Summer is the perfect time to take a drive down the Massachusetts coast – but given all that Cape traffic, you might want to stop before you reach the bridge. Get to know Plymouth, a historic coastal destination with a lot more to offer today than history and beaches. It may be the birthplace of America, but beyond its history, Plymouth has some of the best lobster rolls, ice cream and beer you’ll find in the state, if not the country.
In 2016, I married into a family from Plymouth, so I get to spend a lot of time in the area. While it's been decades since I've been to Plimoth Plantation, I rarely miss an opportunity to hit up one of my favorite spots when we go visit the in-laws – and I'm not afraid to share! Here are the places I keep going back to, so use them to create your own perfect day in Plymouth.
Get off the beaten path in Plymouth
Bramhall’s Country Store is central to the quaint, historic Chiltonville neighborhood of Plymouth, right near Plimoth Plantation and the beach. Take a slow drive through the picturesque neighborhood, then stop here for lunch. Founded in 1828 by the great-great-great-great grandfather of the store’s present day owners, you’ll still find homegrown hospitality, along with their amazing lobster rolls. Bramhall’s lobster roll is pure local lobster at its freshest.
Uncomplicated and unadulterated, the lobster is perfectly cooked and minimally dressed to allow the lobster to shine. If you like lobster, you’ll LOVE Bramhall’s lobster roll. And don’t miss the corn salad that’s made with the freshest local summer corn.
In addition to a long list of Ben & Jerry’s flavors, they also serve ice cream from Crescent Ridge in Sharon. The Coconut Almond ice cream in a homemade waffle cone is the perfect follow-up to a lobster roll. And definitely spring for the waffle cone. It’s thick, crisp texture and real vanilla flavor are far better than any generic waffle cone you’d fine elsewhere.
Before you leave, check out the local products in the country store, and the local produce at the Instagram-perfect farm stand.
2 Sandwich Rd., Plymuoth, 508-746-1844, bramhallscountrystore.com
The waterfront in Plymouth
It’s undeniable that this section of Plymouth is the most popular, which also makes it the most touristy — so plan accordingly. From The Rock to Plymouth Beach, there are plenty of lobster rolls, ice cream shops, and history for everyone. Sandy’s at Plymouth Beach offers the benefit of being right there when you’re hungry and still have sand between your toes. Slightly further up the coast, Lobster Hut and Wood’s Seafood offer water views along with their extensive menus of local seafood favorites. You can’t go wrong with a lobster roll at any of these casual spots.
When you’re ready for a sweet treat, go for the ice cream. Across from Plymouth Rock, you’ll find great soft serve at Ziggy’s Ice Cream. But if, like me, you’re holding out for the best possible local experience, head up the hill to Peaceful Meadows Farm, located across Water Street from Plymouth Harbor in the Village Landing Marketplace. Made right on their farm in Whitman, MA, the ice cream at Peaceful Meadows is some of the best you’ll find anywhere: perfectly creamy with real flavors that practically deliver an existential experience with every bite. I know that may sound extreme, but I’ve tried enough ice cream to tell you honestly, it’s not an exaggeration. On my last visit, the Peppermint Patti and Oreo flavors were the standouts, but even the unexpected banana ice cream, with real banana pieces, is worth a try. Or you can get two of their most popular flavors in the Magic Cookie Sundae: graham crackers topped with a scoop of Coconut Almond and a scoop of Cappuccino Chunk ice creams, then chocolate chips, mixed nuts, whipped cream and toasted coconut. Yum.
170 Water St., Plymouth, 508-746-2362, peacefulmeadows.com
Top off a great day with a great beer in Plymouth
If lobster rolls and ice cream aren’t your thing, or (more likely) you’ve had your fill and are ready for drinks, there’s another great reason to visit Plymouth — beer! The Mayflower Brewing Company is a craft beer microbrewery, using only traditional brewing methods and ingredients to brew and package all of their beer right here in Plymouth. Visit the 9,000 square foot production facility, with their newly renovated tasting room, where you can sample all the beers and take a tour of the facility. Some might argue that the history here is more interesting than even at the plantation itself.
12 Resnik Rd., Plymouth, mayflowerbrewing.com
Whether you want beaches, beer, summer fare or loads of history, get to know all that Plymouth has to offer now – before even larger throngs of tourists begin to descend in celebration of the nation’s 400th birthday.