The Town of Plymouth Massachusetts
About 40 miles south of Boston sitting on the beautiful shores of Cape Cod Bay lays the lovely town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plymouth and the surrounding region are steeped in history, from the people of the Wampanoag tribal confederation to the arrival of the Pilgrims after their stint in Provincetown. Wherever you wander in Plymouth, almost every street corner has some historical significance.
Beyond the area’s rich history, Plymouth offers great beaches, boating and fishing activities, trails and walkways, cultural attractions, and great food!
History of Patuxet
On Cole’s Hill you’ll find a statue of Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag confederacy at the time of its first interactions with the Plymouth colony. Various Wampanoag tribes have lived in southeastern Massachusetts including the shores of Cape Cod Bay for over 12,000 years. A village, known as Patuxet, stood on the site of current day Plymouth.
The Wampanoag farmed corn, squash, and beans, and utilized the resources of the coast. They interacted with European explorers, traders, and settlers in the early 17th century. Between 1616 and 1619 the native community was devastated by a pandemic. This period, which came to be known as The Great Dying, wiped out the village of Patuxet. In 1620, when the Pilgrims decided to leave Provincetown, they established Plymouth Colony on the site.
To learn more about the Wampanoags and the village of Patuxet, visit Historic Patuxet. The site, located on the Eel River just outside of town, shows visitors examples of the wetu shelters the Wampanoag lived in, a small garden, and features demonstrations of the construction of a dugout canoe, or mishoon.
The Mayflower 400 celebration also featured “We Are Still Here” a film and exhibit on 400 years of Wampanoag history in the region, prepared and presented by members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.
History of Pilgrims at Plymouth
To get in touch with America’s colonial roots head down to state pier where you can visit a full-scale replica of replica of the Mayflower, aptly named the Mayflower II. The replica was built in 1955, and recently returned to Plymouth to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims’ arrival.
If you are looking to get an idea of what the Plymouth colony was like after the settlers landed head over to the Jabez Howland house. The two-story timber house is the only remaining house in all of Plymouth where Pilgrims actually lived. While the house was privately owned until 1914, it was bought in 1940 for the purposes of creating a museum and returned to its original appearance.
To get an even better idea of what life was in the 17th century spend some time at the Plimouth Grist Mill. The mill is a reconstruction of the original water-powered grist mill that dates all the way back to 1636. This technology was key to the pilgrims survival as cornmeal was a key ingredient in many of their foods.
For the colonial history enthusiasts there is also the Historic Plimouth/Patuxet Museums. The living history exhibits allow you to wander through a Wampanoag village and a colonial village. In the colonial village you can chat with reenactors dressed in period costume about their lives in 17th century Plymouth.
While strolling through town you can also stop to view the National Monument to the Forefathers, Plymouth Rock, Burial Hill, and the Pilgrim Hall Museum.
Enjoy Cape Cod Bay and the Water from Plymouth
Lots of companies offer boat charters and cruises based out of Plymouth. Enjoy a sunset cruise, a tour of lighthouses, or even a wine tasting cruise on the Bay.
If you’re looking for a fun day out on the water, Plymouth has some of best fishing on the East Coast. There are several different charters to choose fun with several different experiences available. From shark and biga tuna fishing to a more relaxing cod and haddock fishing there’s an experience for every level of angler.
If paddling is more your speed, consider renting a sea kayak or stand-up paddle board. Billington Sea Kayak offers lessons, rentals, and tours to help you enjoy the salty swells or a freshwater excursion.
Myles Standish State Forest: Get Outdoors in Plymouth
While there’s so much history to be discovered, Plymouth is much more than just “America’s Hometown.” Surrounded by forests and the bay there’s something for every outdoor lover’s taste. There are a plethora of nature preserves and walks not too far from downtown Plymouth.
If you’re more of a land lubber, Myles Standish State Forest is just a few miles away from the main part of town. With tons of hiking trails full of bogs, ponds, and wildlife to explore you’re sure to have an excellent adventure no matter which hiking trail you go on.
Manomet Hill gives visitors spectacular views of the water, foliage, and on a clear day you might even be able to spot Boston!
There are countless other great hikes and walks near Plymouth to explore!
Arts and Culture in PlymouthThe Plymouth Bay Cultural District, located between the historic downtown waterfront and Main Street is a great spot to explore! It features hundreds of attractions ranging from cultural destinations, historic homes, restaurants, shops, galleries, bars, seafood, and more! It’s a great spot to stroll around, waiting to see what will catch your eye.
In the Cultural District you’ll spot the Plymouth Center for the Arts, the Spire Center for Performing Arts, and a number of galleries and studios.
Beaches in Plymouth
If you’re looking to enjoy the shoreline, Plymouth has something for you too! There’s Plymouth Long Beach, a three-mile stretch of rocky sand jutting out into the bay. It’s a great spot for walking, and a favorite among shorebirds! Plymouth Beach, Morton Park, Fresh Pond, Hedges Pond, and White Horse Beach are also great options managed by the town of Plymouth. Be sure to check the latest rules, many beaches require resident beach stickers to park.
Regardless of whether you are a history buff or an extreme outdoor adventurer, Plymouth has something to offer for everyone.
Town Hall Address:
26 Court Street, Plymouth, MA 02360
Beach Sticker: $20/season for resident, $20/day for non-residents
Transfer Station: $180/year, $30/month