Visiting the ship Mayflower II is an extraordinary experience. The original Mayflower that sailed to Plymouth in 1620 no longer exists. Plimoth Plantation's full-scale reproduction, Mayflower II, was built in Devon, England and crossed the Atlantic in 1957. The details of the ship, from the solid oak timbers and tarred hemp rigging to the wood and horn lanterns and hand-colored maps, have been carefully re-created to give you a sense of what the original 17th-century vessel was like. Come aboard and learn about the 1620 voyage of Mayflower, the perils of maritime travel, and the tools of 17th-century navigation. Explore the cramped quarters of the ship's passengers. Peer down into the lower level "hold," where the food, clothing, furniture, tools and other items necessary to start a colony were stored. Admire the "spacious" Master's cabin, and compare it to the wet and windy accommodations of the common sailors. You will also hear the tale of a modern Englishman's dream to build and sail Mayflower II as a symbol of American and British unity after World War II.
Like most people, I was immediately struck by how small the ship seemed - particularly in the 'tween decks, where the passengers were confined. How could 102 people, including three pregnant mothers, have survived more than ten weeks in a space this size?
"At Sea with the Pilgrims: Writing About the Voyage of the Mayflower"
Plimoth Life, 2007
"Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, [we] fell upon [our] knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought [us] over the vast and furious ocean."
- William Bradford
Mayflower II has many stories to tell and many people to tell them. You will meet staff in modern-day clothing who speak from a present-day perspective. They can talk with you about the original Mayflower as well as the reproduction vessel Mayflower II. Alongside are reproductions of a 17th-century shallop and a ship's boat. You may recognize this ship's boat from the Emmy-nominated PBS series Colonial House or the film, The New World.
On board, you may also meet role players in period costume who will share their personal accounts of shipboard life, as they play the part of sailors or Mayflower passengers. For more information about your visit to Mayflower II, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.
Step aboard, breathe in the sea air and experience the many fascinating stories of two historic Mayflowers!
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by Nathaniel Philbrick
A Story of Courage, Community and War tackles the story of the Pilgrims from their arrival in 1620 through King Philip's War.Buy Online