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Happy Thanksgiving from Travel New England

Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving 1830s Style at Old Sturbridge Village

Thanksgiving is once again right around the corner (where did the year go) and our friends at Old Sturbridge Village are gearing up to show you what a traditional Thanksgiving was like back in the 1830s. Come and see as costumed historians recreate what it was like to prepare and enjoy the annual Thanksgiving feast.

Other demonstrations include:

  • Native American food traditions
  • Shooting matches which were a common form of after dinner entertainment
  • A recreated wedding. Weddings were a common occurrence on Thanksgiving in the 19th century

Some fun Thanksgiving facts shared with us by the folks at Old Sturbridge Village:

  • You have heard of cattle drives. Now about turkey drives? Well that is exactly how turkey got to market in the 19th century. Drovers would drive herds of turkeys to the main meat market in Brighton, MA.
  • Other popular foods served on Thanksgiving in the 1830s included chicken pie, mince meat pie, boiled stuffed chicken, and roast mutton.
  • The favorite dish served on Thanksgiving in the 1830s was Marlborough Pudding, an apple and custard pie.

Thanksgiving 1830s Style at Old Sturbridge Village will run from November 28 to December 1, 2013.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Picture of a classic Thanksgiving dinnerWe at Travel New England would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving. Remember that the “classic” image of Thanksgiving started here in Plymouth Colony in 1621.

We thought that we would share a few Thanksgiving facts as you sit down to celebrate the holiday with family and friends…

  • The first thanksgiving in 1621 in Plymouth Colony was really just a harvest celebration and not a holiday that was meant to be repeated annually.
  • The Pilgrim’s harvest celebration that is the genesis of our modern Thanksgiving lasted for three days.
  • The Pilgrim’s feast was a multicultural affair as it was also attended by Wampanoag American Indian men (FYI – The Wampanoag’s at Plimoth Plantation are pretty clear that they prefer to be called American Indians rather than Native Americans).
  • Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
  • Congress to passed a law on December 26, 1941, that established Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November every year.
  • What was on that first harvest festival menu:
    • Birds – Ducks, geese, turkey, shore birds, passenger pigeons – pretty much anything they could catch or shoot
    • Venison courtesy of their Wampanoag guests
    • Fish and shellfish (lobster, clams etc.)
    • Vegetables – Cabbage, carrots, peas, pumpkin, squash
    • Nuts
  • What was not on the menu?
    • Potatoes, and sweet potatoes
    • Pastries – The Pilgrims did not yet have a grist mill so all they had for flour was hand ground corn meal. So the “best” confection they had was likely sweetened corn porridge (think Indian Pudding)
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Old Sturbridge Village Takes You Back to Thanksgiving 1830 Style

Picture of Hearth Cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey at Old Sturbridge Village

Hearth cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. The meat was cooked by dangling it on a twisted string over the hearth so it would rotate and roast evenly.

Ever wonder what Thanksgiving was like back in the “olden” days? Well wonder no more and get yourself over to Old Sturbridge Village on Thanksgiving weekend to learn what Thanksgiving was like back in the 1830s.

What will you see? Well, how about:

  • Hearth cooking and roasting a turkey in a “tin kitchen”, or reflector oven.
  • Algonquian food traditions. Did you know that virtually all of the food that we associate with Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, cranberries, corn, squash, etc.) was cultivated or hunted by the region’s Native population and introduced to the European settlers.
  • Musket shooting matches with black powder muskets, a popular pastime in early New England.
  • A re-created wedding. Weddings were often celebrated around Thanksgiving in early New England when families had more time to travel after the harvest was done.
  • Presentations on the history of Thanksgiving.
  • Tales, tunes and hands-on crafts.

So head out to Old Sturbridge Village to get a great big dose of what Thanksgiving used to be like in the early nineteenth century.

Picture of a Man Firing a Musket at Old Sturbridge Village

After dinner shooting matches were a popular pastime in early New England.


Picture of Marge Bruchac, an Abenaki Indian at Old Sturbridge Village

Marge Bruchac, an Abenaki Indian, showcases Native American foodways and traditions of giving thanks as Molly Geet, an “Indian Doctress.”

Picture credits: All of the images in this article were provided by Old Sturbridge Village. They are copyright Old Sturbridge Inc. Images are made available for personal, educational or promotional use only. Commercial use of these images without the consent of Old Sturbridge Inc. is strictly prohibited.

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Plimoth Plantation Thanksgiving Dining Reservations Now Open

I know that summer is not even officially here so it would seem very premature to be thinking about Thanksgiving… But if you want to do one of the Thanksgiving dinners at Plimoth Plantation this fall you need to book now. Bookings opened June 1, 2012 and they go fast…

Go to Thanksgiving Dining for more information.

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Thanksgiving is Just Around the Corner

Picture of a classic Thanksgiving dinnerThanksgiving is just around the corner and the nice folks at the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) were kind enough to share with us some upcoming Thanksgiving weekend happenings…

Of course, nothing is quite as authentic as Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. Plymouth where it all began 390 years ago when the Pilgrims and the Native Wampanoag tribe celebrated the harvest and shared a meal.

