1 Here are my kids - John, Alexandra and James - getting their bearings at a site map just outside the visitor's center.
2 Alexandra alongside a photo of Darius Coombs, the Associate Director of the Wampanoag Indigenous Program. He's wearing an accurate representation of what the Wampanoag wore in the 1620s - and still wear today for ceremonial purposes.
3 This is historical interpreter Dan Shears. Beneath his blanket he's wearing 17th century Colonial clothing, which was typical for the time because of the ongoing trading between the Wampanoag and the Colonists.
4 Here the children learn about Wampanoag toys, dolls, musical instruments, and a toy mishoon - or dugout canoe.
5 And this is a real canoe. Interpreter Phillip Wynne is showing how the Wampanoag made them by hollowing out a hardwood tree with fire.
6 After the embers burned down, they would scrape out the remainder of the interior with moose antlers and clam shells.
7 Checking out a nush wetu, or house of three fire pits. It would have been the dwelling place for 10-12 people - something like a modern dormitory.
8 Another shot of the nush wetu.
9 Because of the fire, the interior of the nush wetu is warm even on a chilly day. Thanks to the hole in the roof, it's not very smoky inside.
10 Here's a "summer cottage" - covered in grass and located closer to the water, so the Wampanoags can easily do their fishing in the warmer months.
11 Inside the bark walls are made of cattails, collected locally in Massachusetts.
12 These women are cooking a version of rotisserie turkey, roasted directly over the pit. The Wampanoag did not have set meal times - they snacked all day, whenever they got hungry.
13 Now we're at the entrance to the south gate of the Plimoth village, a young farming and maritime community in 1627. You can see the exterior palisades built for protection. Just beyond the gate is the animal pen for keeping livestock.
14 This gentleman uses fresh oak clapboards to repair the chimney of the blacksmith shop.
15 In a 17th century English village, many housewives were also gardeners. Here is interpreter Kate O'Neil, tending her fall crops. In the raised beds are chives, swiss chard, and other leafy greens.
16 Two industrious gardeners.
17 These carefully plotted fences keep the animals away from the crops. On our visit we saw cows, chickens, goats, and sheep.
18 Here's Master WIlliam Brewster, played by interpreter Christopher Messier. Brewster was the ruling elder and preacher for the colony. The interior of his home is typical wattle and daub construction, with an open hearth. All the wooden furniture would have come over from England by ship.
19 Alexandra checking out a communal oven made from clay.
20 Another typical Pilgrim's house. Notice the bare bones construction, dirt floor and rough furniture. One reason the homes were so plain was because the Colonists didn't actually own them - the English company that financed the expedition did. That explains the lack of incentive to fix them up.
21 The early Pilgrims practiced a form of composting, using cow dung and seaweed as fertilizer - reminding me of what we use on Martha's farm today!
22 This fellow is a stylish dresser. In the early 17th century his metal buttons would have come from England - these were made on site by the Historical Clothing Department.
23 Here's interpreter Kathleen Wall preparing a Thanksgiving meal of pumpkin stew. Wall is also a food historian, and she explains that in the 17th century pumpkin was called pompion. That cast iron pot goes directly over the hearth.
24 Here's Main Street, the central residential and commercial thoroughfare of the village. At the top is the community meeting house.
25 A closer view of the meeting house. Notice the second floor windows, from which the guards would stand watch over the village.
26 The second floor also served as a fort. From here, the cannonballs could reach the sea.
27 A demonstration in musketry. In 1627 there was a village militia - all the young men did their part to help protect their community. They also used their muskets for hunting.
28 Another view of the musket bearer.
29 A quiet paddock with sheep. This breed is unusual because they shear themselves - the wool falls off in clumps, which you can see in the foreground. In the background is the beautiful Cape Cod Bay.
30 A parting view as we left - the perfect vantage point to take in the entire village. You can also see Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Visiting Plimoth Plantation on Thanksgiving Day was a thrill for me and my family.