Why should tourists have all the fun? With its museums, beaches, nature walks, restaurants, and shopping, Plymouth is a magnet for tourists from all over the country. But when was the last time you got out of the house and took time to sample some of the attractions that make Plymouth America’s Hometown?
Fall and winter are great times to appreciate all that Plymouth has to offer. Kids are back at school, there’s a crisp New England chill in the air, and most lines for tourist attractions are at their shortest. (The only exceptions are Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II, which are popular stops for school field trips on weekday mornings through Thanksgiving.)
“Plymouth is not just for tourists,” says Paul Cripps, executive director of the Plymouth County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have so much to offer to residents of the town in terms of history, culture, and physical activity. I want to personally invite Plymouth residents to experience the fun that keeps tourists coming back year after year.”
Being a tourist can be a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. Here’s a sampling of what’s available. Many sites offer discounts to Plymouth residents, so remember to ask whenever you visit. In addition to these Plymouth attractions, you can find more to do at www.seeplymouth.com
Mayflower Society House - This 18th century dwelling in the historic district contains ten rooms and three centuries of furnishings and artifacts. Open various dates May through October and during Christmas on North Street, Friday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 9.
Pilgrim Hall Museum - View 17th century Pilgrim possessions, including William Bradford’s Bible, Peregrine White’s cradle and Myles Standish’s sword. Enjoy a 15-minute film telling the dramatic story of the Mayflower Pilgrims.
1749 Spooner House - Built around 1749 for the widow Hannah Jackson, the Spooner House is one of the oldest structures on Plymouth's picturesque North Street. It was home to the Spooner family for over two hundred years. Open summers only.
1749 Court House and Museum - Located right in the center of Plymouth, this museum is free and filled with interesting items from Plymouth's history. It is the oldest wooden Court House and the longest used municipal building in America. Open summers only.
Plimoth Plantation - Plimoth Plantation is a hands-on, entertaining living history experience dedicated to the Native Wampanoag and Pilgrim colonists of the 17th century. Costumed interpreters and artisans bring history alive across four award-winning exhibits.
Trask Museum - The haunted Trask Museum was built in 1849. While working to restore it, owner Diane Trask and her husband Franklin would hear doors slamming, footsteps, moans and groans. Day and night tours are given by Dead of Night Ghost Tours. 508-277-2371
Jenney House Museum - Located in the historic district, the Jenney House Museum offers rotating exhibits that tell the story of history and industry in Plymouth. Two exhibits featured this fall: “The Pursuit of Happiness,” and “Story of the Cranberry Harvest.
Mayflower II - Visit a reproduction of the ship that carried The Pilgrims to the New World. Staff members in modern-day clothing speak from a present-day perspective, while role players in period costume share their personal accounts of shipboard life.
Hedge House Museum - This December, the Plymouth Antiquarian Society will present a Fairy Christmas celebration in this historic 1809 mansion. Eight rooms will be decorated with hundreds of handcrafted fairy and holiday ornaments. Dec. 1-2 and 7-9.
Bettyann’s Step on Tours - Travel back to the 1600s as Bettyann's Tours show you the various historic sites in Plymouth, as well as revealing the "real" history of Plymouth. Leaves from the Visitor Information Center at the rotary on the Plymouth Waterfront.
Dead of Night Ghost Tours - Combo tour - Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour PLUS admission into 2 haunted historic houses, one built 1725 and the other 1849. Plus walk through Burial Hill Cemetery. Tours led by professional paranormal investigators.
First Parish Church - Guided Tours of First Parish in Plymouth, the oldest continuous ministry in New England. The congregation has a long tradition of religious freedom dating back to the Plymouth landing.
Native Plymouth Tours - Enjoy the first organized walking tours of historical downtown Plymouth presented from the perspective of Native American guides. Have fun learning the shared history of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims.
Pilgrim Path Tours - If you like to tour at your own pace, you can download maps and audio guides at this Chamber of Commerce site. A range of tours trace the past, celebrate the future, and return to nature.
Stay the Night in Style
Once you decide on the right activities for you and your family, consider making your tourist experience complete by splurging for a night at one of the area’s fine hotels. Many local establishments offer discount packages to Plymouth residents during the off-season. In addition to a great night’s sleep, these hotels offer swimming pools, spas, fine dining, and many more amenities to make your “staycation” complete.
Mention the Healthy Plymouth website when you make reservations at these hotels, and find out about the discounts they offer exclusively for residents:
Comfort Inn Plymouth - This Choice Hotels International Gold Award winner is about one mile from the Historic Plymouth waterfront with whale watching, deep sea fishing, beaches and more and 4 miles from Plimoth Plantation.
John Carver Inn & Spa - Located in the heart of historic Plymouth, the John Carver Inn and Spa is steps away from the Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock, Jenney Gristmill, Brewster Gardens and much more. Dine on healthy organic cuisine at the Hearth & Kettle.
Radisson Hotel Plymouth Harbor - 175 rooms with high-speed internet surround the indoor pool and hot tub. Walk to Plymouth Rock, Mayflower II, and waterfront attractions. Health club & sauna. Harbor Grille Restaurant & Pub.
Over the Bridge
If you are feeling adventurous, Plymouth residents can also get special, health-conscious deals including spa treatments and healthy cuisine at these two Cape Cod destinations.
Dan’l Webster Inn and Spa - The Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa is an award-winning inn and restaurant located in the heart of quaint Sandwich Village on the site of a tavern built before the American Revolution.
Cape Codder Resort and Spa - Cape Codder Resort & Spa is located in the heart of Cape Cod. Rolling dunes, scenic roads, historic attractions, adventuresome whale watches and shopping abound, all within 6 miles. But, you may never want to leave the resort that offers so much!