On July 10th, 1994, we left home in the middle of the night to travel to Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was another hybrid trip; Dad would work during the day, and we would tour in the evening. Dad did take off Friday that week for touring.
Our first stop on the trip was to pick up a box of Hardy Boys books that were in my Dad’s family since he was a child, and were passed from person to person. I started to read the Hardy Boys series in sixth grade. My paternal aunt had the books, and agreed to box them, and put them on her porch to be picked up on our way to Plymouth. We got the books on our way to I-81 which was the first major leg of our journey. The books were in a Hamilton Beach blender box also written as “H.B”. My brother Dave joked that the H.B. stood for Hardy Boys books. I had to wait for the sun to rise, to get good lighting before looking at the books.
I received Hardy Boys Book Number 9 The Great Airport Mystery, which was a book that I wasn’t sure if it would be good at the time due to not knowing much about airplanes. What did attract me to the book was that it was number nine, a number I liked. To my dismay, book number twenty-two (a number I didn’t like) was also included.
Eventually, we reached our hotel which was a Sheraton Inn on Water Street. After checking in, and taking our luggage to the room, we went and toured Water Street. At the edge of the Sheraton property was a set of shops known as the Village Landing Marketplace. They were located conveniently to our hotel, and contained some touristy shops and an ice cream shop.
When we walked down Water Street, we passed a building containing a number of stores. The balloons on the sign caught my attention. Peaceful Meadows Ice Cream had a location there on the waterfront, and had balloons on the sign to advertise one of their new ice cream treats. The balloons had a picture of a cow in an oval with the words “Peaceful Meadows Farm.” Next to them was Miller’s Country Store, which I knew as “Something Delicious” as that is what was painted on their large window. They also had a cluster of smaller balloons above their door. I liked walking past these two stores to look at the balloons.
You may wonder the point in mentioning this? As a young child I was scared of balloons, and recoiled at the sight of them. Years later, sometime after Dave was born, I became interested in them. Though I still didn’t like the texture of balloons, or when they popped, I started to admire them from afar. My parents did not know this, but Dave figured it out. I was in a hurry every day to see the balloons they would blow up and tie to the railing by their store, since balloons don’t hold up well in the heat.
Plymouth rock was a lot smaller than expected. The reason being, according to a tour guide, was that for many years Plymouth rock wasn’t protected. Tourists could sit on it, and would take pieces home with them for souvenirs! Eventually a protective structure was built around it to keep people off of it, and to protect it. In spite of this, it didn’t disappoint me. “1620” was carved in to the rock which was the year that the pilgrims landed at Plymouth on the Mayflower. The rock was the first thing that we wanted to see when we arrived.
Mom liked looking around in gift shops, so we went back to the building by the Peaceful Meadows so she could browse in the gift shops. Soft as a Grape was a clothing store on the far end of the complex. The next store was Miller’s Country Store, but in between was a hallway with a tall staircase leading to a nice seafood restaurant that offered a view over Plymouth Harbor. Miller’s Country Store had a foldable sign in the hallway with a yellow helium balloon attached to it. Inside, Mom and I saw they had Jelly Belly jellybeans, which I planned on purchasing later to take home with me. If I bought them in the here and now, I would be tempted to eat them during the vacation. Mom was looking at the fudge and taffy, which she came back and bought at a later time. One oddity I noticed was that I couldn’t actually find Peaceful Meadows, the advertised ice cream shop. I noticed on the second visit to the candy store that the door we entered was the door by the metal post that the balloons were tied to. The door went to the candy store, and not Peaceful Meadows! So where was Peaceful Meadows? Maybe we will find out!
We had supper at Lobster Hut, a small restaurant located by our hotel. The name reminded me of Pizza Hut, only with the word “lobster.” We tried their fried shrimp and lobster combo. Everyone liked the shrimp as to be expected, though Mom and Dad thought the fried lobster was too rich and greasy. I really enjoyed the fried lobster.
At the Village Landing Marketplace there was more shopping for Mom. While at the market place, we went to the ice cream shop for dessert. I discovered that this was also a Peaceful Meadows. I chose peach ice cream in a cone (which was the special for the month of July), and Dave picked watermelon sherbet in a dish. Their dishes were interesting. They were white with vertical blue lines, which reminded me of the sky from the stages of Winter Wonderland from Super Mario Bros. 3, which had slanted blue lines. As it turned out, we would get ice cream from Peaceful Meadows every night we were in Plymouth! (The URL is http://peacefulmeadows.com)
Back at the hotel we went to the pool area as was our custom to do on vacations. We looked at the pool and whirlpool, but discovered that Dave and I weren’t allowed in their whirlpool. They had an age limit of sixteen years old on it. Kind of strange in my opinion, as Dave and I had been in many whirlpools other places. We did go in the pool. I was bothered about the rule, and wasn’t able to forget about it. Maybe an internal perseveration?
The next day, Dad started working while we stayed in the hotel room. In the evenings, we all would go out to explore. We toured Water Street again. We got our picture taken with a wooden Mayflower along the wharf, as well as the wharf itself. We took a boat ride in Plymouth harbor. It gave us a unique view of Water Street, and more importantly of Plymouth rock. Supper this night was at Mamma Mia’s Restaurant. We went back to the pool again, but this time I made peace with the rules about the whirlpool, and enjoyed swimming in the Sheraton’s pool.
