Free and cheap things to visit in Plymouth

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We were lucky enough to work for a summer in Plymouth, Massachusetts and while it is a beautiful area it is also a tourist area. I am sure you are thinking…well duh. What I am trying to get at is having the whole family to pay for can really add up.  We only had the two of us but as you already know we like to do as much for free as we can, see our post on how we are going to Disney World for FREE! In that post we talk about how we earned free money for our trip but in this post we are telling you completely free things to do in Plymouth.  To be 100% honest you may have to pay for parking.

The first stop you should make is Plymouth Rock…..yes we know if may be a little anticlimactic for some but it is still a must see.  The history in this area of our country runs deep and this is a huge piece of that history. We do want you to remember though it is a rock…but it’s free to see. It is located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park down on the waterfront. We were lucky enough to be here during part of the off season when the crowds were not horrible but construction was going on. This is also where you would see the replica of the iconic Mayflower….however we saw the port where it should have been. It is currently undergoing restoration so if you plan on seeing that this summer you may want to put your trip on hold until it returns in 2019.

The downtown walking can be expected for an old small town. The buildings are nice, as always some are nicer then others. They all have that old rustic, new to America, feeling to them. Make sure you  take the stairs up to Burial Hill and see where some of the original settlers are lay to rest. They certainly have a pretty great view for eternity.

Plymouth also has a neat little built in game, as you travel around downtown and the waterfront there are hand painted lobsters tucked all over town.

They stand about 5 feet tall so you can see them from a distance and they are all named. I believe there are about 29 of them strewn across town so see if you can find them all. We had family in town to visit and we got about 15 of them. There are all kinds of shops varying from the many food establishments to antique stores (although I don’t think you will find many bargains as again this is a tourist town and they want your money too). However this did bring you to one of the cooler features we found. In one of the stores downtown, I wont say which, there is a old bank vault. It is in one of the back rooms and we challenge you to find it. The area is nice and clean you will probably find a shop for just about everyone in your family. Some of our personal favorites are the candy store (of course), and the store tucked back in on the waterfront that has Harry Potter items.

After our walk on the waterfront we found a nice little trail that leads to the Grist mill. It is a paved walking trail that leads you along the banks of a bubbling little stream.

There are some small little stops along the way that have historical facts, and statues. I am pretty sure one of the first settlers was an Eddy so I’m pretty sure you owe America to me somehow right?!?! After about 1/2 mile or so it leads you to the outside of the Gist mill, now there is an admission fee to get in so we bypassed that certain part but the outside has a working water feed mill that you easily take pictures with.

Then head on down to the waterfront again where there is a jetty that goes out approximately 3/4 mile into the harbor giving you a nice view of all the boats coming and going. You have to be careful here the rocks are big and pretty uneven. We decided against taking our puppy down it and returned on a later date to accomplish the mission of walking the jetty. Again all these things were free, but of course to do a lot of the other things like eat, take the tours, and even park costs money. We did splurge on the Captain John’s Whale Watch so be sure to check out if we thought it was worth the money here. So be prepared if you want to do any of those you will need to take a few bucks with you. But overall its a nice experience and we would recommend it just to see where it all started in our great country. Did we miss any of your favorite free stops here in Plymouth let us know.


Whale watching Plymouth MA, worth the money?

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We started our whale watching experience in Plymouth, MA.  She has been a few times on the west coast and loves it. One of several choices on the pier was named Capt. John whale watching and you can find it HERE. We walked up to the little booth and asked to purchase 2 adult tickets which ran us $49.00 a piece. Children ages 4-12 were $29.00 and seniors came in at $39.00. While it was on the expensive side we figured we would have to splurge a little to see some of the more exciting things the ocean has to offer. So we ponied up the cash to get on board and into the line we went. We were about 20 minutes early and when the time arrived they opened the gates to board promptly which was nice. We headed to the top of the boat since it was a double decker. We figured there would be a better view up top, however the bottom tier had padded seats. We chose the view over more comfortable seats so you will have to pick your poison. Just be aware it was about a 80 minute boat ride out to the action so the steal seats up top get a little uncomfortable after that long. Getting out of the bay there were at least lighthouses and other boats to see along with houses out in the middle of the sandbar.

But….once you hit the open water you better like to people watch because there is nothing but water surrounding you. The boat was a decent size, we had 150 people on board, they let us know the total capacity was 300 so being half full you never felt cramped. As the ride went along we got a little parched and we went looking for the selling area which is on the first deck. They sell the normal money making things, we got a bottle of water for 2 dollars. They also sold little things you might have forgotten like sun screen, for us albinos who never get any sun and burn if we aren’t coated it in. The prices were not movie gouging prices but not dirt cheap either.

