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Visitor looks at Plymouth Rock, is not impressed
By adamg on Mon, 09/12/2022 - 9:44am
It can be hard to agree with what Texans or New Yorkers have to say about our fair state, but Lawrence Wright, a Texan who writes for the New Yorker, isn't exactly wrong when he observes:
Plymouth Rock has to be one of the most unremarkable artifacts of American history.
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It is at the very least the lamest historical tourist
attraction in the Commonwealth. I have dissuaded many visitors from wasting their time on it.
Plymouth Rock and the Blarney stone are in the same category for me. Waste of time. Too many other historical sites to visit, learn and enjoy.
The Blarney Stone is stupid,
The Blarney Stone is stupid, but if nothing else it's a unique experience to actually do the kissing part and be held in place so you don't fall. Visiting Plymouth Rock means looking at a boulder in the sand.
Visiting Plymouth rock means peering down on a diminutive but otherwise completely ordinary rock that appears to have done something very wrong is being shamed in pit prison while the gentry looks down and snickers.
The real Plymouth Rock
Recently journeyed to Plymouth Bay to see Pulpit Rock on Clarks Island. Many say Pulpit Rock is the Plymouth Rock. The pilgrims on Sunday, had their first church service there. Pulpit Rock is on the highest point if the island.
"Boulder" is generous.
It used to be much larger
Souvenir collectors chipped away a lot of it. (See the Toqueville quote below.) That's why they built the cage.
I've had time to kill in Plymouth a couple times
There are worse ways to spend a few minutes than watching the befuddlement and disappointment in tourists' faces as they see what they made the trip to see...JUST a few minutes, mind you, then it's off to the Lobster Hut
Tell your friends
To go to Provincetown. We have a pretty impressive monument to the Pilgrims here. Just don’t take the new funicular. It’s stupid.
Plymouth rock is probably the worst
But the Liberty Bell in Philly is pretty underwhelming too.
As a colonial history buff
I will say I have been there to see the rock of my own volition (spoiler alert: it may not even be the real rock! And if it is, it’s not the entire one since it’s been split).
If you’re being taken there, it’s bleh. For most 12-year-olds I’d imagine a trip to the arcade would be 1000x better. But I could spend all afternoon there.
Pilgrim Hall is cool, too.
I don't remember quite how it happened
But our fifth grade class was somehow spared the otherwise obligatory field trip to see the overhyped pebble.
Come to be underwhelmed by a
Come to be underwhelmed by a rock in a pit, stay to gorge yourself on fried sea critters at Wood's.
The best thing about Plymouth Rock
The best thing about Plymouth Rock is its appearance in the opening scenes of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonados , a film that's decidedly in the Bad Movies category.
Did somebody mention Stonados?
how did I not know
How did I not know about this movie?
Oh right.. it just looks bad.
I might have to watch it to make fun of the on scene location shots....
But yeah it looks like some TV movie they would show at 3am on Discovery. Right after Sharknado.
“Set” in Boston, filmed in Victoria, BC.
The MarVista production logo looks awfully similar to the logo for Castle Rock.
See it for free
I must see this IMMEDIATELY
It's looks wicked awesome.
That's quite a bit of chutzpah
Gotta tip my cap to the company that made it for actually putting "Entertainment" in their name.
It's not even (confirmed to be) THE rock
More than a hundred years after the Pilgrims landed, someone decided to call some random rock "THE rock". And so the fun began.
Pilgrims may or may not have stepped upon the rock.
This reminds me of my mother who was "disappointed" with her Hawaiian honeymoon because volcanoes weren't actively erupting.
I little research goes a long way, haha!
Although it receives a
Although it receives a fraction of the attention, the nearby "National Monument to the Forefathers" is more spectacular and the stories behind it no less interesting -even for those of us who don't worship the Forefathers.
Plymouth Rock, Liberty Bell and celebrating history.
Plymouth Rock was noted by de Tocqueville: "
(From Wikepedia article about Plymouth Rock.)
But it is a minor piece of historical material than the Liberty Bell. Why? Perhaps the answer can be summed in the Boston Globe editorial from 2011 concerning building a museum to Boston history.
Philadelphia on the other hand - and this may be a vital part of why The Liberty Bell remains famous - has Independence Mall where artifacts, architecture, etc. are consolidated and more easily visited.
This is especially true for The Liberty Bell. For years it was maintained in the State House and now has its own shrine like, cathedral inspired building where it is the climax of the building. Plymouth Rock has a handsome architectural cover which is exposed to the elements. The Liberty Bell is in a building that uses both basilica like style along with "chapels" that dwelve into the history of The Liberty Bell from its casting to today.
The Liberty Bell also has the advantage of symbolism based in US history instead of European discovery or conquering (depending on one's perspective).
While Plymouth Rock is not in Boston it seems to me that both Plymouth Rock and US history in Boston (from founding to present) both suffer from generally disjointed, almost laissez faire attitudes regarding what the sites, icons, symbols and architecture of US history that abounds in the area.
Not unlike the general (public?) attitude toward the T. Something necessary, which millions each years use, and yet its necessity and importance to the region are still ultimately not the highest priority in the public mind. Not being of the highest priority in the public mind results in these institutions (the celebration history or public transportation) always left unable to live out the greatest potential of these institutions.
There's a relic of the true cross in the Boston City Archives
The first Post Office in the Colonies was established in Boston in 1639. Puritans in England mailed a sliver to their counterparts who had settled in Dorchester in 1630. The handwriting was illegible, and the parcel sat in the unclaimed office, until Boston was incorporated in 1822. Anything thought to have historic value was delivered to ISD, and most of those items were promptly lost or stolen. Luckily the relic did not relate to permitting, so it remained until ISD moved to 1010 Mass Ave. During that move, anything having historic value was transferred to the Archives.
The "true" cross
If you could gather up all of the slivers throughout history purported to be the true cross you would probably be forced to agree that MC 900 Foot Jesus was the true savior.
That's part of the miracle.
John Calvin would not be pleased. Protestantism in general, and Calvinism in particular, abandoned the veneration of relics. What were Massachusetts Puritans, such pure Calvinists that they couldn't bear to live among mere Anglicans, doing with a piece of the True Cross? These were people who outlawed the celebration of Christmas. Was there a secret relic-venerating faction in Dorchester? Did they have any connection to the Knights Templar? I'm sorry for my skepticism, but you have shaken my world view, and it's only Monday.
Tablet Rock in Gloucester is kind of impressive. Not in a geological sense, but considering it is a rock that commemorates European settlement in Massachusetts, it's the best.
Has this Texan ever visited the Alamo. It's more disappointing than Plymouth Rock, and there wasn't even a basement.
Oh it is
I was dragged there because it was along the riverwalk (if you can call a brown murky stream a 'river').
You think its going to be this massive fort or something. Nope. Its very small and in a downtown area so it's between some taller buildings.
Comparison.. Old State House.
I'll give Old State House credit, there's at least something to see and read in there. The Alamo was just boring.
Rocks can be impressive
I was expecting something like Morro Rock, so naturally I was pretty disappointed. Fortunately, I had not come to Plymouth just to see a rock, but rather for an outdoor concert next to the seashore.