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Back in January of this year I received an email from a dear friend’s wife. Kathie was planning a surprise 50th Birthday and a Half party for her husband Kevin and this was to take place in July. His birthday was in January but they wanted to celebrate in July and have a BBQ. We exchanged emails for our surprise visit and we made plans for a Plymouth, Provence Town and Boston visit.

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Birthday and 1/2

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We flew into Boston and drove to Exceter for a 3 night stay. Kevin lived in the next town and we headed up the next day for the BBQ.

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I had been in contact with the band that was playing and with Kathie’s help we parked at the end of their very long driveway before walking through the woods to circle around behind the band. The leader of the band handed me a cordless microphone and I began to recap Kevin’s and myself’s history over the PA system. Kevin did a triple take recognizing my voice ( I had told him that we were not traveling this year) and we hugged before the roasting began. It was playful and fun and I kept it rated PG while Kevin sat in a chair for all to see.

The BBQ was excellent and their place was very nice sitting on a few acres, with a pool and a huge basement. It was an estate to us Southern Californians who are used to small yards and crowded neighborhoods. They have done well. I felt proud of them and was honored to be a part of his 50th birthday.

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Later that night he set off fireworks. Big loud fireworks that again we could never have done at our house. What a way to wrap up a fantastic day.

Zildjian Factory Tour

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The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and headed back to Quincy Mass to the Zildjian factory. The Zildjian cymbal factory is the oldest family business in America starting in 1929.  The tour was great and I was gobsmacked by the sheer volume of cymbals and the money they represented.

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The tour started with little blobs of metal soon to be cymbals and ended with the guy who tests the cymbals. The historical drum sets and cymbals left me star struck. I touched Buddy Rich’s drum set and didn’t get arrested. Marla enjoyed it too and enjoyed watching me enjoy it.

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I was in the zone. Maybe you have to be a drummer…

Allan-Bucket List, check.

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As the Cookie Crumbles…

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We rolled into Plymouth and settled into an ubiquitous Hampton Inn with the requisite Italian restaurant clone across the parking lot. Once again there were no cookies available upon our arrival and we were miffed. Hampton Inn has spoiled us with warm cookies on check in and this was the second time we got stiffed! Truly a first world problem. No cookies the next day either, and we were always there “just after they ran out”. Yet we noticed the leftover crumbs and bits of cookies looked exactly the same each time we passed the lobby. Perhaps Nightline, 20/20 or 60 Minutes should look into this and get it sorted out for the Browns.

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Mayflower People

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Marla had traced her ancestry back to the Mayflower and had discovered that she was a descendant of two of the Mayflower people: John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. John was a cooper on the Mayflower.  Priscilla came with her shoemaker parents William and Alice Mullins and her brother Joseph.

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Unfortunately her family was amongst the 45 of the 102 pilgrims that perished that winter of 1620-21.  The immigrants were buried on Coles Hill where there names have been memorialized  in stone.

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John and Priscilla were later married.  Years later their union was immortalized by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Longfellow wrote the romanticized poem “ The Coutship of Miles Standish”.  In this  literature it describes the love triangle between Miles, Priscilla and John.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Courtship_of_Miles_Standish

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The Alden’s were her 11th great grandparents and we had wanted to check out their house and the early pilgrim village.

71294280-BFFD-42B4-9120-C7CB064CC2F9Marla-Bucket list, check.

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So after the “Cookie Incident”, we headed towards the historic downtown. We made our way along the bay near Plymouth Rock to find some parking before getting giddy over a gift shop.  With disbelief there stood before us was the John Alden gift shop!

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It was hard to believe that Marla’s descendant’s name was over a Gift Shop. So, we had to have a photo op, and buy some souvenirs. She bought the coffee mug that read “I’m a Descendant of John Alden”. However we did not get a family discount and not even a smile for asking, like they must hear that all the time.

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Across the street was the Plymouth rock which honestly paled in comparison to Marla’s 11th great grand dad’s gift shop.

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The rock, which represents the disembarkation of the Mayflower Pilgrims,  looked smaller and lonely.

