Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plimouth Plantation

I had a rare Saturday off this past weekend, and Hubby said I was in charge of planning something for us to do. I had been wanting to visit Plimoth Plantation for a while, so this seemed a good opportunity. Plimouth Plantation is a recreation of a pilgrim settlement from 1620. There are re-enacters that stay in character as they answer questions about the way of life in pilgrim times. The entire settlement consists of about a dozen "houses" - which were the sorriest little hovels I've ever seen in my life. The settlers at Plimouth Plantation didn't have much.....only whatever they brought over with them on the Mayflower. They were still very dependent on England for a lot of the things they could not produce in America. Some of the settlers had to go back and forth to England for supplies twice a year or so....each journey taking up to six months.
Inside the house, which was maybe 10x10, was a bed, a table, maybe a dresser brought over from England. The most astounding thing to me was that the fire was simply in the corner of the room with no boundaries, no fireplace or anything, and the children slept on the floor at night.
There were only a couple of cows that were brought over from England for the whole community to use. Everything was shared.
Women would make bread 12-15 loaves at a time for their family (which means that by the time the bread was done, they were eating bread that had been around for almost two weeks).
They had to build a fire in this bread oven, keep it going for about two hours so the stones got really hot, then clean out all the fire and ashes and put the bread pans in and seal the door for the bread to bake.
They made some kind of coating for the inside of the walls, to keep the cold air out. They kneaded the clay with their feet right inside the house and then put it up on the walls with straw.
After going through the Pilgrim settlement, we went down the road to the re-creation of the Indian houses. The Indians had two houses, one for summer and one for winter. The winter house was large and airtight. The whole big extended family, three generations, stayed together in the winter house. There was really only place for them to sleep, as they spent most of their daylight time out of doors.
All the re-enacters at the Indian settlement are real Indians who were very informative about the way their ancestors lived.
In the summer, the Indians lived in smaller summer houses. Each family of mom, dad and children had their own house.
After leaving Plimouth Plantation, we went over to see the famous Plimouth Rock.
Yes, that's it. You can see it through the opening at the bottom of the monument. It's quite unimpressive.
And finally, we went over to see the Mayflower. This is a replica of the original Mayflower, or how they believe it was based on ships made at that time.
I was quite impressed with the courage and fortitude these Pilgrims must have had to come over from their own country, travel in the hold of what was nothing more than a cargo ship, and start a new life in a land where there was nothing.


Me (aka Danielle) said...

It's fun to look back at where we have come fun. Things sure have changed from a one home house fueled by fire to our multi room, multi bathroom "mansions".

Together We Save said...

I would love to take that tour!! The fact that they lived like that and survived is amazing.

Joan said...

Would you believe despite growing up and living in NH, I have NEVER been to Plymouth Plantation?! Always wanted to go - and still do! (Just not alone.. but that's another story. LOL)

Debbie said...

That is all fascinating! Makes me realize what a cushy life I have.