The History Of Plymouth Rock

Image provided by

Image provided by

Want to experience one of the most historic things to do on Cape Cod?

Head to Plymouth Rock in Plymouth MA.

Historic Cape Cod Attractions

Plymouth Rock is a ultra-popular Cape Cod tourist attraction around Thanksgiving – or any time of year.

According to legend, Plymouth Rock is the boulder upon which the Pilgrims landed when they arrived at the location of their permanent settlement in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. Most first-time visitors to “the rock” are a bit startled by its smallness. How could such a monumental artifact in American history be so tiny?

Plymouth Rock Legend And Lore

According to, the residents of Plymouth who first set out to preserve the symbolic rock in 1774 had the unpleasant experience of watching the rock split in two when a team of oxen attempted to raise it. Only the upper portion of Plymouth Rock left the waterfront originally for display in the Town Square.

Thereafter, greedy souvenir seekers who wanted to bring home a “piece of the rock” caused further deterioration until Plymouth Rock was moved to safety inside an iron fence at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in 1834. It had a rough trip to the museum, though, falling off its conveyance thus causing its distinctive crack.

Meantime, The Pilgrim Society acquired the other half of Plymouth Rock in 1859, and in 1867, a Plymouth Rock canopy structure was completed at the waterfront to house it. Unfortunately, the canopy was not large enough to hold the whole rock, so a few pieces had to be hacked off and sold as souvenirs.

Finally, in 1880, the upper chunk was cemented to the lower piece of Plymouth Rock – and “1620,” the date of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Plymouth, was permanently carved into the rock.

Plymouth Rock, though a bit battered by time, remains a powerful tribute to the courage of the Mayflower passengers who founded the land we know as New England.

Today the rock is housed within the smallest state park in Massachusetts, Pilgrim Memorial State Park, which is visited by nearly one million people each year.

An Easy Day Trip!

Hop in the car and see Plymouth Rock for yourself. If you’re staying at a hotel on Cape Cod…  going to Plymouth easy day trip from the lower Cape region.

To get there, simply follow Route 3 South to Route 44 (Plymouth). Follow 44 East to the waterfront.

Plymouth Rock is always open – rain, snow or shine – and is free to the public.


Bookmark and Share