This once in a lifetime outing is designed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower and the establishment of the first English colony in Massachusetts in 1620. This trip originates in Boston, a city of living history like no other, and continues to historic Plymouth and Provincetown. Along the way you will meet Pilgrims, Puritans, Patriots and Wampanoag tribe members. Explore American history, culture and traditions, as you never have before!
Spring, Summer and Fall
5 Days/4 Nights
DAY 1 - Weekday, Date:
Arrive in Boston by 1:00 pm where you Pilgrim Path to America tour will begin. Meet a local guide and embark on an in depth historical tour regarding the Puritans’ settlement that founded Boston. This fully narrated tour covers all of the sites that make Boston one of the most historically significant cities in the country, including the golden-domed State House, Bunker Hill, Boston Common, Copley Square and Beacon Hill. At the State House, you will see the Mary Dyer Statue, an English and colonial American Puritan- turned-Quaker, who was hung in Boston because she repeatedly defied a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony. You will also see the Anne Hutchinson Memorial. She was a Puritan spiritual adviser, mother of 15 and a key figure in the history of religious freedom in England’s American colonies and the history of women in ministry.
Say goodbye to your guide and travel to the John Alden House Museum. This National Historic Landmark was the home of John Alden and his wife, Priscilla Mullins Alden. John Alden arrived in Plymouth in 1620 aboard the Mayflower. He was the ship’s cooper, trained to make wooden barrels, buckets, tubs, troughs and other staved containers from timber that was usually heated or steamed to make it pliable. Although John Alden was not a Pilgrim himself, he was an important figure throughout the period of the Plymouth Colony. Alden and his relationship with Priscilla Mullins were memorialized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Courtship of Miles Standish, a narrative poem that made the story a piece of American folklore. Your visit includes a guided tour of this historical landmark.
After your tour, board the coach and travel to your Plymouth area hotel, The John Carver Inn and Spa or the Daniel Webster Inn (or similar). This lovely hotel is located in the heart of historic Plymouth and boasts Colonial charm and hospitality combined with contemporary comforts and conveniences.
Once you have settled in, join your co-travelers for a Welcome Reception. It is only fitting to have something “cranberry” to welcome you to Massachusetts! The Cranberry is Massachusetts official State Berry, official State Color and cranberry juice is the official State Beverage. Savor the flavor of Cranberry Chutney spread on a delicious Mini-Cranberry Corn Muffin while enjoying a Cranberry-based cocktail.
After the reception, gather for an included dinner of fabulous New England fare served in the hotel’s lovely dining room.
DAY 2 - Weekday, Date:
After a full hot breakfast at the hotel, meet Leo Martin, author, historian and storyteller, for an eye-opening walking tour of Plymouth. You will visit the Plymouth historic district and the National Monument to the Forefathers, the largest solid freestanding granite monument in the country. Leo, dressed in period costume, will explain the rich history of the Pilgrim story and tell you about the people, places and events that shaped the Colonial Era. Then, follow Leo to the harbor to visit Plymouth Rock. This is a great place for a group photo!
At the end of the tour, everyone will receive a signed copy of Leo’s book, Pilgrim Pursuit of Happiness.
Next, board a vessel for a fascinating, fully narrated tour of Plymouth Harbor. There’s a reason why the Mayflower finally lowered her sails and came to dock in Plymouth Harbor. During the cruise, you’ll learn why!
After you disembark, have lunch on your own at a harbor-side restaurant in Plymouth.
After lunch, travel a short distance to the Mayflower II, a replica of the original merchant ship that brought 102 passengers on a harrowing voyage across the Atlantic in the fall of 1620. You will undoubtedly be struck at how small the ship was, and will wonder how over one hundred people, including three pregnant mothers, could possibly have survived for more than ten weeks of storms and rough seas in such a small space. As you walk the decks, you will encounter costumed role players portraying Pilgrim passengers and members of the ship’s crew, along with modern-day staff and maritime artisans, all of whom are eager to give you a personal, intimate view of life on board the original Mayflower.
Board the coach and travel just down the road to the Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum where replicas of the seventeenth century English Village and a Wampanoag Homesite bring the colonial Plymouth and Native American worlds vividly to life.
