Led by his Appleton's guidebook and tracing the footsteps of the Pilgrim Fathers, Michael Portillo heads for Plymouth, the home town of America. He learns how indigenous tribes of Wamponoag people taught the newly arrived settlers to live off the land, the inspiration for one of the biggest holidays in the American calendar.
Michael boards the vibrant Cape Cod Central heritage railway bound for Hyannis, a favourite spot for vacationing presidents. Catching a ferry to Martha's Vineyard, Portillo discovers that ardent Methodists put the island on the map by establishing the country's first religious summer camp in the early 19th century.
Moving on to the island of Nantucket, Michael discovers how hardy New Englanders made vast fortunes from whale oil at a time when Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world. Out at sea, he joins conservationists and whale spotters hoping for a glimpse these magnificent creatures.