My interest in the Mayflower is more than historical, it’s personal as well.
My ancestors, William and Susanna White and their baby Peregrine White were on the first voyage of the Mayflower in 1620. Baby Peregrine was born on the Mayflower while it was moored in the harbor, he was the first English baby born in New England.
Four years ago in 2015 I visited the Mayflower II in Plymouth, MA before it began it’s journey to be restored. Please CLICK HERE to read that post. https://mvobsession.com/2015/10/18/plymouth-ma-the-mayflower/
This ship, the Mayflower II set sail from Plymouth, England on April 20, 1957, with a crew of 33 men. On June 13, after 55 days at sea, the ship arrived in Plymouth, USA, to the cheers of 25,000 spectators. Since then, more than 20 million people have boarded the iconic ship, and millions more have viewed her from the shore. Today, even as Mayflower II undergoes a necessary restoration to fulfill her educational mission for years to come, she has lost none of her luster. (CLICK HERE to read the article how this replica came to be.)
Two months after I was there in Oct 2015 in December 2015 the Mayflower II left Plymouth, MA to sail to Mystic, CT for restoration, to replace timbers, planking, structural frames and beams that have deteriorated from saltwater and exposure over the past six decades. You can read the full article by CLICKING HERE.
On Saturday, September 7, 2019 The official launch and recommissioning of the restored Mayflower II took place. The Mayflower II was lowered into the Mystic River where it will float while refitting work is finished.
It will leave Mystic Seaport in the Spring of 2020 making its way north to Boston for a 6-day maritime festival (May 14-19). The replica of the ship in which the Pilgrims sailed to the New World is scheduled to arrive in Plymouth Harbor on May 21 – in time for the town’s 400th anniversary commemoration of the original landing, a homecoming celebration is planned with a series of events and activities.
So off I went to Mystic, CT on Saturday, Sep 7, with my daughter Deb, honorary daughter Dawn and our friend Sam to see the launching, the rechristening, hear the speeches and enjoy the festivities.
The Mayflower II
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, mid 70’s, light winds and sun and some clouds. There were hundreds of people there and since we didn’t buy seats we would have to stand in the area behind them to watch everything. The ceremony was to start at 2pm sharp and we were advised to get good spots early… which we started to do.. and then we noticed that at the very back of the standing area there were some huge cement blocks that people were starting to sit on. Ah ha, great idea so we scurried over there around 12:30 to stake out our spots. While sitting there I was spotted by a BBC TV reporter who saw my shirt that said ‘Mayflower Descendant’ and asked if she could interview me on camera. I was a bit nervous but it was fun doing it. That’s the first and second pictures below.
The third picture is my daughter Deb, Dawn, me and our friend Sam on our concrete perch.
The fourth picture is not mine as it’s taken from the Mayflower II but it does show the seating area, the standing area and then at the very back on the right side by the red building is where we were sitting, with, I might add, a great view.
The ceremony started exactly and 2pm and it was really very nice, or at least what I saw of it ! Only about 20 minutes into it I sort of um, wound up in an ambulance for about an hour! Sitting in the sun for 2 1/2 hours with not enough water caused me to pass out. So I missed the actual launching into the water of the Mayflower II which was mostly our reason for going to the event. But on the other hand I met some terrific EMT’s who took great care of me.
All in all it was a really nice day with people I care about, and celebrating the Mayflower II which holds a special place in my heart and in my heritage.