It is hard to believe that this year marks the 400 year anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower to the “New World.”
New Englanders now have even more reason to celebrate this historic event with the much anticipated return of the Mayflower II, an exact replica of the original 1620 Mayflower ship that has been under major renovations for the past few years.
The Mayflower II was originally built in Brixham, England and completed in 1956. Designed by MIT-trained naval architect, William Avery Baker for Plimoth Plantation, the replica vessel was a gift from the people of England to the American people in honor of friendships that were formed during WWII.
Since its arrival to Plimoth Plantation in 1957, the Mayflower II has been on display as an educational exhibit.
However, after years of exposure to the elements, the sailing vessel was in need of major renovations.
Because the Mayflower II was in such disrepair, in 2016 it was brought to the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, where it received an $11M restoration that took more than three years to complete.
After thousands of manhours done by over 100 workers, more than 75 percent of this replica ship is now brand new.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the long awaited return of the Mayflower II and its crew was postponed several times in the last few months.
The original trip home to Plimoth Plantation consisted of several stops in Southern New England before returning home. This included a trip into Boston Harbor, escorted by the U.S.S. Constitution to mark the 400th anniversary of the original Mayflower voyage, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, the maritime celebration was canceled.
The ship was also scheduled to stop in Newport, RI, but was canceled last minute due to Gov. Charlie Baker’s two week travel quarantine that would have been required for all crew members after leaving Rhode Island and returning to Massachusetts.
On Monday, Aug. 10, the Mayflower II finally made its welcome return home to Plymouth, but not all of the return voyage home was smooth sailing.
An unscheduled stop was made by the Mayflower II to shelter in the protected waters of New Bedford during Tropical Storm Isaias. The ship then moved on to Bourne before heading home down the Cape Cod Canal.
The Mayflower II is now on exhibit at it’s permanent home of Plimoth Plantation, located at 137 Warren Ave. in Plymouth.
Plimoth Plantation is now offering many indoor and outdoor exhibits celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, including tours of the newly renovated Mayflower II.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, reservations are required and tickets must be purchased in advance.
To view a calendar of events at Plimoth Plantation and for information of purchasing tickets, visit www.plimoth.org.