MOTT points out that Massachusetts’ farm stands and farmers markets offer the perfect ingredients for your Thanksgiving feast. The Bay State’s cranberry growers are boasting one of their best production years ever – so stock up and get started on your cranberry recipes. Additionally, local wineries and breweries offer fantastic options for toasting the holidays. Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod offers Cranberry Red, a bold red Beaujolais character blended with delicate Cape Cod cranberries. And Brewer Scott Craumer from Berkshire County-based Barrington Brewery recommends their Rhop Ale, a light English beer featuring locally grown hops.

Some things coming up around the Commonwealth this Thanksgiving weekend include:

  • November 18 – 20, 2011: America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration Weekend, Plymouth – On the weekend before Thanksgiving, come to the place where it all began, enjoy the parade and sample chowders, soups, desserts and more at the New England Food Festival. There will also be concerts and an activity tent for the kids. Finish the weekend with a traditional Thanksgiving meal with Plimoth Plantation’s turkey dinners.
  • November 19, 20, & 27, 2011: Fireplace Feasts, West Brookfield – The Salem Cross Inn invites you to relax by the fire or lend a hand as dinner is prepared for you 18th Century-style. Stir chowder as it bubbles in a cast iron cauldron and enjoy the crackling of wild cherry logs as prime rib roasts on America’s only-known Roasting Jack.
  • November 24 – 27,2011: Thanksgiving Weekend, Old Sturbridge Village – Join as this historic village celebrates the traditions of an early 19th century New England Thanksgiving. Smell the aroma of feasts in preparation, discover Native American food ways and visit the Indian Doctress as she shares Native Traditions of giving thanks. For a true 19th-century Thanksgiving experience join the minister in the Meetinghouse and listen as he explains the real meaning of this holiday.
  • November 25 – 26, 2011: 15th Annual Thanksgiving Day Artisans Festival, West Tisbury/Martha’s Vineyard – The largest Holiday Art Show on the Vineyard with over 85 Island Artisans. Balsam wreaths and ceramic ornaments to start off the holiday season and gifts galore from the Islands finest artists and craftsmen. Browse fine jewelry, glass, ceramics, fine art, clothing, book arts and much more.
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Eat Thanksgiving Dinner Like a Pilgrim

Are you looking for an authentic Thanksgiving meal this year? Well look no further than Old Sturbridge Village and Plimoth Plantation for that special old New England meal of meals. Both host several Thanksgiving dining events.

Thanksgiving Meals at Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village hosts two Thanksgiving meals:

  1. A buffet dinner at the Oliver Wight Tavern; or
  2. A served dinner at the Bullard Tavern

Thanksgiving Meals at Plimoth Plantation

Harvest Dinner with the Pilgrims – Have a dinner 1627 style with costumed pilgrim hosts. Tickets have been on sale for this since June so you do not want to procrastinate… Dates for the dinners:

  • Saturday, October 22, 5:30 PM
  • Saturday, November 5 at 5:30 PM
  • Saturday, November 12 at 5:30
  • Saturday, November 19 at 5:30 PM
  • Sunday, November 20 at 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday, November 23 at 5:30 PM
  • Friday, November 25 at 5:30 PM
  • Saturday, November 26 at 5:30 PM

Thanksgiving Day Buffet – On Thanksgiving Day itself, Plimoth Plantation hosts several seatings of a Thanksgiving Buffet. Dining times are:

  • 11:00 AM
  • 1:30 PM (Sold Out)
  • 4:00 PM
  • 6:00 PM

America’s Thanksgiving Dinner featuring classic roast turkey and other traditional New England trimmings. The Thanksgiving Day servings of this are unfortunately sold out, but there is a seating on the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 25, 2011, that is still open.

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How About Heading to Plymouth for Thanksgiving?

Picture of a classic Thanksgiving dinnerIt all started in Plymouth – the first Thanksgiving back in 1621. Why not go back into time for an historical recreation of the feast, and why not do it in Plymouth?

How, you may ask, can I have a traditional colonial Thanksgiving Feast? At Plimouth Plantation is how! Every year Plimouth Plantation hosts two Thanksgiving dining events:

  1. America’s Thanksgiving Dinner
  2. Thanksgiving Day Buffet

America’s Dinner
America’s Dinner is a classic dinner of roast turkey with all of the trimmings. This dinner, however, includes the 17th-century founders of the feast – the Pilgrims and Native Americans. The Pilgrims and Native Americans will bring the First Thanksgiving to life with music, riddles, stories, and a 17th-century toast. Unfortunately the three Thanksgiving day servings are already sold out, but the reprise on Friday at 1:00 PM is not.

Thanksgiving Day Buffet
This is a a Thanksgiving buffet dinner with all of the classic dishes. Two Thanksgiving day seatings still have availability – at 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

To plan for 2011, advance ticket sales start in June…

Harvest Dining Too
If you plan on being at home with friends and family on Thanksgiving, but still would like to try the colonial dining experience, you may wish to attend one of their Harvest Dining events. Remaining dates for this year are:

  • Saturday, November 13 at 5:30 PM
  • Saturday, November 20 at 5:30 PM
  • Sunday, November 21 at 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday, November 24 at 5:30 PM
  • Friday, November 26 at 5:30 PM
  • Saturday, November 27 at 5:30 PM

Don’t Forget Old Sturbridge Village
While it is not in Plymouth, Old Sturbridge Village also hosts an annual Thanksgiving Buffet as well as a Thanksgiving Dinner. They also have other Thanksgiving Weekend activities to give you a colonial Thanksgiving feeling.

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