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5 Destinations Celebrating the History of Thanksgiving

5 Destinations Celebrating the History of Thanksgiving

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This year, why not skip the grueling prep of Thanksgiving dinner and travel to a historic destination where you can experience the remarkable events and original foods that inspired the holiday?

Click here to see the 5 Destinations Celebrating the History of Thanksgiving (Slideshow)

At Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass., actors re-enact day-to-day life in the Pilgrim settlement and neighboring Wampanoag Indian village. Their epic 1621 Thanksgiving feast included "native-bird bounty," deer, blood pudding from the birds’ and deer’s innards, corn, root vegetables, and berries. Nowadays, Plimoth Planation offers America’s Thanksgiving Dinner, a Thanksgiving Day feast served by period-costumed waitstaff. The menu, devised by the plantation’s colonial culinarian and head chef, features original indigenous recipes for native turkey, fall-harvest fruits, and butternut squash.

Owned and operated by the Gila River Indian Community, the luxurious Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Ariz., hosts a Thanksgiving weekend package filled with Native American cultural activities and foods, lead by its Pima and Maricopa tribe members. Have an authentic Native American Thanksgiving dinner at the Heard Museum in nearby Phoenix; Navajo chef Freddie Bitsoie serves traditional American-Indian dishes including bison roast, local turkey, and pumpkin soup.

The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, Conn., stages an 18th-century Thanksgiving dinner, featuring hosts in historic attire and colonial-style entertainment. The menu, created by (late) renowned culinary historian Paul Courchaine, includes venison pie, roasted goose, and local harvest.

Thanksgiving weekend in Virginia’s Jamestown Settlement features interactive reenactments of the circa-1607 settlers and Powhatan Indians procuring and preparing their foodstuff. Have Thanksgiving dinner at the 18th-century King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg, whose historically correct menu features the fare of our forefathers: chop of shoat and bacon lardoons.

And Tamayame Indians teach ancient Native American customs, including adobe-making, clay-sculpting, beading, and cooking, throughout Thanksgiving weekend at New Mexico’s Hyatt Tamaya resort. Tamaya’s classic Thanksgiving Day spread includes tribal delicacies like antelope stew and native breads.

Click through our slideshow to see five places to spend a historic Thanksgiving.

For more turkey talk, visit The Daily Meal’s Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving.

Celebrations and Destinations for Thanksgiving Weekend

It’s almost Thanksgiving and if you’re tired of the usual rote, why not spend Thanksgiving weekend traveling to some other parts of the country? This is an opportunity to explore historic sites around the U.S., have time with family or friends and discover city specialties and traditions that will allow you to enjoy Thanksgiving more than just the usual turkey dinner.

Around the United States, several great towns and cities have special Thanksgiving celebrations, parades and events. Make a brand new, educational and insightful Thanksgiving starting this year.


Philadelphia hosts its own Thanksgiving Day parade, complete with various entertainment, huge helium balloons and marching bands. After watching the parade you can explore the city’s restaurant scene. If you’re looking for something historical, the City Tavern located in a section of the Old City serves traditional Thanksgiving dinner, 18th century style. The restaurant is housed in a colonial-style building that’s been around since the 1700s, with waiters dressed in period costumes that are truly authentic. See more of the city as it offers several museums, and historical icons, like the Barnes Foundation museum, Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Art Museum and the “Please Touch” museum, which is a great place to visit if you’ve got kids. The Macy’s building will have its iconic light display. A pipe organ concert provides the music for various holiday characters made out of thousands of sparkling LED lights.


Spend Thanksgiving in Orlando as Disney World puts out a grand show with autumn decorations, special events for all ages and thousands of fairy lights. Cinderella’s Castle is usually turned into a glittering ice palace. All restaurants in the area are open on Thanksgiving, offering special meals for families. Autumn is off-season in Disney World, so the crowd is lesser.


