You can imagine our surprise when we woke up to howling wind and temps in the 40s. It was the last day of school for the CT kids, so we decided to drive around and venture northward a little more. Brandon was still angling for a trip to Maine (for authentic lobster), so we pondered driving through Massachusetts into southern Maine, and back through the southern sections of New Hampshire and Vermont. We thought about visiting Salem and/or investigating more American history in Boston with Paul Revere, the Boston Tea Party, etc. In the search, we noticed Plymouth MA and decided to go there first and wing the rest of the plans.
The drive through eastern CT and into MA was beautiful, hilly countryside. As you can imagine, we filled the time with music (REM, Indigo Girls, Imagine Dragons, Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, and Front Line Assembly). However, we kept the sunroof closed since it was too chilly outside.
Plymouth was a quaint, classic New England kind of town. The water was stunning and the anchored yachts were impressive. We strolled down the boardwalk to read about Plymouth Rock and then got to see it. I nearly laughed out loud as I was expecting something like this…
…but instead I saw this…
Yes, the information said it was probably at least three times larger (Zoolander anyone?) at the time of the Mayflower landing (if it really landed at the Rock, which seems debatable at best since the rock wasn’t mentioned in historical accounts until 100 years after the landing). Even three times larger would be nowhere near the picture I had in my mind. So, we moved on to see the Mayflower. I wasn’t surprised that it was a replica, but the kids somehow expected the original ship to still be sitting there in the water. I guess we all had our surprises that day, but enjoyed the experience nonetheless.
We ended up having an awesome lunch at the Lobster Shack, right there on the water (but inside because it was so windy and cool). On the way back to the car, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center (one of the best things you can do in any touristy town) and had a delightful time talking to the elderly couple running the center. They told us lots about the area and played a memory game with the kids. We had one final surprise before we got back to the car…one little shop was purportedly selling Harry Potter’s famous butterbeer. Of course the boys had to buy some (so the tourist trap worked).
There were other things to do there, but we felt complete with the experience. We decided that the lunch lobster came out of the same water as our proposed Maine spot an hour north and collectively decided against the driving loop that would put us back at Deejay’s pretty late. Instead, we drove back along the coast and through Ocean Spray and past cranberry bogs. Then we kept going through Rhode Island…my new dream home state. (How could it not be? It’s known as the ocean state!) It really was beautiful, driving over more stunning bridges than I could count (but there were, of course, tolls).
We got back to CT in time to celebrate the last day of school with a cookout and playtime in the yard with the kids. And since we didn’t make it to Vermont, we did the next best thing and went to Ben & Jerry’s for dessert. 🙂
Reflections: Thom had fun messing with some other Plymouth tourists, telling them “welcome to Georgia” after he took a picture for them; he also loved going over the scenic bridges. Elizabeth enjoyed the Visitor Center games (probably because she was better at it than her brothers), and appreciated the delicious cookout complete with grilled asparagus. Alexander had a foodie day, unable to decide whether the stuffed shrimp at lunch was better than the scrumptious scoop at Ben & Jerry’s. Brandon was, of course, excited to have real lobster (there’s no convincing him that other restaurant lobster is real)…but he was also tickled to imagine our forefathers (or relatives) passing down a lie about Plymouth Rock (and, as he said, that’s not something you learn in school).