Your visit begins when you meet a member of the Wampanoag tribe for a private, one-hour special presentation. Your interpreter will talk to you about the tribe’s history and culture and give you the opportunity to handle and examine Native American objects from the museum’s collection.
Following this enlightening demonstration, spend time on your own exploring all that this enthralling museum has to offer. Visit the English Village, where costumed role players portray actual residents of the 1624 Plymouth Colony and perform tasks such as cooking, planting, needlework, blacksmithing and caring for livestock. They will tell their stories, discuss their day-to-day lives and activities, and answer any questions you may have about the Pilgrim’s world.
Step into the Wampanoag Homesite on the banks of the Eel River and see how the seventeenth century Wampanoag lived along the coast. Although the people you will meet here are dressed in traditional clothing, they are not role players. They are all Native People and speak from a modern perspective about Wampanoag history and culture. You may encounter them planting crops, gathering wild herbs and berries, making reed mats and baskets or cooking over an open fire using only ingredients that were available in the 1600’s. They are proud of their Native heritage and will be happy to welcome you and talk with you about their traditions and stories.
Stay “after hours” at Plimoth Plantation for a special dinner where you will enjoy a traditional Wampanoag Social Feast. This delicious and enlightening experience, hosted by a Museum Educator, will offer you a slice of seventeenth century Native American life as you dine on turkey, venison stew and unique Wampanoag foods featuring fresh seasonal ingredients. Learn about how the way we eat today has been influenced by the meeting of the English and Native American cultures 400 years ago.
DAY 3 - Weekday, Date:
After breakfast at the hotel, board your coach and travel into cranberry country for a captivating tour at AD Makepeace Cranberry Bogs. Learn about the fascinating growing, harvesting and production process of this emblematic New England food.
Next, groups visiting in May, June and early October will visit the Heritage Museums and Gardens:
Arrive at The Heritage Museums and Gardens and embark on a self-guided tour of the largest public garden in Southern New England. The museum and gardens are located on 100 acres of magnificent gentle hiking trails on the banks of the Shawne Pond. The Heritage is especially famous for being the North American Hydrangea Test Garden, the most comprehensive in the US. During your visit, witness the abundant Hydrangeas and other various flowers in bloom. The Heritage Museum offers three gallery buildings housing permanent exhibits of world-class automobiles, a working vintage carousel and American folk art. During your visit, enjoy an included “picnic lunch.”
Groups visiting mid October will visit the Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen. Followed by an included lunch at an eatery in Sandwich:
The Green Briar Nature Center and Museum is located in a quiet corner of Cape Cod – a sanctuary of peace and beauty. Author, Thornton Burgress, a Sandwich native, was a naturalist and conservationist. He loved the beauty of nature and its living creatures so much that he wrote about them for 50 years. By the time he retired, he had written more than 170 books including The Adventures of Peter Cottontail and 15,000 stories for daily columns in newspapers.
One of Thornton’s employer’s, William C. Chipman, lived on Discovery Hill Road, a wildlife habitat of woodland and wetland. This habitat became the setting of so many of Thornton’s stories in which he refers to Smiling Pool and the Old Briar Patch.
The Green Briar is also the home of the Green Briar Jam Kitchen. Ever since Ida Putnam began the Jam Kitchen in 1903, visitors have come to Green Briar to savor the aromas of fresh fruits cooking on the stove or in the heat of the sun. Your visit includes a tour of this “living museum” where you will witness the cooking process. The kitchen still operates using Ida’s recipes and preparing the jams, jellies, relishes and pickles the “old fashioned way” in the turn-of-the-century kitchen. During your visit, there will be time to enjoy a fall foliage walk along the trails of the famous Briar Patch where Peter Rabbit was created, explore the Thornton Burgess museum gallery, visit the turtles and rabbits and shop for jams, jellies and other products made in the Jam Kitchen.
Next, visit the amazing Sandwich Glass Museum for a look at this small town’s large role in American glass production. Tour the fascinating exhibits and watch glassblowers turn and twist hot glass into wonderful forms and shapes.
