Want to take a pilgrimage to Plymouth, Mass., without making a “pil-grimace” face in regards to the expense of the trip? Well, there’s no need to cry fowl on spending too much money (sorry for the turkey pun).
Known as the destination where pilgrims settled in 1621, Plymouth offers many pilgrim-related attractions, some nice beaches, seafood restaurants and free things to do. With that in mind, here are several ways to enjoy traveling on a budget to this very beautiful, large town by the sea…
1. Pilgrim Memorial Park (including the Mayflower II and Plymoth Rock) Be sure to visit the free and publicly accessible 11-acre Pilgrim Memorial State Park along Plymouth Harbor in downtown Plymouth. Here, you’ll be able to see at no cost, Plymouth Rock, and for a modest price climb aboard The Mayflower II, an amazingly-crafted replica of the ship that landed the pilgrims in America. Here, costumed tour guides will tell you all about pilgrim history and culture.
2. Long Beach South of downtown Plymouth is Long Beach that offers a nice stretch of sandy beach with water that is a bit chilly. The beach has restrooms and a snack bar. Fees are reasonable at $10.00 for the weekdays and $5.00 for the weekend.
3. The Plymouth Harbor jetty not only provides one of the most scenic destinations in Plymouth with its panoramic, seemingly infinite water views, but also some excellent fishing opportunities. Bluefish (typically caught in more abundance from mid-June to early October) and striped bass are the prize catches here.
4. Brewster Gardens This beautiful downtown park, right across from the water at 11 Lincoln St., dates back to the 1920s and features the original garden plot granted to Elser William Brewster in 1620. Along the way, a pedestrian bridge, colorful plantings, meandering paved pathways, benches and pleasing water views highlight the experience. You’ll also see the “The Pilgrim Maiden” bronze statue created by Henry Hudson Kitson (1922) and The Immigrant Memorial by artist Barney Zeitz (2001) — the latter a stainless steel sculpture paying tribute to Plymouth’s immigrant settlers from 1700 to 2000. Free admission, too!
5. Pilgrim Hall Museum Built in 1824 by The Pilgrim Society, the Pilgrim Hall Museum at 75 Court St., is the oldest continuously operating public museum in the United States! Featuring pilgrim possessions, the collection of 17th century artifacts never fails to fascinate. Log onto http://www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org for more information.
6. Myles Standish State Park The largest publicly owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts (500 acres) offers five camping areas along the edges of four of the park’s 16 ponds within a forested setting. Amenities include a boat ramp, swimming opportunities, bike trails, fishing, horseback riding trails, walking trails and, in the winter, cross country skiing. See more at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-south/myles-standish-state-forest.html.
7. Affordable downtown shops and snacks We love Peaceful Meadows at 170 Water St. for the delicious homemade ice cream. Highly recommended: black raspberry, butter crunch, maple walnut and orange pineapple. For shopping, downtown Plymouth has a long stretch interesting stores including boutiques, galleries, mom and pop stores and gift shops. One of our favorite stores is the John Alden Gift Shop at 74 Water St. The John Alden Gift Shop has been around more than 90 years and has an old-school look. It’s blast from the past just being there! The prices are low and merchandise includes, in no particular order, orange rubber lobsters, oversized lollipops, orange and black bumper stickers with the primitive Pilgrim and Minuteman illustrations, regional history books and booklets, and t-shirts, shorts, hats, coffee and tea mugs and stuffed teddy bears with Plymouth logo.
8. Dining Out For breakfast on a budget, go to Percey’s Place at 35 Main St., for huge breakfasts done right. There’s a nice “hometown” feel to this local eatery. For lunch or dinner, we like Woods Seafood at 15 Town Pier overlooking Plymouth Harbor. It’s a no-frills place, where you order at the counter. The broiled and fried seafood, lobsters, lobster rolls and chowder are about as good as it gets without breaking the bank. There’s also a fish market on the premises. The larger Lobster Hut at 25 Town Wharf also serves up some great lobsters, lobster rolls and fried seafood platters and nice water views of Plymouth Harbor at budget-friendly prices.
This is just a sampling of the myriad things to see and do in Plymouth. Although we are a blog focused on traveling on a budget in New England, it would be remiss not to mention wonderful, requisite Plymouth attractions that come in at higher prices — like Plimoth Plantation. For more information on Plymouth, please visit the VisitPlymouth Web Site