Tuesday, Mom was more adventurous. Mom, Dave and I walked down Water Street ourselves to get lunch. We stopped at Al’s Pizza. They had a Super Mario World arcade machine that Dave begged and begged to be able to play! Mom said, “No.” The significance of the machine was that the arcade version of Super Mario World supposedly had extra stages not included in the retail version of the game.
In the evening we planned to go to Isaac’s Restaurant, which was the nice seafood restaurant at the top of the steps that I mentioned earlier. We went in and made it as far as the desk, and the host told us there was a wait of over an hour. Dad asked about reservations which they didn’t take either. So needless to say, that was one restaurant we didn’t get to eat at. We did go to the pool that evening. Dave taught me a new way to play in the water. He called it “Zone D” tricks, which were maneuvers performed in the water that was supposed to be similar to the way enemy characters acted in Zone D from the video game, Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers. I found this to be a lot of fun.
Dad suggested that we go to the local beach the next day. He said it wasn’t that far away. So, on July 13th, we spent the day at the beach while Dad worked. Dave and I went to the edge of the water, and let the cool water flow over our feet. We looked for seashells. Dave found a lobster claw! Thinking that it smelled bad, he gave it to me. To his surprise, I was excited to receive the claw. When Dave found it, I wished that I was the one who had discovered it. Dave regretted his decision in giving it to me after seeing my reaction to the “gift.” The beach also had rocks that people could sit on. Children were not supposed to play on them. Mom enjoyed watching the birds at the beach. She brought her camera along, and enjoyed taking pictures of them.
When Dad was finished working for the day, we took another look at Plymouth rock and also went to look at the Massasoit Statue. He was also known as “Chief Yellow Feather,” and was a big help to the early settlers in the Plymouth Colony. I remembered from the list of available Hardy Boys books that number thirty-three was named, The Yellow Feather Mystery, and thought it had to do with Chief Yellow Feather. I wondered if it was one of the new books I received. It wasn’t. Many years later I actually had a chance to read The Yellow Feather Mystery, and though it wasn’t about Massasoit, I still felt it was a good book.
For supper that evening we ate at McGraph’s Restaurant which was on the wharf. Due to going to the beach earlier in the day, I decided that I wanted to buy some seashells for my collection as a souvenir. After looking around the stores, I found a large basket of seashells that I purchased.
Thursday night was a big night for me. It started out normally by going to a few more attractions. We visited the National Monument to the Forefathers before going to the Mayflower II. The Mayflower II was a replica of the Mayflower, and the workers were “in character.” You’d ask them a question, and they would give an answer in vogue with what a person would say in the 1600s in the Plymouth colony. Supper was at the restaurant at the John Carver Inn. I had my first whole lobster! They provided a paper bib to wear so my shirt wouldn’t get messy from extracting meat from the lobster. When I thought I would check the head for meat, I found a gooey green substance that I didn’t eat. Dave said that it was lobster brains.
As usual we went to Peaceful Meadows for dessert. This time we were at the waterfront. I suggested that instead of going to the Peaceful Meadows up at Village Landing we go to the waterfront location. To my surprise, we actually went to that location! I had been wanting to go to that location since the first night, though previously it didn’t happen. When walking on the sidewalk I absentmindedly ran my hand on the railing as we were walking until I saw the balloons looming ahead. I removed my hand from the railing. This location was tiny and tucked into the corner of the building. It was perpendicular with the other businesses in the building. That’s why I couldn’t figure out where it was located in the building. It’s easy to miss from both the street, and from leaving the candy shop.
Friday was our last day in Plymouth. Dad took the day off, so we could go to Plimouth Plantation. It was a site a little way out of town, and was set up to resemble Plymouth from its colonial days. The buildings were built in style of colonial buildings. The people were dressed for the time period, and like the Mayflower II, conversed with tourists as if they were in Plymouth in the 1600s. It was very educational, and a great way to learn about colonial life in Plymouth.
We also went to Cranberry World. Ocean Spray, started to make Craisins (dried cranberries) in 1993, and had an exhibit that showed how craisins were made. It included pictures of the cranberry bogs and of the various pieces of equipment employed to make craisins. I was reminded that Cranberry World offered small cups of all their different types of juices that they offered that we enjoyed. We made a third, but final trip to the candy store so I could purchase my jellybeans to take home. We also packed, as we were leaving early the next day.
On Saturday morning, we checked out of our hotel, and went on U.S. 44 to head home. On the way down, I had thought the road was straight and long, as by then I was tired of riding and wanted to arrive at our destination. This time I paid attention to the scenery on the highway. It was actually a winding road that went through various small towns. There were several times the driver had to make a turn to continue following the highway. It only became like a highway towards I-295, the road connecting to the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90.)
Our vacation to Plymouth was another great vacation. Though Dad was working during the day most of the time through the week, being a touristy town, we got to tour a lot of places. I was also lucky enough to be able to eat plenty of ice cream while on the trip.
The URL to my blog, Tom’s Tidbits is www.tomstidbits.net for those who do not know, and would like to read my blog.