Monday, October 27, 2014

Burial Hill Cemetery, Mayflower II and the Plymouth waterfront

After leaving Plimouth Plantation Susie and drove north to Plymouth proper. We parked at Burial Hill Cemetery in Plymouth and walked to the top of the Hill to listen to a 1pm presentation on ground-penetrating radar sponsored by the Friends of Burial Hill. It was a gorgeous day to be standing on an incredible overlook to Plymouth Bay.

And, as always this cemetery presents wonderful opportunities for photography.

Ansel and Martha Holmes, both age 90 when they died
Charlott Barnes (nope, no "e" in Charlott), died Feb. 22, 1833
probable site of the first fort c. 1620-21
Madam Jane Robbins, died Sept. 12, 1800,
wife of Rev. Chandler
Rev. Chandler Robbins, died June 30, 1799
the Judson family
The presentation by Craig Chartier of Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project was fascinating and illuminating but sadly we had to leave early so we could grab a bite of lunch before the day got away from us.

So, from Burial Hill Cemetery we walked downhill to Main Street in search of a place for lunch. While there were a number of places with cute names like Sam Diego (Mexican) or Tuscany Tavern (really?) we settled on the very unassuming Cornerstone Cafe.

Located at the corner of North and Main streets, the Cornerstone is small on space but large on friendly service and tasty food.

After leaving the cornerstone we strolled down North Street to the waterfront. Five minutes later we soon found ourselves aboard the Mayflower II (it was part of the combination ticket with Plimouth Plantation).

We’re all familiar with the pilgrim landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 but to actually see and walk on board the (replica) of this tiny ship is truly an eye-opening experience. One hundred and two people along with numerous animals, stores, tools, and the various necessities of starting a new life in a new corner of the planet aboard this ship for 66 days must have been both wretched and exciting all wrapped into one complicated package.

This reproduction vessel, built in England sailed to the United States in 1957. It took very little time to see but I'm glad we did. It will help put into proper perspective those times when the iPhone battery dies or the laptop won’t respond.

Oh, and there were also role players aboard -- mainly on the lower deck where the passengers lived, as well as contemporary guides to answer those questions "out of character."

the fore part of the ship

Above you can easily see the rudder mechanism going out the stern of the ship note the cannon on the lower right.
looking forward

From the Mayflower we strolled along the waterfront to the Rock itself and from there back up hill toward Main street.

Along the way we passed a small plaque on the sidewalk honoring the location of what was claimed to have been the first home of Mayflower passenger John Howland.

From Main Street we climbed back to Burial Hill, found our car and headed home.

Plimouth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Some time back Susie and I took a mini road trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts. I wanted to see the "Rock" and spend a little time in Burial Hill Cemetery but we didn't see any of the other tourist things such as the Mayflower II or "Plimouth Plantation" -- a working replica of the original 1627 village of Plymouth. Since I wanted to attend a ground-penetrating presentation at Burial Hill Cemetery on Saturday last, we decided to make a day of it.

Late fall is a nice time to visit a place like Plimouth Plantation -- groups are minimal and you don't have to spend your time cheek-by-jowl jostling with others to see or hear what's going on.

Anyway, we left Providence about 9:30 and after a quick 50-minute drive we parked right near the entrance; late autumn is definitely the time to come here.

Our first stop was the visitor center and then it was off to the Wampanoag Village. From the village we took the less-traveled the nature trail along the Eel River to the south entrance to the village.

burning out a log to create a boat

water-logged boats -- we wondered what the story was here

one of the role-players inside the largest long building

no clue as to what this was for
some sort of rack for drying animal skins

along the Eel River
Eel River
south entrance

this end of the village was in pretty sad shape 
lots of vegetables and plants still out in several gardens scattered around the village

the role players certainly came across as genuine
the interiors were impressive with plenty of detail
typical entry

unsure as to what these ovens (?) were used for

there were a few others visiting as well but we often had the houses to ourselves

view of Plymouth Bay from the meeting house watch tower 

view of the palisade from the crafts center
There were few "role-players" in the 1627 village houses and only one outside, yet as the photos above make clear, there were lots of plants still in the gardens. While the role players we did come across seemed eager to engage in discussion about their lives and lifestyle, there was also nothing going on in any of the outdoor hearths or animal pens.

The Wampanoag village was a bit different — much smaller than the village replica of course, and there appeared to be about a half dozen or so villagers performing a variety of tasks, all of which was quite fascinating.

We see no contemporary guides in the pilgrim village to help answer questions outside the scope of interpretative history. Remember, the role players are committed to staying in character so if you want information more relevant to today, say, information on where the village was originally located you're out of luck.

I thought the lack of interpretative signage on the buildings a bit frustrating: something that would have shown the names of inhabitants or use, that sort of thing. It would have been nice to get a more concrete sense of who and what was going on in the many buildings within the palisade.

One question I didn’t ask because I thought of it too late was where were all the privies. . .

On our way back through the visitor center to the car we came across one of the highpoints of the Plantation: the Mooflower:

Next up, lunch in Plymouth and the Mayflower II!