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Allow at least half a day to explore this re-creation of the 1627 English village, which children and adults find equally interesting. Enter by the hilltop fort that protected the village and walk down to the farm area, visiting homes and gardens along the way. Although the experience can be a bit disorienting at first, talking to the "Pilgrims" is great fun. They're actors who, in speech, dress, and manner, assume the personalities of members of the original community. You can watch them framing a house, splitting wood, shearing sheep, preserving foodstuffs, or cooking a pot of fish stew over an open hearth, all as it was done in the 1600s and using only the tools and cookware available then. Sometimes you can join the activities -- perhaps planting, harvesting, witnessing a trial, or visiting a wedding party. Note: Wear comfortable shoes, because you'll be walking a lot.

The plantation is as accurate as research can make it, constructed with careful attention to historical detail. The planners combined accounts of the original colony with archaeological research, old records, and the history written by the Pilgrims' leader, William Bradford (who often used the spelling "Plimoth"). There are daily militia drills with matchlock muskets that are fired to demonstrate the community's defense system. In fact, little defense was needed, because the Native Americans were friendly. Local tribes included the Wampanoags, who are represented near the village at a replica of a homesite (included in plantation admission), where staff members show off native foodstuffs, agricultural practices, and crafts.

At the main entrance are two modern buildings that house exhibits, a gift shop, a bookstore, a cafeteria, and an auditorium where visitors can view a film produced by the History Channel. There's also a picnic area. Call or surf ahead for information about the numerous special events, lectures, tours, workshops, theme dinners, and children's and family programs offered throughout the season.