In Plymouth, “America’s Hometown,” you’ll get a glimpse of Plymouth Rock — and of the Pilgrim way of life at Plimoth Plantation. This bi-cultural living history museum offers a re-created 17th century English Village that includes Colonial interpreters who bring the 17th Century to life, a Native Wampanoag Homesite, Crafts Center and numerous Museum Shops. The reproduction Mayflower II is located at State Pier just a stone’s throw from Plymouth Rock, that historic piece of granite thought to be the stepping stone for these courageous settlers into the New World.
For a more contemporary adventure, set out on an expedition from Plymouth Harbor. Afternoon water options are plentiful, and include Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours; themed outings with Plymouth Cruises; and Pilgrim Belle Paddlewheeler Harbor Cruise.
If being on the water is not your thing, hurry on over to Pilgrim Hall Museum where you will encounter not only original artifacts brought over on board the Mayflower but a number of exhibits designed to enlighten you about this most American of stories. Check out the new exhibit, “What’s Under Things!”
Venture further south to Bristol County to experience coastal life and a real working waterfront in the historic city of New Bedford. The Whaling City, New Bedford invites you to relish its many historical and maritime attractions, including the renowned New Bedford Whaling Museum, the largest museum in America devoted to the history of the American whaling industry. Climb aboard the Lagoda, the world’s largest ship model, see rearticulated whale skeletons and view some of the finest maritime paintings and scrimshaw in the world.
The Whaling Museum is part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park – park rangers offer walking tours of downtown’s historic district including the Seamen’s Bethel, a 28-room Greek Revival mansion built in 1834 that chronicles 150 years of economic, social and domestic life in New Bedford. Known as the Whalemen’s Chapel in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, which took place in New Bedford, the Semen’s Bethel today serves as a memorial to whalemen and fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. Along County Street, whaling era mansions such as the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum transports visitors back to New Bedford’s golden age of sail.
Just south of New Bedford are the towns of Dartmouth and Westport, with sprawling seaside farms and spectacular rural scenery. Westport Rivers is a family owned vineyard and winery producing estate grown wines. New England’s largest vineyard, Westport is best known for sparkling wine which rivals any from around the globe, but their selection also includes Chardonnay, Rosé, Riesling and other Alsatian varietals. The cool climate of Westport’s shores at the edge of Buzzards Bay creates the most dramatic sparkling, white and rosé wines in the world. Westport Rivers began in 1982 when Bob & Carol Russell bought an old dairy farm in Westport. Tours and tastings are available, and picnickers are welcome on the breathtaking grounds.