Since this original posting, Marla’s sister Karen took these pictures in Plymouth, UK …… where the Mayflower journey began.

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A Visit to Grandpa’s House

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Imagine the excitement of researching your ancestry knowing your descendents are pilgrims from the Mayflower.  Its kind of like American royalty!  Then to discover your 11th Great grandfathers house still stands…. well sort of.  Most of the beams and foundation are original.

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Yes not only is there a place to visit and hang your hat, but the Alden House is a museum and National historic landmark.

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We took a tour of course which was offered by one of the many cousins.  By the way there was no family discount offered here either!

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There was plenty of history to be had in this house.  For instance, with the impending American Revolution,  a council of war meeting was held in this room.  Opposition to the crown was growing and the British militia were merely a few miles away.SaveSave

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Plimoth Plantation

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The Plimoth Plantation is an open area history museum that attempts to duplicate a 17th century Plymouth Colony.  For a nominal entrance fee we were allowed to walk about and converse with actors dressed in period clothing.  Its interesting to watch these actors, which take on a persona of one of the Mayflower colonists,  stay in character.  I asked where John Aldens house was….. but his hut was closed for the day.

 

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This Way to P Town

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We said good bye to Plymouth and headed to Provencetown. P Town, as it is otherwise known, is located at the  end of  the “Cape” in Cape Cod Massachusetts. The map made it look like we would have a lovely drive along the shores of the capes and we had visions of beautiful vistas overlooking the dunes. Not. Route 6 is mostly a long drive through the woods with no ocean to be seen.

Seabury gift shop (Cape Cod Photography blog)

We made a Pit Stop along the way at a beach and stretched our legs. As we approached P Town there were many stop lights and road side businesses. Many of the roadside motels were snap shots from the 1950’s and some were abandoned making us wonder whose generational family business was overtaken by modern cookie cutter motels. We passed a couple of stores that had dozens of inflatable floating animals strapped to the roof.

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It was quaint and left no question to what they sold there. There were inflatables of every size, color and imaginary animal decorating their roofs. Damn we should of gotten a photo.image
Once we made our left turn off the highway towards P Town the traffic tighten and we questioned “Doris” our ever faithful GPS. Doris took us onto a small street that appeared to be for pedestrians only. Doris no! We idled along and the crowds parted yet no one yelled at us.

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Doris was correct and after a couple of tight turns through the crowds we ambled up a gravel drive to our hotel the Sage Inn and Lounge. We checked in and were told that they were sold out for the weekend and were expecting a big crowd. I was given convoluted but accurate directions for parking the rental car at a local parking lot.  We then headed back dragging our luggage through the gravel.

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The room was well decorated and small to our spoiled Hampton Inn standards. Again there were no cookies at the front counter,  but we held our heads high and didn’t snivel.

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The Color Rainbow

P Town is a known as a LGTB friendly town and there is a proliferation of rainbows, pink colors and gay friendly shops. Cool.

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There was no shortage of art studios, cafes, coffee houses, souvenir shops…..

……. and the occasional street performer.

We hit them all and in the rain or drizzle walking up and down Commercial street.

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Eventually our meandering led us to an old delapated pier next to a small shopping center.  Inside the complex we the discovered a small 40 seat theater.  We were happy to settle in and catch a movie before calling it a night.

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P town to Bean town

The trip back to Boston seemed half as long as it did going to P Town.

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Our ever faithful GPS Doris took us right to the Battery Wharf Hotel…. almost, as we ended up on the wrong side. The Battery Wharf Hotel is a combination hotel and time share/apartment building right on the Boston Waterfront.

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Very fancy for the traveling hillbillies and we got it on a whim. After all it was only one day. The fee to park the car was more than we had spent on some hotels hiking through Spain. But for location,location,location it’s money. money, money.

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We had an excellent view of the wharf and were within walking distance of the down town and Quincy Market.

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So walk we did and headed out to find an Italian restaurant. When in Boston…
There were so many choices that we went with the one that could sit us the quickest without getting menu sticker shock. It was crappy, but cheap and off we went to loop around the downtown before heading back for a nap.

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