So far, I have presented a chronological narrative of our east coast adventure primarily because previous posts were created while we were on the road, and time simply did not permit me to cover many of the places we visited as we Eased Along. Now that I am back in the “Man Cave” with some easy listening music in the background, I want to share a few more of the treasures we found while exploring this beautiful part of our country.
After Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod, our next destination was the Fourth Cliff Recreation area in Marshfield, MA. The travel time was about two hours, so we did a stopover in Plymouth, MA to see the sights and grab lunch.
Once again, we were blessed with spectacular weather and the boats moored in Plymouth harbor made for a wonderful welcome as we pulled into town. There were groups of tourists around, but nothing overwhelming and we were able to find parking along the street very quickly. After a quick stop into a gift shop for postcards for the grandchildren we walked across the street to a park where a full-size replica of the Mayflower was tied alongside a dock and open for visitors. Although this replica was a “best guess” version of the ship based on the construction that was popular in the 16th century, it looked real enough for me. Standing on the dock, I could not believe that 100 passengers and 30 crew members could live on something so small for over two months while sailing westward in winter winds and strong seas. Their arrival had to be nothing short of a miracle! I took some photographs, but we decided not to tour the ship and spend more time in the town itself.
We left the Mayflower II and walked to the other end of the park where Plymouth Rock rested under a large portico and behind a wrought iron fence…you couldn’t miss it.
The State of Massachusetts and the town of Plymouth have done a commendable job of placing signage throughout the park, detailing the events surrounding the voyage and landing of the Pilgrims, as well as the history of Plymouth Rock. From the information available, we learned that Plymouth Rock was not referred to in any of the writings of the original Pilgrims, but was first mentioned some 120 years after their landfall when an elderly man in the community was concerned it would be buried during construction of a new wharf. This gentleman, who knew some of the Pilgrims said the rock should be preserved as a landmark of the landing, and it was.
The original stone, dubbed Plymouth Rock, was actually three times larger than what we see today. Over time, large portions were cut from Plymouth Rock and moved elsewhere for display. During the late 1800’s a hammer and chisel was placed near the stone so that visitors could remove a chunk for a souvenir — imagine that! In 1880, the top portion of Plymouth Rock was reunited with the base, and in 1921 a large portico was built to cover the rock to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing.
On a hill above the park stood the Unitarian Universalist Church which was established on this site in 1620 and was the first church established in Plymouth. This magnificent stone structure was built in 1898. The records of the church have been maintained continuously since its founding in 1620.
Adjacent to the church is a cemetery where many of the Pilgrims, including William Bradford are buried. The cemetery is known as Burial Hill. Unfortunately, many of the original headstones were made of wood and have long since disappeared. The oldest marker dates to 1681.
The walk down from Burial Hill lead us to Main Street and a plethora of shops and taverns. There were two shops we couldn’t resist–both were antique flea markets, Main Street Antiques, and Main Street Marketplace. With both hands holding tightly to our wallets, we slipped into Main Street Antiques.
This place was huge and had many booths filled with “stuff”. All booths were laid out very well and all items were priced. What made this a fun experience for us is that many items pertained to the history of Plymouth and to this part of Massachusetts. We spent a considerable amount of time reading old newspaper articles, looking at works of art and home furnishings, as well as items from the fishing and whaling industry that was prevalent in the past.
We almost made it out the door without spending any money until I spotted an old Mickey Mouse watch in the display cabinet at the cash register…had to have it. I tried my best to talk her below the $35.00 asking price, but got nowhere, so I dug deep and gave her the cash. I was so proud of my new souvenir, I put it on immediately, and said that we had better go find lunch before we spot something else to buy.
When we were driving to Plymouth we stopped at a Visitor Center along U.S. 1 to inquire about what we should see and, as always, where we should eat. The gentleman at the help desk pointed out a few of the sights, including those mentioned above and then said his favorite place to eat was the Lobster Hut located near the pier. Mickey said it was time to eat. Now!
The Lobster Hut is a large and very busy place. It had a walk up window for ordering which was just inside the front door. The line was somewhat long, but usually that means that the food is good so we waited our turn. I ordered whole belly fried clams with fries and cole slaw, while Helen ordered fried scallops with rice and slaw. Since it was a rather humid day, we chose to remain inside even though there were some great seats on the patio with a view of the harbor. The food was delicious. I’m not a big fan of scallops, but I had to try one of Helen’s. Awesome. Lightly fried and very tender, I stole another one. The clams were also lightly fried in a very flavorful batter and tasted as if they had just come out of the water. I ate all of them, and the portion was generous. The cole slaw was very good. It had a dressing that was sort of on the light vinegar side, not too heavy with mayonnaise, and chopped very fine.
I have sampled a lot of fried clams on this trip, and while those at Bob’s Clam Hut were rated as excellent, these from the Lobster Hut were the best of the trip.