square rigged masts
Geoff Rand
The masts of the 1950s-built replica Mayflower II are prominent along the Plymouth shoreline.

Sailing into Plymouth, one can begin to imagine just how tenuous their foothold in the New World must have seemed to the Pilgrims. With the captain of the Mayflower threatening to "turn them and their goods ashore and leave them" in Provincetown, and sail for England, they had little choice but to settle in this difficult and commercially unpromising harbor. {OPP p71}

Exploring to the head of the bay 15 years before the Mayflower, Samuel de Champlain. . .

. . .saw only an arm of water extending a short distance inland, where the land is only in part cleared up. Running into this is merely a brook not deep enough for boats except at full tide. . .
{Voyages p78}

Even today, the entrance is remote and a little wild, with its eroded bluffs, vast mudflats and powerful currents.

But the town has nice facilities for visiting sailors and some unique shoreside attractions close to the harbor. Plymouth is not a convenient stopover if you're mostly enroute to someplace else, but it makes a strong case on its own merits for inclusion in a Cape Cod Bay itinerary.

more on Plymouth. . .