Have you tried celebrating Thanksgiving the New England way? Plymouth, Massachusetts was founded by the Mayflower pilgrims in 1620, and became the first permanent settlement of the Europeans. The town hosts “America’s Hometown” each year featuring parades, children’s activities, autumn food festival, harvest market and an assortment of reenactments and historical villages. Throughout the month of November there are special Harvest dinners with “pilgrims” as well as specific activities to mark the Thanksgiving celebration like a tour of the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the ship from England and a visit to the Pilgrim Hall Museum.


Nashville, Tennessee hosts the “Holiday Harmony” and there are shows at the Grand Ole Opry, including the kickoff of the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular. During Thanksgiving, Music City starts its holiday light tours including the elaborate dancing lights at Jellystone Park. Restaurants offer great buffet meals and options to enjoy a full dinner as well. Other music-themed attractions include The Johnny Cash Museum and the “Deck the Hall” program at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

San Diego

If you’ve been wanting to visit San Diego, now is the time. The climate is pleasantly warm and you can watch the famous Mother Goose parade, the largest of its kind in the West Coast. The parade is at El Cajon and features about 100 colorful floats not only from the city but from other parts of the U.S. Together with the biggest star, Santa Claus, are celebrity guests, performing artists, special characters, equestrians, clowns, gigantic helium balloons and several marching bands. The city is spruced up and brightly lit, and you’ll have the opportunity to visit the world-renown San Diego Zoo minus the large crowd, Sea World and Old Town San Diego. You can even enjoy a tranquil weekend in the city’s beautiful beaches.

San Francisco

Over in San Francisco, Thanksgiving events include the Annual Tree Lighting event hosted by Macy’s. It is one of the most striking lighting displays ever, held at Union Square.

New York City

Of course New York City always holds a Thanksgiving event that tourists flock to – the Thanksgiving Day Parade that Macy’s puts up each year. There are plenty of wonderfully delicious cuisine to try and literally hundreds of shops to cater to all types of shoppers, so you can start your holiday shopping early while taking advantage of the store discounts this time of the year.


Chicago is another destination to fulfill your Thanksgiving Day holiday adventure. It comes second to New York when it comes to Thanksgiving parade sponsored by McDonald’s. This is also a good chance to experience an authentic German Christkindlmarket without leaving the country. In fact it is the biggest of its kind outside of Germany.


Finally, you might want to go to Boston, a place that’s rich in history. The highlight of a trip to Boston is a visit to the Plimoth Plantation, the place where the traditions associated with Thanksgiving originated. The plantation is a living history museum and you’ll have a great time touring the place. There are historical interpreters at the 1627 English Village section. They are interpreters who have been trained to dress, act and speak appropriately in the manner of the settlers during that period.

Change your routine. Experience something new this Thanksgiving Day and see other parts of the United States to broaden your knowledge and cultural insight.

Happy Thanksgiving Day and hope that the coming year will be another bountiful one!

History of the First Thanksgiving

Abraham Lincoln wasn't the first president to declare a national day of thanksgiving for the people of the United States. In 1789, George Washington proclaimed "a day of public thanksgiving and thanks" to thank God for his protection and as the source of all that is good. In his proclamation, he wrote,

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26 th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be —That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks — for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation…

The history of Thanksgiving in the United States is often traced back to 1621 when the Plymouth Colony settlers and the Wampanoag shared a meal celebrating the harvest. Their trial began in 1620 with the voyage of the storied Mayflower, a 65-day-long ordeal in which 102 men, women, and children crossed the stormy Atlantic in a space the size of a city bus.

Then followed a cruel New England winter for which they were ill-prepared. Due more to exposure than starvation, their number dwindled rapidly, so that by the onset of spring fully half of them had died. Fourteen of the eighteen wives had perished, and widowers and orphans abounded. That the Pilgrims could celebrate at all in this setting was a testimony both to human resilience and heavenly hope.

