At the time Plymouth was the home of such thrilling tourist sites as Plymouth Rock, a statue of the Pilgrim Maiden near the town brook and a reconstruction of one of the original houses.
My daughter may never forgive me for parking the car under the statue of Massasoit and making her cross the road so she could see Plymouth Rock, a boulder in a cage with "1620" embossed into it.
I was in junior high school when Mayflower II crossed the Atlantic to be permanently docked in Plymouth. This may have been the first time I realized that being at a site gave one a feel for what there had actually been like. While there were a few tourists and one or two crew members on the ship when we boarded, it was easy to imagine 102 passengers and a full crew of 35 stuffed into the tiny space for a three month voyage. I couldn't imagine anything worse except perhaps imprisonment or death, which would have been the fate of the colonists had they not crossed the ocean.
I went home and read the Mayflower Compact.
Years later I visited Plimouth Plantation, a reconstruction of the original village. It interprets the year 1627, the last year of the indenture. The next year each colonist would have earned several acres of land and part of a cow. The group would spread out around Plymouth Bay.
Try this: http://www.plimoth.org
Unfortunately for us, the Pilgrims in the village today are first person interpreters. That means each is assigned a character to represent. They behave as thought they were that person, and they can't break character. Sometimes this works fine, sometimes it doesn’t. When we wanted to find the chickens, we were told, "There are chickens everywhere." Later we found out the chickens hadn’t been let out that day. John Alden asked me where we were from. I didn't know how to answer since I live in a colony that wasn't going to exist as a European outpost for another seven years. On the other had I had a nice conversation with Alice Bradford about her husband's book.
The advantage these little houses had over the one in the park by the dock, is these were lived in, well sort of. There were hearth fires. Each house held some personal item. No one was home at Miles Standish's place but he had left his musket and ammunition behind.
How very easy this made it for me to write a series of stories set in the colonial period. First came the award winning "Weaver's Trade" set in the Howland house which was behind my Grandparent's place. Next came several short stories set in the stockade before the diaspora. I didn't even have to close my eyes to imagine myself in Faith Ivey's place, I knew what it would be to live through a New England winter, or trying to keep a clean house when the floor was dirt.
While I see Plymouth when I write, I have not really decided where the stories take place. They are set in a fictional village on the line between Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth Colony. Unless I need some law, belief, political structure, or a specific event, it doesn't matter much which I chose.