Thanksgiving in Plymouth

Truly, is there a better place to spend Thanksgiving than Plymouth, Massachusetts? For one cannot think of Thanksgiving, without Plymouth coming to mind as well.

We do not have any extended family nearby, and Thanksgiving is generally a makeshift affair. This year I was just not in the mood to prepare a big spread. My husband is allergic to turkey, the recognized star of most Thanksgiving feasts, and the rest of the traditional food doesn't do much to arouse my craving, although I wouldn't turn down a piece of pumpkin pie, or better yet, pumpkin cheesecake.

Than I realized, hey, we live in New England! This is the land of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was a long-standing, regional tradition in New England well before Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863.  I actually have ancestors who were at that fabled "first" Thanksgiving in 1621, and who came aboard the Mayflower. So, we drove down to Plymouth and went to Plimoth Plantation, where you find both a Native American village and an English settlement, as you would have seen them in the 17th century.

A bark covered wetu

At the Wampanoag homesite, there were a few fires blazing, for cooking and demonstrations, and the smoke gave the whole village an ethereal quality to the dying sunlight.  It was quite stunning.


A wetu and cornfield

After you finish exploring the Native American homesite, you walk up a path to the English settlement, where the pilgrims would have lived.

In those very early years of settlement, you would have seen huts and cottages very much like you might have found in England, with thatched roofs and other features they brought with them from their homeland. It wasn't until several years down the line, in the latter part of the 17th century, that colonists developed the distinctly American look to their homes, based on native materials and climate and the ingenuity it took to survive.

From the roofs to the sea.

A pilgrim woman walks around her garden

Some dancing among the colonist ladies.

And after our time at Plimoth Plantation (enjoyed so much that we purchased a year membership), we headed up the road to the Plymouth harbor to explore Mayflower II, a recreation of the original Mayflower.

Stepping aboard the Mayflower at sunset

And with that, I do believe a new Thanksgiving tradition was created. It was such a lovely day and so much more meaningful than our usual "let's sit down to a feast and then sleep and/or be lazy for hours" routine. Even with the Boston traffic, it was worth every moment!


  1. I'm super jealous of how much history you get to live in/by/near and participate in!! Amazing stuff.

    And who on earth is allergic to turkey? I didn't know that was possible. I'm very sorry for your husband.

  2. Thanks for the tour! I love your idea of turning Thanksgiving into an educational experience for the kids. Lovely images too. How sad to be allergic to turkey!

  3. We did the same trip last summer and at the time I said to my husband "we should come at Thanksgiving one year." Maybe I'll see you there next year! It's a really wonderful place.

  4. What a great way to spend Thanksgiving!!

  5. What a wonderful new tradition for your family. Perfect.

  6. Barb - I feel so lucky to live near all this stuff! Truly a dream come true for me! My husband is allergic to all fowl, especially chicken. Crazy, huh?

    Sarah - thank you! Yes, the turkey thing is weird, though I'm actually not a big fan of turkey, so I'm ok with that. Chicken, however, I do miss having more of!

  7. Pattianne - it really is a great place! You should definitely do Thanksgiving there! It's just perfect. You can even feast there!

  8. Sue - It was so awesome!! Can't wait to go back.

    Julie - definitely perfect! Such a great place and great way to spend time together.

  9. I can't even imagine being there with all of the history. So amazing!

    I recently found out I have at least (that I've seen) one ancestors who was born here even before Plymouth and it has been cited on Ancestry.com so I assume it's true. I really need to look more into it because this period of time really excites me!

  10. I love your pictures of one of our family's favorite places to visit! So beautiful. It holds a lot of meaning for us too because of Peter's ancestry there. Two of the pilgrim actors play his ancestors. I'm hoping we'll go back next summer when we're at the Cape. What a wonderful place to spend Thanksgiving. You should try to do the Thanksgiving meal at Plimoth Plantation one year too. That's on my bucket list! Although maybe it wouldn't be worth it for you guys with the turkey allergy?

  11. What a fun time! This is only 20-25 minutes away for us!

  12. How fun! What a perfect place to go on Thanksgiving.

  13. Great place for pictures and for Thanksgiving, thank you for sharing Alyson.

  14. we went to Plimoth Plantation for thanksgiving when i was 9. One of the best memories I have! Now I take my 3rd graders there virtually every year! So much fun!