Yet celebrate they did, sometime in the autumn of 1621 after God had granted them a bountiful harvest. It’s an inspiring story, and it’s good for Christians this Thanksgiving to remember it. I don’t know about you, but I am always encouraged when I sit down with Christian friends and hear of how God has sustained them in hard times.

Remembering the Pilgrims’ story is a lot like that, although the testimony comes to us not from across the room but from across the centuries. The celebration lasted for three days. Here's how settler Edward Winslow described their thankful hearts,

And although it is not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

The tradition of giving thanks continued spontaneously in the colonies.

Winslow wrote at length about the occasion that the Pilgrims would have remembered as their first Thanksgiving Day in America. It occurred in the summer of 1623, nearly two years after the event that we commemorate. During that summer a two-month-long drought threatened to wipe out the Pilgrims’ crops, and the prospect of starvation in the coming winter loomed over them.

In response, Governor Bradford “set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress.” The Pilgrims gathered for a prayer service that lasted some 8-9 hours, and by its end, a day that had begun hot and clear had become overcast, and for the next fourteen days a steady, gentle rain restored the parched earth. “But, O the mercy of our God,” Winslow exulted, “who was as ready to hear as we to ask.” (excerpted from The First Thanksgiving We Don't Remember)

Some historians link the pilgrims' Thanksgiving celebration to the holiday of Sukkot, also called the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23:33. Other scholars point out the Puritans' debate of having a fixed date to give thanks instead, they would proclaim special days of prayer. While the link between Thanksgiving and Sukkot is uncertain, there is no doubt that God calls his people to give thanks.

Photo: Louvre Museum, taken by Anthony Szekely

Who wouldn’t want to bask in the beauty of the fashion capital of the world? Paris is home not only to some of the biggest brands in fashion, but also to some of the world’s most renown monuments including the Louvre museum and Eiffel Tower. While you’re visiting Paris, take a trip over to Versailles to view the beautiful palace and gardens.

About Lynn Hazan

Lynn Hazan is the founder of CHICPEAJC, a creative entrepreneur, hiphop dance teacher, fashion addict, event producer, community organizer, social media expert, boardmember, volunteer, certified bad ass, and (most importantly) mom to the coolest kid on the block.

Old Recipes: Uncommon Genealogy Research Items: GeneFoods #5

Have you ever considered looking for old recipes as a means of finding out more about your ancestors and their lives? It is a worthwhile pursuit. Food is something that connects us through the generations, sometimes for centuries or more. Here are some ideas on finding out what your ancestors ate, and why you should look for those ancient and interesting recipes.


Everyone loves food. In fact, it is more than just a means of nutrition. It is a tie that binds the generations together. Food traditions in families are often handed down from grandmother to mother to daughter (or grandfather to father to son), resulting in decades, and even centuries, of beloved recipes, being made to celebrate certain special days within families. Some families have been using certain recipes for so long that they can’t even remember a time when they were not serving a particular dish, or where it originated.

Other times, a special old recipe is found in the pages of an antique cookbook owned by an ancestor, showing us what they liked to cook, or maybe reminding older relatives of a beloved dish they had forgotten about. The recipe may be one that was cut out of a magazine or newspaper, written by hand on a notecard or piece of paper, or handwritten in the margins of the book. These found recipes are great ways to bring back old family traditions around the table that may have been lost with the passing of time and are also a wonderful way to honor the ancestors who made these dishes.

Each generation is unique in what foods are available to it, as well as what foods are popular, and even if there was a famine going on in the area where your ancestors lived or not. All of these things affect what a family eats during any given generation. Learning about the foods your own ancestors ate will not only let you know what they liked, but it will also show you what economic and social conditions were like in their areas during their time periods. It will let you know what foods they had available to them, and what foods were popular.

Researching old recipes is about more than just learning what people made to eat in past generations. It is about learning about the times and places in which an ancestor lived, which lets you know more about their lives and who they were as people.

