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Waxing Nostalgic With the Pilgrims
Plymouth, MA
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Plymouth MA sign

For some reason, despite a lifetime of summers at Cape Cod, we never made it to Plymouth. So we set out for Plimouth Plantation, the reconstructed Pilgrim village, but relentless April showers and a $17 cover charge drove us, instead, toward the spot where the Founding Parents landed in 1620. We expected a tacky boulevard, but were pleasantly surprised by a tasteful open view of the ocean. Amazingly there is still no charge, except parking, to view the symbolic stepping stone of the "first" European settlers.



Mayflower II

Mayflower II is a magnificent and moving sight, even on a crummy cold day. There is a separate admission here, but we're too chilled to take this tour today. Unlike the hardy Pilgrims, we require warmth and shelter, not to mention Goretex. But we'll be back here, certainly.



Pilgrim Hut?

A Pilgrim hut? Not exactly. This is the historically correct souvenir outpost for Plimouth Plantation, filled with a superb collection of books for all your Pilgrim-related needs. But later, for the highbrow stuff. First we want to see the REAL Plymouth story, the one millions of Americans know best - the kind of tale one can glean only from a WAX MUSEUM!



Plymouth Rock

Every kid we know who has seen Plymouth Rock tells of shock and disappointment. Like the Pilgrims themselves, it looms impossibly large in legend. Visiting the famous rock under its tomb-like canopy at the age of ten, we've been told, is like catching your dad dressed up as Santa. Luckily we were spared the psychic pain, and seeing the rock for the first time as middle-aged historian, found it a vulnerable little icon. Perhaps because there is no admission, tourists seem compelled to toss pennies at the hapless rock. No spot or story in our young nation's history has been more exploited and misrepresented. Still we're glad to be here at last, and move on.



Plymouth Wax Museum

We follow the woman in the yellow coat to our foul-weather goal. The Plymouth Wax Museum brochure says it is "America's only wax museum dedicated entirely to the story of the Pilgrims." Well, duh! Fresh from the Salem Witch Museum weeks earlier, we're ready to be underwhelmed, but a surprise awaits at the top of these stairs.



Massasoit Statue

But first a quick digression to the left where the mighty Massasoit stands. It is a little known fact that Native Americans were actually over 10 feet tall. Seriously though, as much as this statue is a poor repayment for stealing the homeland of an entire race, it is a dramatic image. (Click for early photo of Massasoit)


Photos and text by J. Dennis Robinson
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