This tour takes you beyond the essentials of the waterfront to a few other favorite places in Plymouth. The Sparrow House, Jenney Museum and Plimoth Grist Mill are paired nicely with a walk along Town Brook going to or from Brewster Gardens. Be sure to stop at the Herring Run information marker and maybe see some herring if you’re here at the right time.
If you’re stringing this tour with Burial Hill, you’re already almost there, and you can exit the hill to Summer Street, where you’ll land right in front of the Jenney Museum.
If you’re starting this tour at the waterfront, do Brewster Gardens first then follow the brook path up to the three buildings. You can then follow your tracks back to Brewster Gardens and the waterfront, or head across Summer Street to Burial Hill and wander back that way.
Richard Sparrow House
The Richard Sparrow house is tenuously billed as the oldest surviving house in Plymouth, back to 1640, but this is not clear from historical records. What is known is that Jonathan Sparrow (Richard’s son) sold the property to George Bonum in 1679 and that the house was occupied at that time by Bonum’s son-in-law.
The date of construction is unknown. Richard Sparrow did have a house on Summer Street, but it appears to have been at the corner of Summer Street and Spring Lane, not the location where the existing “Richard Sparrow House” sits.
All that said, the property was for sure built prior to 1679, and what’s a few decades between friends? It’s still one of the small number of 17th century buildings still standing.
The site has two parts – a pottery and handcrafted product gallery and a museum. Both are delightful – and this is a quick stop – you’ll be in and out in a half hour or less.
Jenney Interpretive Center
Next door to the Richard Sparrow House is the Jenney Interpretive Center, also known as the Jenney House and Jenney Museum, or simply “The Jenney”. Stop in to the little shop and pick up some history. You can take a 90 minute tour here, which is well worthwhile, even if it covers places may already have visited.
Plimoth Grist Mill
To tour the Plimoth Grist Mill – formerly the Jenney Grist Mill – you need to go down the stairs into the gift shop to get the tickets, then head back up to the grist mill. You’ll end up after the tour back a the gift shop, so no need to shop first.
Before going into the mill, look first over the railing to see the fish ladder for the herring running upstream. If it’s spring, you may see this fascinating event.
This is a quick tour, but interesting. This is a working grist mill which produces grits, cornmeal, flour, and other grains, which you can buy at the shop.
Brewster Gardens is a wonderful park connecting the waterfront to the pathway up along Town Brook. Take your time meandering around the park – there is much to admire, including the bridge crossing the brook and the Pilgrim Maiden statue.