We had a fun and historical two days exploring Plymouth and Boston in Massachusetts! See a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byGUgmHfjyY
Plymouth ($7 for meter parking)
The Rock! No, not Dwayne Johnson, although that would be cool too! We saw THE rock that, if it could talk, could tell us some amazing tales of the landing of the Mayflower and the life of its passengers. All the info we read about it ahead of time prepared us to be underwhelmed. In fact, one blogger called it puny! In reality I was impressed by its size –especially after reading about how it was accidentally broken multiple times over the centuries and that early colonists chipped off pieces of it for years to keep as souvenirs! We were surprised to find that it is actually displayed right on the beach and is exposed to waters during high tide. After oohing and aahing at the rock for a while (tourists are weird) we walked around the town of Plymouth. There is a great park there and you can walk along the well maintained beach. Obviously the town is steeped in history and as you walk up and down the streets you can see plaques indicating how old the houses are and who has lived in them. There are several museums you can visit and houses you can tour, but just walking the streets was an awesome way to relive the history. And it was free!
Boston ($15 for parking)
I am sure there is a lot more to do outside of Boston in Massachusetts but Boston is where I wanted to be! For some reason that I can’t name, Boston was always on my bucket list. Maybe it was all the episodes of Cheers I watched as a kid! Then, after a few years of teaching about the American Revolution, it moved to the tippy top of the list. Wespent one day there a few years ago while on a road trip. We stayed in Hull, Massachusetts then and took the ferry into the city. We walked most of the Freedom Trail and loved it! We came back this time to finish the trail. It is a brick line in the sidewalks that you follow through the city to all the historic landmarks of the American Revolution.
This time we drove in (absolutely NOT with the trailer) and parked in a parking garage near the USS Constitution – the opposite end of the trail from last time. We walked through the ship’s museum first (donations only, no required entrance fees). We spent over an hour there learning about the history of the ship nicknamed “Old Ironsides.” It was launched in 1797, named by George Washington, and is the WORLD’S oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat! The kids got to try calking. There were ropes for trying your hand at tying up the mast, hammocks to lay in, various other simulations and exhibits, and a video summarizing the roles the ship has had over the years. It was fun for everyone from 4-40 (Mike is 40, not me 😉)! After the museum we went through security before getting on the ship itself. All of the “employees” on the ship were active Navy sailors and could answer every question! I apologize now for calling them soldiers like 10 times in our video. Slip of the tongue of the daughter of a Marine I guess. We got a special treat as they were training for a 4th of July celebration and there were like a dozen sailors up on the masts practicing bringing in the sails. Even just watching them was not for the faint of heart! I couldn’t imagine being up there myself! We walked the upper deck of the ship and then went below to two of the decks. The ship is beautiful and really well preserved. Nothing is labeled for tourists – I am assuming that is to maintain the original appearance of the ship and also because it is still in commission. Don’t be afraid to ask the sailors questions – each one we talked to was happy to share what they knew with us!
Across the way from the USS Constitution is the the USS Cassin Young. It is a Navy Destroyer that was decommission in 1960 after serving in WWII (where is was hit by kamikazes) and then again during the Korean War. It is only one of four of its kind (out of 175) that is still afloat and is a National Historic Landmark. It is amazing how different it is from the Constitution and getting to walk on them one right after the other was like traveling in time!
We left the docks and walked along the Freedom Trail. We saw the obelisk on Bunker Hill off to our right (we didn’t walk up there though – we knew we already had a trek ahead of us) and then headed toward Paul Revere’s house. We crossed the Charlestown Bridge and passed Copp’s Hill Burial Ground, Old North Church, and the Paul Revere Statue before reaching his house. It was pretty well hidden by the entrance they built to collect entry fees to tour the home which was disappointing. We did not pay to enter Old North Church or Revere’s house. The prices were low, just a few dollars per person to get in, but we try to enjoy as much as we can without spending money. While we may appear to be on vacation, we’re not! We are just exploring the country – and on a seriously tight budget. We save our pennies for gas, camp fees, food, and our other life expenses. Sometimes it is hard to skip some things, but in the long run it affords us the chance to go more places and see more things! Something about having your cake and eating it too…
Speaking of cake… Mike’s Pastry boxes were being carried by all sorts of tourists that passed us so of course we made a pit stop. The place was PACKED! I waited in line for close to 20 minutes and got us some serious yum!
Camping info: We stayed at Wompatuck State Park. We fit in just fine and there are a lot of hiking and bike trails. We were across from a playground and the showers were clean although a little buggy 🐞
Next time: Bunker Hill Museum and the tour of Paul Revere’s house