It is not too difficult to find old recipes from medieval times, as lists of food served at banquets held by the wealthy, the nobility, and royalty were well-documented during those times, and a lot of them are still preserved today. It is interesting to compare what those people ate, as compared to what we would consider palatable today. As an example, eels were a popular medieval dish for the wealthy, and they were served in a variety of ways, even in a rather gag-inducing dish called “eel jelly.” We may stick out our tongues at such a dish today, but five to six hundred years ago, people loved it, probably because eels were readily available to them in most of the coastal European countries.

As for what the peasants ate during medieval times, it was usually what they could grow on their farms, and what game was available to them in the areas where they were allowed to hunt. This information can easily be found by looking up agricultural, flora, and fauna information for the time period.

While reading about what people of many centuries ago ate is interesting, and an important part of our family history for those who are lucky enough to be able to trace their lineage back that far, it is usually the more recent recipes that intrigue us the most. That is because the recipes of the past century to century and a half are almost within touching distance for us, and we may have known someone who ate that food or knew someone who knew someone who ate it. It is more personal to us, and those recipes, or variations of them, may actually still exist in our families in some form, being eaten even today. There is a reason ancestral cookbooks are so popular, either to buy online or to make for other relatives as gifts.

So, how do you find these more recent recipes? There are a few different ways. You may have an old cookbook that belonged to an ancestor. If you have just had it sitting around and have not looked at it in-depth, you should. What you find in it may be surprising. As an example, I have a printed cookbook from the 1930s that belonged to my great-grandmother. In it are Depression-era recipes for such dubious delicacies as “possum pie” and “squirrel stew.” Yet, these were recipes that used things ancestors during that time period could find for free. In the cookbook are also recipes clipped from magazines that my great-grandmother saved, and handwritten recipes she wrote on notecards and slips of paper and put in between the cookbook’s pages.

I also have a scrapbook of recipes my grandmother clipped and saved, probably thinking she may try to make them one day, and a handful of clipped and handwritten recipes that are loose that my other grandmother saved. Some of those recipes, I actually remember her making, and I ate them as a child. It is nice to have those recipes, knowing I can re-create them and that experience for my family one day.

If you don’t have anything like this, you might try asking other relatives if they do. Who knows who may have inherited or saved a family cookbook or handwritten or clipped recipes in your family? Ask around. You can also look for these recipes at local archives, libraries, and historical societies.

If you can’t find recipes your ancestors actually used, try looking in old newspaper archives from papers of their time period. It was common for there to be a recipe section. This will give you an idea of the foods that were popular in your ancestor’s area during their lives.

When you know what foods your ancestors ate, or have an idea of what they probably ate, it will bring you closer to them in so many important genealogical ways. Look for the recipes, and connect with your ancestors more deeply than ever.

How the Civil War Created Thanksgiving

Disunion follows the Civil War as it unfolded.

Of all the bedtime-story versions of American history we teach, the tidy Thanksgiving pageant may be the one stuffed with the heaviest serving of myth. This iconic tale is the main course in our nation’s foundation legend, complete with cardboard cutouts of bow-carrying Native American cherubs and pint-size Pilgrims in black hats with buckles. And legend it largely is.

In fact, what had been a New England seasonal holiday became more of a “national” celebration only during the Civil War, with Lincoln’s proclamation calling for 𠇊 day of thanksgiving” in 1863.

That fall, Lincoln had precious little to be thankful for. The Union victory at Gettysburg the previous July had come at a dreadful cost – a combined 51,000 estimated casualties, with nearly 8,000 dead. Enraged by draft laws and emancipation, rioters in Northern cities like New York went on bloody rampages. And the president and his wife, Mary, were still mourning the loss of their 11-year-old son, Willie, who had died the year before.

So it might seem odd that Lincoln chose this moment to announce a national day of thanksgiving, to be marked on the last Thursday in November. His Oct. 3, 1863, proclamation read: “In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity … peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict.”

