July 20, 2011 Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts
I thought these pictures would be appropriate for Thanksgiving week!
We started at the museum. There was an introductory movie. There's always an introductory movie. I'm not complaining... it was air-conditioned! I'm just saying that it's a pattern... start with a movie, move to the museum, and then check out the outdoor part of the site. (Have I mentioned that I love being a tourist?)
Then we moved outside to the Wampanoag Homestead. It had many of the same things that Jamestown had- dwellings, cooking fires, Native American Handcrafts. There were people there in Wampanoag garb, and, like Jamestown, we were encouraged to visit with them and ask questions. Unlike Jamestown, these folks were not really that interested in answering our questions. I tried to talk with the lady who was roasting the rabbits over the fire. She gave terse, one-word answers, as if somehow talking to me would go against her tribal code or even wreck the whole rabbit meal. I was friendly, polite, and I followed all the "rules" about what vocabulary to use, but still I was rebuffed. Others who were visiting felt the same way. We didn't spend much time there, and quickly made our way up the trail to the re-created Plimoth Village.
The village was fantastic! All the costumed interpreters had British accents, and they were more than willing to explain their 17th century lives to us. They stayed completely in character and we learned so much from them. This was my first trip to Plymouth, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I sure enjoyed this part of it and would recommend it to anyone who likes US History.
Despite the heat, they were boiling water to demonstrate how clothes were washed in 1620. The whites were layered in a tub along with wood ash, and then boiling water was poured over the whole thing. To dry the clothes, they wrung them out and then spread them on the lawn. Woolens were treated a bit differently- they weren't washed so much as they were brushed and beaten like rugs. The interpreters did a great job of impressing on the girls how different life was without all the modern conveniences.
Finally, we saw the Alden House. John Alden and Priscilla Mullins met aboard the Mayflower and were married in Plymouth. They had 10 children. This house was occupied by their son Jonathan and his family, as well as other family members through the years. The two ladies standing outside the house are sisters- descendants of the Aldens. It was pretty cool to meet them. Apparently, there are quite a few famous people in the US who claim Alden ancestry- among them are Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, publisher Frank Nelson Doubleday, actors Marilyn Monroe, Jodie Foster and Orson Welles, dancer Martha Graham, Vice President Dan Quayle, and Senator Adlai Stevenson, to name a few.
(There were no photos allowed inside the house.)
As a final thought:
"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of Thanksgiving."
- H.U. Westermayer
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!