In the Fall of 1974, my parents, my two sisters and I packed up our Ford station wagon and took a road trip to Boston, Massachussetts. The foliage was magnificent as we drove through New York State and my Dad took many pictures. Once in Boston, we visited many historic sites including the Boston Monument where we climbed at least 100 steps. We also took a side trip to Plymouth where we boarded the Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship that re-enacted the original trans-Atlantic voyage of the Pilgrims, in the Spring of 1957 and now sits in Plymouth Harbor, open to visitors. Aboard the Mayflower II, my Dad kept bending his head as we walked over its wooden floors since it was constructed for a much shorter population in those days.
The original Mayflower was 90 feet in length and held 102 passengers, half religious dissenters and half entrepreneurs from England. Looking for religious freedom, the Pilgrims' destination was originally the northern tip of the Virginia Colony; they hoped to anchor at the mouth of the Hudson River. However, bad weather and errors in navigation forced the ship north and after 66 days at sea, they hit land at Cape Cod instead. They settled across Cape Cod Bay at Plymouth. On board the ship, the passengers had written and signed a document called the Mayflower Compact in order to instill order in the new settlement. They signed treaties with the local Indians as well. The first winter was harsh and half of the colonists perished in the first year due to disease. However, by 1621, the Pilgrims' lot began to improve, enjoying a bountiful harvest that Fall, and giving thanks to God with the first official Thanksgiving. By the 1640's, the colony grew to three thousand members and the economy was strong.
Back in the 20th Century, my family and I said goodbye to Plymouth and headed down the Massachussetts Turnpike as the trees blazed red and orange. But not before I made a purchase: a little copper Pilgrim statue. It was in Boston that my love of American History began. Great memories!
Photograph of Mayflower II courtesy http://1.bp.blogspot.com