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400 Years in the Making

Take a trip back in time to the event that shaped our nation, and commemorate those who came before us

Four centuries ago, 100 souls endured a two-month journey across the stormy Atlantic with the hopes of creating a free life in the New World. Those aboard the Mayflower landed upon what would become Cape Cod, first stopping in Provincetown, and ultimately settling in Plymouth. This story is one that set the stage for America’s future. With 2020 marking the voyage’s 400th anniversary, Plymouth and Provincetown are ensuring its impact is commemorated inclusively, accurately, and meaningfully across the state of Massachusetts. 

As a homecoming tribute, the newly restored Mayflower II will travel from its current home in Mystic, Connecticut to Boston before it returns to Plymouth and Provincetown, commemorating the 400-year-old original journey. Throughout 2020, events will be held in both towns to honor this story and all groups involved in its unfolding. Beginning in January and scheduled through November, these commemoration events include opening ceremonies, museum exhibits, cultural festivals, a maritime salute, and State House salute. Step aboard the Mayflower II in either port to experience what those who came before us did, and learn more about the first meeting between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Tribe. Parades and historical reenactments abound during this anniversary year and the educational opportunities are endless. Learn more about the passengers of the Mayflower as well as their descendants and lasting legacy through the General Society of Mayflower Descendants and their resources. With so many events and topics, there is surely something for every visitor, old or young, history buff or novice.

Regardless of your visit’s timing, there will be some way to connect with and honor this anniversary while taking in the distinct beauty of the towns and the surrounding area. The towns may look a little different and there may be more people than there were 400 years ago, but the spirit and legacy of the Mayflower, its passengers and those they met on shore live on across the Cape, Plymouth and the nation. While honoring the past, these commemorations lay the foundation for a thoughtful future. In these pages, step into history, and preview what Provincetown and Plymouth have in store for the 400th Anniversary.

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