The day after Thanksgiving, I decided to join my New Jersey-based aunt, uncle and two youngest cousins on a pilgrimage (no pun intended) to Plimoth Plantation for a day of exploring the vast historic grounds and, later, culminating with a Thanksgiving feast circa 1627 – the time period of the plantation. While I initially a bit skeptical about the idea – after all, I had not been back to Plimoth since a third grade, now largely forgotten, field trip as my sister reminded me – it turned out to be a fascinating and highly enjoyable day of historic enrichment and entertaining character engagement.
The grounds has a vast array of sightseeing attractions and opportunities to tangibly engage with some of the country’s first settlers as well as the Wampanoag tribe of Indians. The site has a vastness that I could never remember when I first visited over a decade ago as a nine year-old. Not only can you step afoot the Mayflower II, a very realistic replica of the original Mayflower vessel, but the actual Plantation grounds has a tremendous amount of gems to uncover, including the Wampanoag Homesite, the 17th Century Village, a Craft Center, and well-equipped visitors center. Couple the vastness of the exhibits with tremendously pleasant weather for a late November afternoon and you have a universal recipe for fun.
Speaking of recipes, the circa 1627 dinner that followed the day of exploration was equally intriguing, as ten small-plate, family style courses were passed around amidst an atmosphere of 17th century customs and traditions. The entertainment – an ensemble of singers and character-actors from the village that meandered around the crowded room of diners – may have been a bit too family-oriented for some to tolerate (the 1620s hymns and sing-a-longs were a bit hokey at best) but for the kid-at-heart who enjoys some good, old-fashioned campy fun, it was a gently enjoyable experience. With an enormous Thanksgiving feast enjoyed the day prior at home, the follow-up foray to Plimoth completed a two-day tandem of traditional Turkey Day fun.