But it took another year for the day to really catch hold. In 1864 Lincoln issued a second proclamation, which read, “I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust.” Around the same time, the heads of Union League clubs – Theodore Roosevelt’s father among them – led an effort to provide a proper Thanksgiving meal, including turkey and mince pies, for Union troops. As the Civil War raged on, four steamers sailed out of New York laden with 400,000 pounds of ham, canned peaches, apples and cakes – and turkeys with all the trimmings. They arrived at Ulysses S. Grant’s headquarters in City Point, Va., then one of the busiest ports in the world, to deliver dinner to the Union’s “gallant soldiers and sailors.”

This Thanksgiving delivery was an unprecedented effort – a huge fund-raising and food-collection drive. One soldier said, “It isn’t the turkey, but the idea we care for.”

The good people of nearby Petersburg, Va., had no turkey. Surrounded and besieged by Grant’s armies since June, they were lucky to eat at all. The local flocks of pigeons had all mysteriously disappeared and “starvation parties” were a form of mordant entertainment in this once cosmopolitan town.

What prompted Lincoln to issue these proclamations – the first two in an unbroken string of presidential Thanksgiving proclamations – is uncertain. He was not the first president to do so. George Washington and James Madison had earlier issued “thanksgiving” proclamations, calling for somber days of prayer. Perhaps Lincoln saw an opportunity to underscore shared American traditions – a theme found in the “mystic chords of memory” stretching from 𠇎very patriot grave” in his first inaugural.

Or he may have been responding to the passionate entreaties of Sara Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book – the Good Housekeeping of its day. Hale, who contributed to American folkways as the author of “Mary had a Little Lamb,” had been advocating in the magazine for a national day of Thanksgiving since 1837. Even as many states had begun to observe Thanksgiving, she wrote in 1860, “It will no longer be a partial and vacillating commemoration of our gratitude to our Heavenly Father, observed in one section or State, while other portions of our common country do not sympathize in the gratitude and gladness.”

So how did the lore of that Pilgrim repast get connected to Lincoln’s wartime proclamations?

The Plymouth 𠇏irst Thanksgiving” dates from an October 1621 harvest celebration, an event at which the surviving passengers of the Mayflower – about half of the approximately 100 on board — were able to mark their communal harvest with a shared feast. By the account of the Pilgrim leader Edward Winslow, this event was no simple sit-down dinner, but a three-day revel. 𠇊mongst other recreations,” Winslow wrote, “we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation.”

There is nothing novel or uniquely American — and nothing especially “Pilgrim”– about giving thanks for a successful harvest. Certainly it has been done by people throughout history and surely by earlier Europeans in America as well as Native Americans.

Disunion Highlights

Explore multimedia from the series and navigate through past posts, as well as photos and articles from the Times archive.

But New Englanders, who had long marked a Founders Day as a celebration of the Pilgrim and Puritan arrivals, began to move across America and took this tradition – and their singular version of history — with them. Essentially a churchgoing day with a meal that followed, the celebration of that legendary feast gradually evolved into the Thanksgiving we know.

Eventually, it was commingled with Lincoln’s first proclamation. During the post-Civil War period, the iconic Thanksgiving meal and the connection to the Pilgrims were cemented in the popular imagination, through artistic renderings of black-cloaked, churchgoing, gun-toting Puritans, a militant, faithful past that most likely rang familiar for many Civil War Americans.

But one crucial piece remained: The elevation of Thanksgiving to a true national holiday, a feat accomplished by Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1939, with the nation still struggling out of the Great Depression, the traditional Thanksgiving Day fell on the last day of the month – a fifth Thursday. Worried retailers, for whom the holiday had already become the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, feared this late date. Roosevelt agreed to move his holiday proclamation up one week to the fourth Thursday, thereby extending the critical shopping season.

