I found myself reflecting on the journey of the people who came here and how the lives of the people already here changed.
You can also visit the Mayflower II in this area, but we skipped it. Maybe next time.
Our next order of business was to check out Plimoth Patuxet.
This amazing living history museum shows what daily life was like for the Pilgrims and the Patuxet people. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the daily lives of the English settlers and the native people in Plymouth Bay.
Your adventure begins in the visitor center. Here, you’ll buy tickets, shop in the gift shop, and find food options.
The History of the Area
Plimoth Patuxet depicts life in the early 17th century. It is a significant chapter in American history as it marks the establishment of one of the first successful English colonies in North America.
In 1620, a group of English separatists set sail from Plymouth, England, aboard the Mayflower. Seeking religious freedom and a better life, they aimed to establish a settlement in the New World. After a treacherous journey, they landed in what is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts, in December of the same year.
The Pilgrims initially encountered harsh conditions, including a harsh winter and a lack of shelter. They were ill-prepared for the challenges of the new environment, and many fell victim to disease and starvation. However, with the help of Squanto, a Native American from the Patuxet tribe, they learned essential survival skills, such as fishing, farming, and hunting.
In 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated their first successful harvest with the first Thanksgiving. This event marked the beginning of peaceful relations between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in the region. Over time, more English settlers arrived, and the Plymouth Colony began to grow.
In 1691, Plymouth Colony merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, forming the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The area continued to develop, attracting more settlers and expanding its economy through industries like fishing, shipbuilding, and trade.
Today, Plimoth Patuxet is a living history museum that seeks to recreate the pilgrims’ settlement and the Native American village. It offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience life as it was in the 17th century. The museum showcases reconstructed buildings, reenactments, and educational programs.
17th -Century English Village
We started our journey on a pathway through the forest.
We started our exploration of Plimoth Patuxet at this fort. It’s a great place to get an overview of the village.
It was fascinating to learn about the defense of the village. I was impressed that they got the cannons upstairs.
Next, it was time to check out the village.
As you walk into the village, you’ll quickly find yourself becoming a part of history.
As you explore the village, you’ll encounter different homes of different status. Most homes had dirt floors. I love all the fireplaces in the houses.
Eventually, people may add a wooden floor.
Check out this broom.
I can’t imagine having a baby in this situation.
It’s cool to see the livestock and gardens that the Pilgrims needed to survive in the colony.
Historic Patuxet Homesite
The next area we explored was the Patuxet Homesite. It was fascinating to learn the culture and lifestyle of the native people in the Bay.
We arrived as food was being prepared.
We also had an up-close look at the Patuxet canoes.
Here are some in the water.
Kristin always likes to check out the animal hides.
The most interesting part of the homesite was the house. We learned that during the winter, multiple families lived in the home together and it was a warm, cozy place. You can just see it in this picture through the trees.
Heading Back to the Visitor Center
After a fun-filled morning, it was time to make our way back. After all, we had more adventures ahead.
Of course, there’s a giant turkey.
We walked past the dining area, but we didn’t eat.
It looks like a nice place, though.
And, of course, we exited through the gift shop. I wanted everything, but I settled on a book of ghost stories about Boston.
We’d just come from there, and we’d taken a ghost tour. Below is a TikTok of our Ghosts and Gravestones Ghost Tour adventure in Boston. It was one of my favorite ghost tours!
#TransformersVoices #ghostsandgravestones #ghostsandgravestonestour #ghostsandgravestonesboston #ghosttour #boston #whattodoinboston #bostontravel #visitboston #massachusetts #visitmassachusetts #familyfun #tripideas #vacationideas #traveltiktok #traveltok #travel
Soon, we were back on the road, heading to our next destination. There’s nothing like a long road trip in which the adventures don’t stop. If you’re wondering if you should take a trip along the East Coast, my answer would be–absolutely! You’ll never see everything the area has to offer, but you’ll have a blast trying!
Check out some of our other adventures!