Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Mayflower, a big rock, and Beantown

DH and I took a bus trip through Merrymeeting Adult Ed to see the Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation. It was a long, enjoyable day. A big group of red hat ladies went too, so it was fun to see them live it up.

The Mayflower II was built in England and sailed to Massachusettes in 1957. It was a really big deal back then. Richard Nixon, then Eisenhower's vice president, showed up to greet the ship. That wooden boat beside the Mayflower, called a shallop, was built in Mass. and greeted the vessel when she arrived in the New World.

Get this! Part of the display on the dock, along with all the historical stuff about the Pilgrims, was "What was life like in 1957". Ancient history, apparently.

There are two crow's nests. On the deck below there were two Pilgrim ladies who told us about life on the ship. They were too afraid of the sailors to go on the main deck (I am not a sailor so I don't really know these deck terms. I think they were on the orlop deck.) Anyway, so they spent the entire eight week journey below deck.

About half the people on the Mayflower were Pilgrims who had been living in Holland to escape religious persecution in England. The Captain and crew were very experienced and well prepared for the journey. I somehow had the impression that they landed here like an arrow in the dark, but that was not so at all. They knew right where they were going, however, they wanted to go to the Hudson River (I think), but the area they found themselves in was so treacherous, and the season getting so late, they decided to land on Plimoth Rock. Lucky for us, eh? Otherwise we would have a longer bus ride.

This is a view from the stern on the orlop deck. It was dark and we had electric lights, which they did not. Isn't travel educational?

Pilgrim lady monument from the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) in 1920. Lovely little garden here. I could have done some serious weeding if I had my kneeling pad and tools.

This granite structure surrounds Plimoth Rock. When did Plymouth become Plimoth? It is like Bejing. One day everyone is saying Peking, and the next thing you know it is Bejing. But I digress. We are in Mass. or MA not China.

Oh, darn, I deleted the Wamanaug Village. Just a minute.

Ahhh, there it is. I thought history was repeating itself for a minute.

Here we are at Plimoth Plantation (TM). After watching an orientation video in the main museum building, we strolled down a woodland pathway to the Wampanaug village. I was really impressed with the video, it really put things in context and prepared us for what we were about to experience. It explained that the Wampanaug village has Native Americans who speak in modern English to us, but the Pilgrim village has actors role playing.

We learned a lot of Wampanaug history. Women ruled! In particular, grandmothers ruled! Massosoit was a spokesman for his community and was probably told what to say by the grandmothers. Sounds about right, don't you think, ladies?

We went inside one three hearth building, like this. It was so comfortable! There were beds covered with pelts all along the sides of the long building. Woven mats hung from the inner framework. The three hearths were for the three generations living there. The elder couple's bed/living area was at the very back at the point farthest away from the door, thus the warmest spot. Someone told us that in the real homes, the beds/seats were much wider and covered with more pelts, so it would have been even more soft and cozy.

It was amazing to see the wide pieces of ash bark on the outside. DH thought the buildings were probably 25 years old.

Wampanaug mama and baby. She is sewing him a breech-cloth. Beside her is a moose bone toy, you know, one of those toys you scoop and try to capture the ring bones onto the skewer, but never, ever can?

I wanted to swaddle that baby! He kept doing the startle reflex. Oh, young mothers. Of course, being me, I kept my mouth shut. But that was before I learned that grandmothers rule! Well, I am not a grandmother, but I do have gray hair.

This is inside another home, but it was quite empty of furnishings. Needs some quilts, don't you think?

Strolling down the path to the Pilgrim settlement.

Look at that woodpile! It is a round ball! Don't take out that stick on the bottom! To the left is a hay barn. Lots of thatched roofs here. The moss really does grow on the north side, too.

All the homes were surrounded by fences. Everyone had a good ocean view. From here we went to Boston and Fanueil Hall for dinner. I had a chicken pesto sandwich. Sounds good doesn't it? Yummy and I was hungry! The bread was thick and crusty. It tasted like cardboard but not as tender. The chicken was like balls of string, but not as tender. Not a delight. I trashed that and bought a bagel.

On the bus back to Maine, we had door prizes. I won a bag of New York Yankees peanuts! DH and I dozed on the trip back; it had been a long day. I listened to Rilla of Ingleside on my ipod, too. An interesting, wonderful day, but isn't Maine so much nicer than anywhere else?