Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Wal-Mart (Plymouth, MA)

Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today I visited a few of the various historical sites around the city of Plymouth.  My first stop was to Plymouth Rock, an object which I have always found to be humorous.  There is absolutely no proof that the rock holds any true significance in the history of the Plymouth Colony, but somehow it has been transformed into an object so venerated that it has been effectively imprisoned to prevent people from stealing any more of the 1/3 that remains of the original stone.  The rock itself was identified by an elderly man as being the stone his father told him the pilgrims first stepped onto, but he didn't mention this to anyone until he was 97 years old.  This was 121 years after the landing of the Mayflower, and their first landing on American soil was actually near Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod.  For whatever reason, this random rock became a powerful symbol and in the past it was even taken across the nation aboard a train to display it for everyone who cared to see it.

After strolling through town, I stopped at the Pilgrim Hall Museum.  It claims to be the oldest museum in the country and has a lot of information on the pilgrims.  Numerous displays discuss who they were, how they lived, why they came, and they attempt to disspell some of the rumors and false perceptions that are commonly believed about these colonists.

Next, I visited the Mayflower II.  This particular replica ship was built by the English in the same area that the original ship was built, and using the same methods and materials.  It was built during the 1950's to celebrate American and English cooperation during WWII.  Aside from the addition of electric lighting and replacing a ladder with stairs, the ship is a completely accurate 17th century replica.  Many retired English shipbuilders were hired back from retirement to assist in the construction of the historic vessel, and ensure it was not only accurate but seaworthy.  In April of 1957 the ship set sail from Plymouth, England to its new home in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Aboard the ship were a number of staff members who were dressed in period clothing and describing different aspects of the ship and life during the times of the ship.  They were all incredibly knowledgeable about every aspect of the time period, and I almost wonder if one of them may have actually been a history professor.  I also spoke to one of the staff members and asked him whether the ship is still taken out from time to time.  He said that they usually make a voyage once every two to three years, or whenever they are provided with the funds to sail the ship to another harbor as a floating museum.  He said whenever they do one of these voyages they take about three dozen apprentice crew-members aboard and train them for a week.  At the end of the week, the dozen people with the most promise are accepted onto the crew.  That would certainly be a unique and amazing experience, and if I end up going to school in Boston, I just might have to keep in touch with them.

Once I left the ship, I just walked along the harbor for a while before stopping for dinner.  I stopped to eat at the CabbyShack Restaurant and Pub.  They are supposedly very well known for their clam chowder, so I had to give it a try.  I got a small bowl of the clam chowder to start with and fried scallops as the main course.  I had never had scallops before, but the waitress highly recommended I try them.  I can't say I was impressed with them at all.  Almost no real flavor just a sweetness, and I can only describe the appearance and texture of the fried scallops as reminding me of golden-toasted marshmallows.  At least I now know that I am not a fan of scallops.  The clam chowder, on the other hand, was fantastic.  Though it might not sound appetizing, it was the consistency of mayonnaise.  It was so smooth, creamy, and thick that it was really unlike any chowder I had eaten before.  The flavor itself was nothing at all like mayonnaise.  It tasted fantastic and had plenty of meat with decent sized pieces of vegetables and just an amazing flavor.  At the end of the meal, I wished I had just gotten a large bowl of chowder (or two) and skipped the scallops altogether.

With my belly full, I walked back to my car and drove up to Quincy, MA for the night.  
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