The tour guide did give us some nice information about the whales as we traveled out to our destination. We were lucky enough to have some whale conservationist on board that are doing a study. After introductions they invited anyone that wanted to talk more or learn about their mission to come up and they were happy to answer any questions. They also had some whale bones for everyone to view up close and personal. This lasted about 30 minutes and then it was just us and the water. It was nice day, not to hot but being on the water the heat can be very deceiving. This was evident by the sunburn she received while saying she was a little cold.

The moment of truth arrived about 80 – 90 minutes in we heard the motors slow and the tour guide told us this is a favorite area of the whales and for everyone to start looking for whale blows and birds. These are the two main signs that whales were near so everyone went to side hoping to find what we were out here for. Then it happened about 5 minutes you heard a person say “look over there” and sure enough you seen 2 tails out of the water. The boat came to life to shuttle us in closer but not to fast to not disturb them. We were able to get to about 40 or 50 feet away and really get a good view of two humpback whales feeding. It was a pretty epic sight to see these two behemoths in their natural habitat. They would come to the surface you would see them spout the water out of their backs, dive 2 or 3 times then almost as if there is some pattern they would go straight down tails slipping into the water ever so majestically. We followed them for about 30 minutes and when several more vessels came over to view them as well we left the area so the whales would not feel trapped or overwhelmed.

As we left the area one of the other boats radioed to us and let us know a new location of two other humpbacks. When we arrived they were doing the same hunting and eating as the other two it was really interesting to watch. All of these whales have names and stories, they identify them by the markings on their tales.

Some of these whales have been visiting the area for over 30 years.  It was a very fun trip and I definitely would recommend doing this. We had her nieces with us and the kids really seemed to enjoy watching these mammals in their natural habitat.


My review Of DJI Mavic Pro

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I found myself doing a lot of back and forth on this one, did I really need to buy a drone for entertainment? But let’s face it aerial shots are much cooler than the average run of the mill ground shots! After a few weeks of doing some research I narrowed my choice to three drones. The first being the rather new Go Pro Drone, second the DJI Phantom 4, and finally the DJI Mavic Pro.

For my personal choice I went with the DJI Mavic Pro. It came down to the ability to travel with it. This drone has a smaller footprint (weighing in at only 1.62 lbs) to begin with, but when you fold it up it becomes extremely portable.

It also has a very nice camera that can shoot in 4k resolution up to 30 FPS. It comes with everything you need to fly right out of the box. You get a nice controller that has all the information you need to fly your drone for in sight flights only. Hooking up a cell phone or tablet greatly increases your view of flying and really is the best way to enjoy the full features of the craft. I will say that while a tablet enables you to have a larger viewing screen we found that her Samsung Tab A had a very choppy video feed. Also in the kit comes a battery and charger with all the wiring you need to connect it to a wall outlet or USB charging as well. Lastly you get extra propellers for when you let your significant other attempt to fly it.

After getting this bad boy all charged up, it takes about an hour to charge the battery and controller, I was ready to attempt my first flight. Both the battery and controller can be charged at the same time using the same power pack. After I got it all hooked up to my Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge and patched the firmware to the current patch I pushed the start button and it was alive. All 4 glorious motors turning in tandem to keep the beast at a steady 5 feet. The controller lets you know how many satellites it has locked on to its position. This helps with return home feature, one of them most important features you need to know before flying this bird out of sight. Within seconds I was up to 150 feet and soaring through the clear blue yonder, the picture on the camera was crystal clear and the drone responds almost instantly giving you a great birds eye view.

A single charge kept the drone in the air for 23 minutes, which is not to bad. I do suggest buying another battery (or two) if you plan on  spending any real extended time trying to capture some great footage or that perfect shot.

There is only one real accessory I would recommend, other than additional batteries, and that would be a carrying case. I bought this one, from amazon and it is specifically for the Mavic.

This particular case comes with a strap you can toss over your shoulder for those long hikes and everything fits in it perfectly (I even had the additional landing gear attached). I purchased the landing gear separately and while these are nice to keep your gimble out of the grass and dirt they are not a must have. Overall I would definitely recommend this product. I will be doing some still photos and video footage which I will be posting with some of the travel blogs. If you have any questions ask away.