Yes, New England can be a miserable place in the dead of winter. Boston winters suck! But there are things to do to brighten the mood. And it starts with craft beer! Well, ok – and history too! Last weekend I took a short day trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts – yes – the home of PLYMOUTH ROCK. Small towns like Plymouth, with a tiny historic section, are actually wonderful in the winter because it’s too cold to go to the beach, so you can force yourself to walk a short historic block and read the information boards at the location to brush up on your New England history – which is a fascinating and rich history. And because towns like Plymouth have such small historical centers, it won’t take you long to see everything, so you don't have to freeze in the cold for too long.
Plymouth Rock itself is not super remarkable, but it’s amazing just to stand at the location next to the ocean, and imagine what those pilgrims saw and thought as they landed on that very shore in 1620. (Actually, on a side note, I can probably tell you quite accurately what they thought: “Cursed fate! The chill penetrates the very bones here, the beach is gelid, the wind gusts unforgivably – what ever were we thinking??” They landed in Plymouth in December of 1620, which means that visiting this site in the winter gives you an idea of how the climate and frigid landscape must have appeared to the pilgrims… frightening perhaps?)
Just next to Plymouth Rock is a life-size replica of the original Mayflower boat that brought the first pilgrims to Plymouth. Again, another interesting note about visiting Plymouth in the winter: the boat looks haunting, frozen within the water surrounding it. In the dead of winter, this whole historical shoreline is quite beautiful (in a spooky, gray sort of way). Everything is very still, the shoreline water completely stiff and frozen in place, creating eerily stunning formations and patterns along the shore and rocks. This view alone, even if only for a few chilly minutes, is worth the short drive from Boston…especially if you add onto your itinerary where I went next…
The next stop in town was Mayflower Brewery, which offers 5 fresh, tasty beers to try. Mayflower brews various styles of beer, so there is something for everyone, and informative brewery tours are given on Saturdays. I love discovering all the craft breweries that New England has to offer, and if you haven't already done so, go visit some of these brewing treasure troves (my personal favorites are Cambridge Brewing Company, Allagash Brewery, Portsmouth Brewery and Blue Hills Brewing). If you like beer at all, you will not be disappointed. One thing I like doing in the winter is taking day trips to towns close to Boston that offer some fascinating historical insights. If one of those towns also happens to host a craft brewery…well, that is certainly a plus!