Plymouth Attractions
 

The Jenney Grist Mill
An Authentic Working Mill

The Jenney Grist MillThe Jenney Grist Mill is a reconstruction of the first mill built in the country. John Jenney, one of the original Pilgrims, built the mill in 1636 to accommodate the growing population in Plymouth and the surrounding towns thereby changing the quality of life for these people. The mill is located on Town Brook and is along side of the original location of Plymouth Plantation. Water from Jenny Pond supplies the power to the 14-foot diameter breast wheel just as it did to the original mill.

A working gristmill, it stands on the site of the original mill built in 1636. Mr. Jenney, a brewer by trade, came to America in 1623 with his wife Sarah and their children. He started a salt factory on Clarke Island, owned interest in a coastal trading ship and built and operated the mill until his death in 1644. His wife Sarah and son Samuel continued to run the mill after his death. The mill ground corn for 213 years continuously until 1847 when it was destroyed by fire. In 1970 the Jenney Grist Mill was rebuilt. It continues to grind corn today as it did in 1636.

 

Tours available:
"Plymouth's Jenney Grist Mill - A Historic Presentation"
"Discover Plymouth's History - A Walking Tour"


Mayflower II's 50th Anniversary Special:
Buy a combo ticket to Plimoth Plantation & the Mayflower II *at The Jenney Grist Mill and get admission to "The History of Plymouth's Jenney Grist Mill - A Live Presentation" tour FREE! Ticket(s) must be purchased through and paid to The Jenney Grist Mill for this offer to be valid. Tickets may be purchased on the day of your visit.
Adult Combo Ticket $25.00
Child Combo Ticket $15.00
*Valid only when purchased at the Grist Mill. Tickets may be purchased on the day of your visit to the Mill.

Mayflower IIMayflower II, Plymouth MA
Berthed a few steps from Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II is a full-scale reproduction of the type of ship that brought the Pilgrims from England to America in 1620. Even though it's full-scale, the 106 1/2-foot vessel, constructed in England from 1955 to 1957, is remarkably small. Although little technical information about the original Mayflower survives, William A. Baker, designer of the Mayflower II, incorporated the few references in Governor Bradford's account of the voyage with other research to re-create the ship as authentically as possible.

Costumed guides provide interesting first-person narratives about the vessel and voyage, and other interpreters provide a contemporary perspective. Displays describe and illustrate the journey and the Pilgrims' experience, and include an exhibit about 17th-century navigation techniques, and one about the history of the Mayflower II. Plimoth Plantation (listed later in this section), which is 3 miles south of the ship, owns and maintains the vessel. Alongside the ship are museum shops that replicate early Pilgrim dwellings.

Pilgrim Hall Museum
This is a great place to get a sense of the day-to-day lives of Plymouth's first European residents. Many original possessions of the early Pilgrims and their descendants are on display, including one of Myles Standish's swords, Governor Bradford's Bible, and an uncomfortable chair (you can sit in a replica) that belonged to William Brewster. Regularly changing exhibits explore aspects of the settlers' lives, such as home construction or the history of prominent families. Among the permanent exhibits is the skeleton of the Sparrow-Hawk, a ship wrecked on Cape Cod in 1626 that lay buried in the sand until 1863. (It's even smaller than the Mayflower II.) Through April 2005 you can see the temporary exhibit 300 Years of Medicine in the Old Colony. Built in 1824, the Pilgrim Hall Museum is the oldest public museum in the United States.

Plimouth PlantationPlimouth Plantation, Plymouth, MA
Allow at least half a day to explore this re-creation of the 1627 Pilgrim village, which children and adults find equally interesting. Enter by the hilltop fort that protected the village and walk down the hill to the farm area, visiting homes and gardens constructed with careful attention to historic detail. Once you get over the feeling that the whole operation is a bit strange (we heard someone mention Pompeii), talking to the Pilgrims is great fun. They're actors who, in speech, dress, and manner, assume the personalities of members of the original community. You can watch them framing a house, splitting wood, shearing sheep, preserving foodstuffs, or cooking a pot of fish stew over an open hearth, all as it was done in the 1600s, and using only the tools and cookware available then. Sometimes you can join the activities -- perhaps planting, harvesting, witnessing a trial, or visiting a wedding party. Wear comfortable shoes, because you'll be walking a lot.

The plantation is as accurate as research can make it. The planners combined accounts of the original colony with archaeological research, old records, and the history written by the Pilgrims' leader, William Bradford (who often used the spelling "Plimoth"). There are daily militia drills with matchlock muskets that are fired to demonstrate the community's defense system. However, little defense was needed, because the Native Americans who lived nearby were friendly to the pilgrims. Local tribes included the Wampanoags, who are represented near the village at Hobbamock's Homesite (included in plantation admission), where staff show off native foodstuffs, agricultural practices, and crafts.

At the main entrance are two modern buildings that house an interesting orientation show, exhibits, a gift shop, a bookstore, and a cafeteria. There's also a picnic area. Call or surf ahead for information about the numerous special events, lectures, tours, workshops, theme dinners, and children's and family programs offered throughout the season.

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