Thanksgiving is this week! While most moms are busy thinking about the Big Dinner preparations I think about the time RestaurantMan and I went to Plymouth, Massachusetts on our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. I learned three important lessons on that day.
Why I Was There
Soon after getting married, really the evening of our wedding, my husband and I flew to Boston to begin our new life together. He had already been living there for a few months after accepting his new job. We started our new life without any family or friends. He had been working so hard so didn’t have time to make many friends outside of work.
We woke up Thanksgiving morning and didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Being a history buff, and after our successful jaunt out to Salem for Halloween, I wondered how far it was to drive to Plymouth. Surely they would have activities going on for this holiday.
By the way, I really need to tell you about being in Salem, Massachusetts, for Halloween one day. They take that day very, very, very seriously.
I remember as we drove up there getting really excited once we saw the sign for the city of Plymouth. We were so close! It really does exist! Yeah, I know. That is silly. Yet it meant so much to me that this wasn’t just some story in a book AND I was going to see it first hand.
Plymouth Rock – The First Lesson
The first stop we made was to Plymouth Rock. There are signs all the way through downtown directing you to it so it isn’t hard to miss. As we walked towards the ocean the ground swoops down toward the beach. It really isn’t much of a beach. There isn’t much sand or shore, just land, then a few rocks, and then water. The rock is covered by a very ornate Roman Doric portico. Something in my heart said that’s as it should be. A temple to cover this most hallowed ground.
You can see many pictures of Plymouth Rock online. There, it is. It really is a rock. Still, it is a part of history and it was fun to see.
Drive Thru History has some great videos about Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims. Be sure to check them all out.
The Mayflower – The Second Lesson
We then went to the Mayflower replica. Now I am exactly 60 inches tall and I had to duck when were below board. My feet hung over the side of a bed. When I tell people this story they are amazed because that means the Pilgrims were shorter than I am. I grew up drinking plenty of milk, dairy products, and produce. The Pilgrims did not. They were short because they didn’t have the variety of foods that I have been able to enjoy.
This is an excellent documentary about the ship. They talk a lot about the history of the ship. It was a cargo ship built to carry products from the colonies back to England, not people! During that time of history sailors were very concerned about pirates. The Mayflower had cannons to protect themselves yet took care to avoid them.
You will also find a museum at this park filled with chotskies and doodads.
We didn’t get a chance to visit the Plimouth Plantation, the outdoor museum, set up to replicate what life would have been like for the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. (I’m not sure when they y became an i, you get different stories depending on who you ask.) There are a lot of cool things here: interactive games, videos, lesson plans, and pictures that this will keep your kids occupied while you make Thanksgiving dinner.
Native Americans at Plymouth – The Third Lesson
Finally, I can’t leave out the most interesting part of our visit to Plymouth. I wasn’t sure how to add this but my boys know this story because I tell it at every Thanksgiving dinner.
What we didn’t expect to see were the protestors. There were Native Americans from the various Indian tribes that still live in Massachusetts holding up protest signs. I can’t remember exactly what they said but the message was pretty clear. Go home, we were here first.
Um, yeah. I was not expecting that. At all. I still think about how the Native Americans must feel on a day like Thanksgiving. While we are honoring what the Pilgrims did to worship without fear let us also strive to be gracious in all that we do and live peacefully with our neighbors wherever we go.
I have collected over 100 lesson plans and crafts for Thanksgiving on my personal Pinterest account and the LJSkool Pinterest account. You can find the links above in addition to many other fun and interesting things to do this week. Enjoy!