After your time at the museum, join a museum docent and set out on a walking tour of the “Town that Glass Built.” Your tour will take you through the streets of this quintessential and unique New England village. See sites such as the Hoxie House, one of the oldest houses on Cape Cod, the 1637 Dexter Grist Mill, still in operation today and the 17th century home of Deacon Cornelius Eldred. Along the way, your guide will tell you stories of the famous and not so famous residents of Sandwich and talk about this region steeped in history.
As you begin your travels back to the hotel, explore the hidden joys of the Cape at the renowned Dan’l Webster Inn. The Inn is proudly recognized as a Distinguished Restaurant of North America, placing it in the top 1% of restaurants in the country. Enjoy a savory buffet dinner followed by a unique Cabaret performance.
DAY 4 - Weekday, Date:
Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel before you board the coach for an exciting day on Cape Cod. The Wampanoags lived on the Cape for thousands of years and the Mayflower sailed its shores for five weeks in search for a place to land before heading across the bay to Plymouth.
Your first stop offers a captivating introduction to Cape Cod’s natural history. This special tour led by an amazing team of naturalists will provide you with a learning experience unique to the Cape.
Follow them on walk through the salt marsh ecosystems and along seashores. You will find and identify animals and plants with the help of a mobile science lab that includes plankton nets, microscopes, water chemistry kits and identification tools.
Say goodbye to the crew, board the coach and continue your travels through the Cape. Along the way, you will pick up your local guide who will be with you for the rest of the day. This lifetime Cape Codder, a retired school teacher and international educator, will fill you in on Cape Cod history as you make your way towards Provincetown. This historic village at the very tip of the peninsula was the site of the Mayflower’s first landing in the New World.
As you travel up the coast, stop at First Encounter Beach, site of the first meeting between Pilgrims and Native Americans. Here is your chance to walk in the footsteps of your English forefathers and the native Wampanoags!
Continue on to Provincetown and upon your arrival, have lunch on your own in one of the many local eateries.
In Provincetown, your guide will bring you to the Pilgrim Monument. This 252-foot high granite tower overlooking the harbor was built to commemorate the Pilgrims’ first landing here in November of 1620. If you choose to walk the 116 steps and 60 ramps to the top, you will be rewarded with the most spectacular view on Cape Cod. From your birds-eye perch, gaze out over Providence Harbor where the Pilgrims and other passengers wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact before landing. You’re certain to be moved as you witness the site of the creation of a document so important in shaping the history of America. (Don’t worry – if you don’t climb up, the Monument is on a hill and there’s still a great view from the base!)
The Provincetown Museum is your next stop. This charming, old-fashioned history museum features exhibits highlighting the arrival of the Pilgrims, the town’s rich maritime history and the contributions of Provincetown to American theater. A recreation of a nineteenth century sea captain’s parlor at his land-based home and his quarters while at sea, helps bring Provincetown’s history to life.
Now it’s time to step out of history and into present day fun when you visit the famous towering sand dunes of the incredible Cape Cod National Seashore. Climb into four-wheel drive SUV’s and head out on an adventurous tour of the majestic dunes. You will see “dune shacks” where famous artists and writers like Eugene O’Neill and Harry Kemp became inspired to create their art. You will also pass the remains of the Peaked Hill Life Saving Station and learn how the brave “life savers” enacted their heroic efforts to save the lives of thousands from the doomed shipwrecks!
Leave the dunes and begin your travels back to your hotel. Along the way, stop for a Farewell Dinner at a spectacular venue near the Swan River. Dinner features a traditional New England Clam Bake complete with steamah’s, chowdah and fresh, steamed lobstah’. There’s even selections for the landlubbers in your group.
After dinner, gather round for sounds of the 50’s and 60’s performed by local resident, Don Who. Don has performed at Resorts’ Casino in Atlantic City, in the Superstar Theatre and in the Vegas Production, “V, The Ultimate Variety Show” alongside many other well-known entertainers. Sing along and dance along and celebrate America’s heritage.
After an action-packed day and fun-filled evening, return to your hotel. Along the way, say goodbye to your guide.
DAY 5 - Weekday, Date:
After breakfast in the hotel, pack your bags and check out of your rooms. Begin your travels home filled with knowledge and respect for those who paved the way!