Some states stuck to the traditional last Thursday date, and other Thanksgiving traditions, such as high school and college football championships, had already been scheduled. This led to Roosevelt critics deriding the earlier date as 𠇏ranksgiving.” With 32 states joining Roosevelt’s �mocratic Thanksgiving, ” 16 others stuck with the traditional date, or “Republican Thanksgiving.” After some congressional wrangling, in December 1941, Roosevelt signed the legislation making Thanksgiving a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday in November. And there it has remained.

Kenneth C. Davis is the author of 𠇍on’t Know Much About History” and 𠇊merica’s Hidden History.” His forthcoming book, “The Hidden History of America At War: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah,” includes an account of the siege of Petersburg, Va.


As the Puritans prepared for winter, they gathered anything they could find, including Wampanoag supplies.

One day, Samoset, a leader of the Abenaki people, and Tisquantum (better known as Squanto) visited the settlers. Squanto was a Wampanoag who had experience with other settlers and knew English. Squanto helped the settlers grow corn and use fish to fertilize their fields. After several meetings, a formal agreement was made between the settlers and the native people, and in March 1621, they joined together to protect each other from other tribes.

12 Unique Places to Spend Thanksgiving

Whether you’re flying solo, a party of 2 or traveling with relatives in tow, Thanksgiving is about making memories. We chose 12 unique spots guaranteed to serve up a stress-free experience.

Related To:

Motu Teta, Tahiti

Want to get as far away from your relatives as possible? We suggest booking Tahiti&rsquos Motu Teta, a private island located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on the Rangiroa atoll. Activities include doing absolutely nothing (one of our favorite pastimes) or a more adventurous midnight lobster hunt. But don&rsquot get too attached to Mr. Crusty because your private staff will prepare and serve him as your Thanksgiving meal beachside.

Your Own Private Archipelago

Spend the day snorkeling, diving or just relaxing. Not even your Aunt Edna&rsquos bloodhound can find you on Motu Teta. Once your family sees the vacation photos surely they won&rsquot begrudge your escape.

Room for Two or More

Should you be guilted into bringing along any family, such as your children, you&rsquoll have enough room for up to 10. The island&rsquos accommodations include a private bungalow and a larger main villa, both with sweeping verandas. Otherwise, wash those relatives right out of your hair.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Those looking to kick it Old School will want to plan a visit to Plymouth, the town that symbolizes our national tradition of giving thanks and eating our faces off. Spend your day at Plimouth Plantation with role-playing pilgrims who reenact events from 17th-century life. The plantation is open from March to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Plantation Vacation

Casa Marina, Key West

As hosts of the International Sand Art Competition, Casa Marina launched a unique Thanksgiving tradition befitting of the quirky town that Ernest Hemingway once called home. Each year artists from all over the world create breathtaking sculptures right on the sandy shores of the Waldorf Astoria property.

Castles of Sand

Veteran sculptor Marianne van den Broek founded the competition, which unites artists from places such as Mexico, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. Guests of Casa Marina with beachfront balconies can watch the sculptures take shape all weekend long.

Key West’s Best

The Spa al Maré at Casa Marina will be open on Thanksgiving Day and for this we give thanks.

Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts

The Thanksgiving Feast at the Farm is one of the coolest holiday excursions we uncovered. Located on the island of St. Kitts, Belle Mont Farm will host a farm-to-table dinner with over 90 percent of the meal&rsquos ingredients sourced directly from the farm. One- to four-bedroom cottages are available and the experience is all-inclusive.

Sing for Your Supper

Chef Tell

La Posada, Santa Fe

Not only do we like the idea of having someone else doing the cooking, but we also like the thought of spending our holiday in a place known for its peaceful surroundings. La Posada in Santa Fe is steps from the capital city&rsquos Historic Square and is partly housed in a structure dating back to the 1880s. Thanksgiving visitors can expect menu offerings with a southwestern flare.

