You start your self-guided tour at the bottom left corner of the map, the visitors center. Then you follow the trail to the Wampanoag Indian Village where men and women (real Wampanoag Indians and descendants) are dressed in clothing from the 1600's that the Indians would have worn. The re-enactors can answer questions both about the time that the Wampanoag people lived in, and questions relating to today's world.
The re-enactors were also carrying out every day activities that the Indians would have preformed. One man was making a canoe by burning out the inside of a large tree trunk. You would think that it would just roll over in the water. Not so! The Indians would burn just enough out to make the sides thin but the bottom very thick.
How did they fell the trees? They would burn the bottom of the tree until it became burnt enough to push over. This would also make the end of the boat.
(Grama said, "Go get a picture by that boat so we can prove we were really here!")
Next we went into one of the houses.
Fires would line the middle of the hut, sometime up to 25 fires long. See the hole in the roof? That would be to let the smoke out. If it rained, the Indians were able to close a small flap.
The beds lined the sides of the huts. Families would sleep on furs. Blankets were not needed, even in the winter, because the fires would keep the huts over 80 degrees in all weather.
You would think that these houses wouldn't be built very well. You thought wrong. The skeleton of the structure is dug into holes three feet into the ground and tied together with tree bark. When a hurricane passed though this area a number of years ago, the Indian buildings survived with hardly a scratch.
These buildings were - and still are - very resilient, although it is now illegal to live in houses like the one above.
After the Wampanoag village, you walk up the path to the crafts center where there are a number of people building or making things that you would find in the 1600's. One man was working on making a chest, which he would later carve intricate designs into. Another man was making an arrow for a bow, and yet another man was making pottery. Perhaps the most impressive was a woman making lace! It looked like very hard, slow, and difficult work.
Look, Dutch pottery from Holland dating back to the 1600's!
Next you head the the 1627 village. This was my absolutely favorite. In this village, the reenactors are all role playing that they are people from the time period! If you asked them about something that happened in 1628, they would shake their heads and ask you to explain. Since 1628 hadn't happened yet, they had no idea what we were talking about!
I overheard one schoolkid (they were EVERYWHERE!) ask if William Brewster had ever watched Spongebob Squarepants.... Perhaps the best of all was a little girl that asked Sam Fuller (a young man) if she could take his picture. He stared at her confused and asked, "I have a pitcher. You want to take my pitcher? I only have one.... For carrying water." the little girl's mother said, "Explain it to him!" and the little girl said, "Well... we have iPods and cameras and can I take a picture?" In the end they walked off (without the picture, I think). The same man proposed marriage to my mother! He was 20 and my mother asked, "Are you one of the unmarried ones?" and he replied, "Yes, unfortunately. Why be you asking? Are you in need of a husband?" It was very cute. I'm just glad she didn't say, "My daughter is more your age!"
We talked to this young man for quite awhile but I didn't take a close up picture of him. The re-enactors played their parts so well it's almost as if they really were settlers in a new land. I didn't want to take a picture of them because it would be treating them as if they were some sort of spectacle. Kind of like the Amish people. They don't like their pictures being taken and if I ever visited an Amish town, I don't think I would take any pictures. It just wouldn't be right.
I did take a few pictures, however.
I enjoyed seeing the re-enactors SO much. As I said, they were very, very, very well trained and good. I thought some of the older ones were Shakespearean actors because of the way they talked and the way their curled their mustaches. I think I may have found a new future job!
We met William Brewster (the preacher - not a pastor because he wasn't ordained) and talked a very long time with him. He was very nice. My mom was asking him questions about the pilgrims faith and their reasons for leaving England and such and he was giving very learned answers.
I think the reenactors rather liked talking with us because Mom asked such interesting questions. As I mentioned before, there were many school children there. Mostly 2-5th grade. They were so rambunctious that they didn't really learn anything. Their questions went as deep as, "What's that? What are you doing?"
It must make the reenactors tired to hear the same old questions day after day. But they must love it as well. I know I would.
There was a town meeting house at the top of the hill. A watchtower was on top while on the ground floor was a meeting hall and a podium where people could talk; or on Sundays, William Brewster would preach.
There were cannons in the watchtower, although they hadn't been used for self-defence or an offensive as-of 1627.
Here is the view of the whole Plimoth Plantation town.
In one of the houses I had the chance to play "Nine Men's Morris" which is similar to Tick-tack-toe, except with more pieces.
In many of the houses we saw these odd three legged chairs.
