In Dec of 1620, 102 settlers disembarked from their two month journey across the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower, a three masted merchant ship. With the assistance of the Wampanoag tribe they established the Colony of Plymouth, the first permanent settlement in what would eventually be known as New England. Forty of those settlers were members of a radical Puritan religious sect known as the English Separatist Church, ancestors of mine among them. Three other ships landed soon after, The Fortune, the Anne, and the Little James, all seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity.
History repeated itself in July of 2015, when Plymouth, Massachusetts found itself once more beset by those escaping tyranny and persecution. My wife and I, child free for 48 glorious hours.
As the “birthplace on America”, Plymouth is home to many museums, historical landmarks, and educational opportunities. It is also home to over thirty pubs and restaurants, many of them overlooking the ocean. Despite our best efforts to distribute out business equally, we also managed to learn a few things over the weekend.
1. Those boats were small. There is a full-scale model of the Mayflower available for touring in Plymouth Harbor. It’s only 100 feet long and 25 feet wide. Besides the main deck there was a cargo hold and the gun deck, where the passengers resided. With a crew of thirty besides the 102 passengers, that 50×25 foot area must have gotten very crowded over a two-month voyage.
2. Whales are big. One of the highlights of our weekend was a four-hour whale watching cruise. Stellwagon Bank in Cape Cod Bay is a marine sanctuary and feeding grounds for humpback whales. My wife was much more excited about this excursion than I initially was, but seeing these gigantic creatures in their natural habitat is something that everyone should do at least once. It was worth the time, and not overly expensive if using a Groupon, such as this one from Provincetown. I would recommend bringing a sweatshirt, no matter how hot it is on the mainland. It gets cold out on the ocean.
3. There are still alcoholic concoctions I’m unaware of. This weekend we were introduced to two new ways to shoot Jameson Irish Whiskey. The first, out of a hollowed out pickle that you then eat, I would only recommend to those that enjoy the taste of Jameson and pickles. The second, a shooter backed up with a glass of orange juice and a slice of bacon, creates such a taste explosion of breakfast yumminess that I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it before.
4. There’s no place like home. I know people that never go anywhere without their children and I give them a lot of credit. I love our kids, but it really is nice to occasionally have a whole day or two alone with my bride. After returning home and finally shipping them off to sleep, I lie in bed and was surprised to reflect on how much I had missed my own pillow.
Become a contributor to the The Good Men Project:
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable. Become a Premium Member here.