Inn & Spa at Loretto, Santa Fe

Chef Marc Quinones creates incredibly tasty dishes for his guests at Luminaria all year using the freshest ingredients from Santa Fe&rsquos local farmers markets. Holiday guests can choose to indulge in brunch or a prix-fixe dinner in the inn&rsquos peaceful and serene dining room. With temperatures dropping, there could be snow on the ground just in time for your arrival.

New York’s Midtown Hilton

Forget sitting out in the cold! The New York Hilton Midtown has your ringside seat for all the action of the Macy&rsquos Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A Suite of Sweets

Bell Book & Candle

More than ever, people want to know where their food is sourced. Diners at the Bell Book & Candle need only to look up. Many of the vegetables, fruits and herbs served by Chef John Mooney are grown in hydroponic towers six stories up, on the rooftop of the West Village eatery. Not only will BBC be open on Thanksgiving, but locals can also order to-go meals.

Tower of Power


Talk about soul food. We love the idea of a collard green salad and roasted turkey marinated in sugar brine, served up with a side of live music. Located in Harlem, legendary Minton&rsquos recently experienced a rebirth and the venue was restored to its former glory.

Jazz Hands

Wynn Las Vegas

The City of Sin is better known for over-the-top decadence, so it may come as a surprise that Steve Wynn, proprietor of the Wynn Las Vegas, takes a special interest in vegetarian and vegan options on all of his menus. He also has included a low-calorie menu at all of his restaurants as well.


Hotel Zamora

The Hotel Zamora is the first brand-spanking-new hotel to be built in St. Pete Beach, Florida, in 20 years. The Mediterranean-inspired property features a private marina and new 360-degree rooftop lounge with stunning oceanfront views. We suggest ordering up a Thanksgiving picnic basket from the resort&rsquos award-winning restaurant Castile and have it served poolside.

Thanksgiving Day

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Thanksgiving Day, annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists ( Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism, and the traditional fare of the Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. With respect to vehicular travel, the holiday is often the busiest of the year, as family members gather with one another.

What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

How did Thanksgiving start?

Colonists in New England and Canada regularly observed “thanksgivings,” days of prayer for such blessings as safe journeys, military victories, or abundant harvests. Americans model their holiday on a 1621 harvest feast shared between English colonists and the Wampanoag. Canadians trace their earliest thanksgiving to 1578, when a Martin Frobisher-led expedition celebrated safe passage.

When is Thanksgiving?

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, as specified in a joint resolution passed by Congress in 1941 and a proclamation issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942.

Since 1957, Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October.

How is Thanksgiving celebrated?

In both Canada and America, family and friends gather for a feast on Thanksgiving. Traditional fare in America often includes turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Parades and football games also have long associations with the holiday.

How did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?

Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for a national Thanksgiving in the United States during the 19th century, eventually winning President Abraham Lincoln’s support in 1863. He and subsequent presidents proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving annually until 1941, when Congress made Thanksgiving official by specifying the day of its celebration.

In Canada, Parliament established a national Thanksgiving Day in 1879.

Plymouth’s Thanksgiving began with a few colonists going out “fowling,” possibly for turkeys but more probably for the easier prey of geese and ducks, since they “in one day killed as much as…served the company almost a week.” Next, 90 or so Wampanoag made a surprise appearance at the settlement’s gate, doubtlessly unnerving the 50 or so colonists. Nevertheless, over the next few days the two groups socialized without incident. The Wampanoag contributed venison to the feast, which included the fowl and probably fish, eels, shellfish, stews, vegetables, and beer. Since Plymouth had few buildings and manufactured goods, most people ate outside while sitting on the ground or on barrels with plates on their laps. The men fired guns, ran races, and drank liquor, struggling to speak in broken English and Wampanoag. This was a rather disorderly affair, but it sealed a treaty between the two groups that lasted until King Philip’s War (1675–76), in which hundreds of colonists and thousands of Native Americans lost their lives.