Why three legged? Perhaps so they would fit into corners. Or because three legs are easier to stand on than four (especially on dirt floors, which all the houses had). Or perhaps it was because the men's jacket tails and swords could hang out comfortably. We don't really know.
An interesting woodpile (see Tintin?)
A cow (just for you Highlight/Jessica)
Suddenly Sam Fuller (the boy who proposed to my mom) began to beat the drum.
It was time for church! William Brewster was coming up the street to tell us about 1627 worship.
(before he arrived I took a picture of the windows... it reminded me of our dog door)
William Brewster told us that in England, The Church of England was the only religion allowed. The pastors of The Church of England were the only ones allowed to preach and the only ones allowed to interpret The Bible. You had to take their word for what was in The Bible. Well, some people wanted the freedom to preach out of The Bible, what was in their hearts and heads so a number of people in the country began to do just that. They grew in numbers and began to be persecuted so they went to Holland. In Holland they could not believe that you could have a Godly Christian living on the same road as a Jew or a atheist. The English children were picking up bad habits from the Dutch (William Brewster said to my mother, "If you hear anyone speaking Dutch, send them to me for a talking to." My mom looked at me and laughed. I had been speaking Dutch shortly before entering the village!). The English decided to leave Holland and go to the new world, where they would be able to set up their own church. It was the only church allowed. Others of different religion were allowed, but they were not allowed to set up their own church.
There was no ordained minister on Plimoth Plantation. William Brewster was lucky enough to have gone to University in England. He did not get a degree, though, which is needed to be ordained.
He was able to read and therefore was the one who did sermons on Sundays.
Since he was not ordained, he was not allowed to do communion or baptisms. Weddings were preformed by the Governor.
William Brewster telling us about 1627 worship:
All children over the age of 14 had to come to church. If you missed a day of church, you had to stand up publicly and say sorry. If you were younger than 14 and had enough wits about you to understand the sermon, you were allowed to come as well.
Church would last all day Sunday. No work or rough play was allowed on the Day of Rest.
Although the pilgrims were without instruments such as organs or pianos or other things to accompany singing, the pilgrims were not without music.
In church they would sing out of the Psalter.
I must say.... That Psalter was one of the most AMAZING things I have EVER seen in my entire life!! I don't know when it was published, but it was very, very old. I was allowed to hold it and look through it. I didn't get any pictures, though.
Anyway, the Psalter was very old. It had one line of music for every song (very faded and very tiny) and the words to all the verses written on the sides.
Today, church Hymnals have all sorts of different hymns in them such as "America the Beautiful" and "Amazing Grace." The Psalter that the pilgrims had was all 150 Psalms put to music. My heart is quivering just to think of it. I would love to have that song book. It was beautiful. All 150 Psalms put to music.... And only the Psalms! No other type of hymns. It was amazing.
William Brewster also had a very old Bible that I was able to look through as well. It had the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha. It was the first version of the Bible to have verses and chapters in it! Again, I'm not sure how old this copy was, but it looked old. It had annotations on the side. It was very beautiful and amazing as well. I wished I could just stay with those two books forever. Truthfully, if I could spend the rest of my life enveloped in music, praising The Lord, I would be a very happy woman.
Since the pilgrims didn't have musical instruments, they had to follow William Brewster's lead.
Plimoth has it's own troupe of Shakespearean actors!
All the actors are men! Just like in Shakespeare's day. I thought that was very cool. I would love to come back in July and watch one of their productions.
After Plimoth (which was amazing. If you ever get the chance to go, GO!) we went to the Mayflower II, which is a replica of the first Mayflower which bore the pilgrims to America.
It was a BEAUTIFUL ship! Reminded me of my novel.
Me on deck:
The navigator and navigator's assistant's quarters/office (look at the old map, isn't it cool?)
The Crow's Nest! My favorite place on a ship. This ship had two.
Cannons below deck:
This is where all the pilgrims were packed away for months. They weren't allowed to see the light of day.
We met the Captain of the ship. He was the best actor I'd seen the whole day. He was so in character. He even yelled at me! He was ranting and raving and I could tell that he was just an amazing actor. You know you are faced with a great man when you are afraid to take his picture! I finally snapped one of two.
And he had the most interesting eyebrows.... They were really bushy and went up and down when he talked. He would make a good Gandalf, if he was older.
After the Mayflower, we went to Plimoth Rock where the Pilgrims "landed."
And now I'm afraid I have to post this blog post.... Mom says it will be too long to read otherwise. Plus it's getting late.
Oh, I forgot.... Tintin has a new place to sit when we go sightseeing!
Here is a sneak peak of tomorrow's blog post (aka, what we did today).