Going Ashore

Plymouth has a working waterfront in the modern sense: whale watching, charter fishing, restaurants, motels and shops all cater to the town's visitors. Commercial fishermen and ferries use the big wharves.

Most prominent on the harbor is Mayflower II, a 1950's reproduction of the ship seminal in New England mythology. Onboard, surprisingly well-informed interpreters describe the Pilgrims' voyage, illuminating the techniques and hardships of 17th century seafaring.

If you push beyond the gift shops ringing Mayflower and the nearby, uh, temple, you can find half a dozen attractive little parks and gardens along the waterfront. There is a Pilgrim Trail that follows Town Brook a mile and a half inland from Brewster Gardens.

The Town Wharf, at the north end of the harbor, is home to the whale watching and fishing fleets, and a magnet to shops and restaurants.

Main Street, parallel to Water Street and one block in, is an extensive and vibrant downtown commercial district. You'll find antique shops and art galleries, along with Mexican, Thai, Indian, and pizza, plus a cafe or two with wi-fi.

Did I forget to mention the Rock?

temple and harbor
Geoff Rand
Looking over the the Plymouth Rock Temple to the mooring area and breakwater.
brewster gardens
Geoff Rand
This little bridge over Town Brook in the pretty, quiet Brewster Gardens is a short walk from the harbor. According to a sign in the Gardens: "The brook was a major contributing factor in the Pilgrims' decision to settle at Plymouth." Champlain may have derogated it, but the spring-fed source of water must have looked good to anyone getting off the Mayflower.

One Hour Ashore

Visit Plymouth Rock, in its outsize, Greekish Temple just south of Mayflower, and you'll still have 55 minutes to walk around town.

Off the Beaten Path

Even on a busy day in the fall, the gardens seemed to attract more ducks than people

Maritime History

Mayflower.

Or you can walk about a mile north from the Town Wharf along the waterfront to the mill complex of the former Plymouth Cordage Company. They manufactured rope on the site from 1824 through the 1960's; at one point they were the largest ropemakers in the world.

Rainy Day

Plymouth sprawls a bit farther than it's comfortable to explore on a truly rainy day, and the big attraction, Plimouth Plantation, is 3 miles out of town.

Pilgrim Hall Museum completed a major renovation - including a wing for changing exhibits and a new installation of their permanent exhibits - in May 2008. It's located just a block up from the waterfront.

Facilities

  • Launch
  • Dinghy
  • Showers
  • Restrooms
  • Trash
  • Info

The PYC launch (VHF 08) will take you to the clubhouse. Plymouth Harbor Launch Service ("Lightening" on 09) runs service to the Town Wharf, and charges per person.

There are dinghy docks at the State Pier (by Mayflower) and at the Town Wharf.

The yacht club and Brewer's have showers. Public restrooms are also available at the State Pier, along with lots of trash barrels for a small discreet off-load.

On Water St, by the Town Wharf, is a Tourist Info Center.