The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “Thanksgivings,” days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought. The U.S. Continental Congress proclaimed a national Thanksgiving upon the enactment of the Constitution, for example. Yet, after 1798, the new U.S. Congress left Thanksgiving declarations to the states some objected to the national government’s involvement in a religious observance, Southerners were slow to adopt a New England custom, and others took offense over the day’s being used to hold partisan speeches and parades. A national Thanksgiving Day seemed more like a lightning rod for controversy than a unifying force.

Thanksgiving Day did not become an official holiday until Northerners dominated the federal government. While sectional tensions prevailed in the mid-19th century, the editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. She finally won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

The holiday was annually proclaimed by every president thereafter, and the date chosen, with few exceptions, was the last Thursday in November. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, attempted to extend the Christmas shopping season, which generally begins with the Thanksgiving holiday, and to boost the economy by moving the date back a week, to the third week in November. But not all states complied, and, after a joint resolution of Congress in 1941, Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November (which is not always the last Thursday) as Thanksgiving Day.

As the country became more urban and family members began to live farther apart, Thanksgiving became a time to gather together. The holiday moved away from its religious roots to allow immigrants of every background to participate in a common tradition. Thanksgiving Day football games, beginning with Yale versus Princeton in 1876, enabled fans to add some rowdiness to the holiday. In the late 1800s parades of costumed revelers became common. In 1920 Gimbel’s department store in Philadelphia staged a parade of about 50 people with Santa Claus at the rear of the procession. Since 1924 the annual Macy’s parade in New York City has continued the tradition, with huge balloons since 1927. The holiday associated with Pilgrims and Native Americans has come to symbolize intercultural peace, America’s opportunity for newcomers, and the sanctity of home and family.

Days of thanksgiving in Canada also originated in the colonial period, arising from the same European traditions, in gratitude for safe journeys, peace, and bountiful harvests. The earliest celebration was held in 1578, when an expedition led by Martin Frobisher held a ceremony in present-day Nunavut to give thanks for the safety of its fleet. In 1879 Parliament established a national Thanksgiving Day on November 6 the date has varied over the years. Since 1957 Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October.

Thanksgiving: Why some Americans don’t celebrate the controversial holiday

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a special, beloved holiday for eating turkey – or a vegetarian main course option – and spending time with friends and family.

However, for others, the celebration is deeply controversial – as Thanksgiving has a contentious history that goes far beyond when the first feast was held.

In addition to a holiday steeped with cultural appropriation, the period of history in America is frequently white-washed – which leads some Americans to ignore the holiday.


Thanksgiving is considered by some to be a “national day of mourning”

Like Columbus Day, the holiday is viewed by many to be a celebration of the conquest of Native Americans by colonists or an embellished narrative of “Pilgrims and Natives looking past their differences” to break bread.

Professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas at Austin previously said: “One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.”

Americans are frequently guilty of cultural appropriation in their celebrations

Young children are taught about Thanksgiving in school, where they often learn of the first feast through crafts and drawings. In addition to depictions of turkeys, the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, many children decorate Native American headdresses – which frequently bare no resemblance to the headdresses, clothes and feathers worn by the Wampanoag Indians.

These inaccurate historical references are perpetrated each year, making the battle for equality and accurate representation an ongoing one for Native Americans in America.

People disagree about when the first Thanksgiving happened

Most Americans think the three-day celebration between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts was the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims and their Native American neighbours had signed a mutual protection treaty the spring before and the feast was in honour of a successful first harvest.

But from the Pilgrims’ point of view, the first Thanksgiving – meant to be a day set aside for prayer and worship – took place in July 1623. Governor William Bradford declared a day of Thanksgiving to give thanks for the rain that had ended a drought and saved their harvest.

Others insist the first Thanksgiving took place a few years before in 1619 in Virginia.

In 1962, a Virginia state senator disputed President John F Kennedy’s assertion that Plymouth was the site of the First Thanksgiving.

Watch the video: Top 10 Best Cities to Spend Christmas In. MojoTravels (August 2022).