Because British religious separatists landed there in 1620 and set up a colony in an area inhabited by indigenous tribes and already explored by Europeans, Plymouth, Massachusetts has a storied place in U.S. history and has evolved as a popular tourist attraction. The colony there lasted until 1691 when it merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony and others to form the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
Today’s Plymouth pays homage to its history with an ornate monument surrounding an otherwise ordinary rock where the settlers stepped onshore right in the center of the town harbor. It also boasts a replica of the Mayflower moored in the harbor, many museums, numerous historical markers and monuments about town and an impressive collection of colonial-era buildings.
Throw in pretty scenery, a nice restaurant scene and proximity to Cape Cod and Boston and Plymouth should definitely earn a place on the simply smart traveler’s travel bucket list for Northeast U.S.A.
Before You Go
– Read Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, Paperback by Nathaniel Philbrick
Plymouth is accessible by highway, train, boat or car.
- Logan International Airport in Boston, (BOS) is 43 miles away.
- The nearest cruise port is Boston and there are boat excursions to Cape Cod and elsewhere from Plymouth.
- The closest Amtrak station is in Boston, the northern terminus of the NE Corridor. Commuter train service is by MBTA from Boston, The station is at 385 Court Street in Plymouth
- By car, Plymouth is reached from Boston via I-495 and US 44 from Boston and MA 3 links Plymouth to Cape Cod.
When You Are There
– Explore the waterfront and see Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II.
– Spend some time reading the plaques on the many historical markers in town.
– Enjoy the John Carver Inn’s gluten-free blueberry, cranberry and oatmeal pancakes for breakfast and have dinner with a view at a waterfront restaurant on Water Street.
If You Only Have Two or Three Days:
Must-sees for a short stay are:
- Walking through the town and learning about history through visiting historic sites and buildings.
- Visiting the Plimouth Grist Mill.
- Walking along the Town Brook.
- Seeing the Jenney Museum and taking a 90 minute, two mile guided walking tour of Plymouth history with the very knowledgeable Leo.
If You Have Several Days, enjoy:
- A sightseeing cruise from Plymouth Harbor. Choose from whale watching, dinner cruises and others.
- An excursion to nearby Cape Cod’s pretty towns, harbors and beaches.
- A commuter train journey for a day trip to Boston. (Beats driving and parking!)
- A 60 mile drive to Newport, Rhode Island to see its impressive mansions.
Ginny O’s Tips For Dressing The Simply Smart Travel Way For Plymouth
Your outfits should be built around and adapted to walking since so much of it is required to really appreciate Plymouth. Casual clothes appropriate for the season are fine and no finery is required, Above all, wear comfortable shoes that match your outfits.
This Destination At A Glance
Mobility Level: Moderate. Plymouth’s waterfront is flat but the town is up a small hill and spread out over several blocks so being able to walk or otherwise navigate sidewalks is required.
When To Go: Summer is ideal for Plymouth and nearby Cape Cod. There is also a week-long pre-Thanksgiving town celebration that is popular.
Where To Stay: We loved the John Carver Inn. It is close to town (a delightful path along Town Brook leads to the waterfront away from traffic) and well-appointed. Several national hotel chains and B&B’s are also available.
Special Travel Interests: American history.
Editor’s Notes: Orenstein is a syndicated travel writer who lives on Florida’s West Coast. He and his wife Virginia enjoy simply smart travel and writing about it. They can be reached at jorenstein@SimplySmartTravel.com. Check out their travel ideas, articles and blog at www.SimplySmartTravel.com and like them at facebook.com/SimplySmartTravel.