Where You Can Celebrate Thanksgiving Like a Pilgrim

Thanksgiving in Plymouth Massachusetts
••• Michael Springer/Getty Images

Spend Thanksgiving where the first historic gathering happened, in Plymouth, about a 45-minute drive south of Boston.

Anytime of year, you can explore Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum where costumed actors depict how the early colonists lived in the year 1627. At the waterfront, you can go onboard the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the original Mayflower, and visit the Wampanoag Homesite, an outdoor living history exhibit of a 17th-century Native American settlement.

But November is a special time to visit Plymouth, thanks to an annual extended Thanksgiving celebration that brings history to life.

Weekend before Thanksgiving - November 17-19, 2017

Come the weekend before Thanksgiving for Plymouth's annual Thanksgiving celebration. Three days of activities include a parade, concerts, waterfront activities, and a food festival focused on the best dishes of New England. AOL named the Plymouth parade the number one Thanksgiving parade in the nation.

  • Parade: On Saturday, you can view one of America’s only historically accurate chronological parades, visually bringing to life America’s rich heritage representing each century from the Pilgrim era in the 17th century through to modern times.
  • New England Food Festival: Also on Saturday, this festival features the very best soups, chowders, desserts, party foods, entrees, and beverages in the region.
  • Historic Village: On Saturday, the historic and scenic Brewster Gardens is brought to life with authentic camps and scenarios of historical eras. Interpreters in period dress are there to inform and entertain, serving as guides as you travel back through the centuries.
  • Drum and Bugle Concert: On Saturday night, you'll need a ticket to attend a historic celebration of music and excellence in drum and bugle corp. 
  • Harvest Market: Find everything you need to prepare your Thanksgiving dinner using locally grown, fresh-from-the-farm fruits, vegetables, herbs, preserves, eggs, grass-fed meats, and seafood. Local food purveyors bring fresh cheese, jams, sauces, honey, and a wide selection of baked goods.
  • Wampanoag Pavilion: Turn back time to the year of 1621 and learn what really happened at that first dinner between the colonists and Wampanoag people. Actors in period dress representing the Wampanoag and colonists will shatter the myths about the 17th-century event that spawned a national holiday.

Thanksgiving - November 19-25, 2017

Along with the activities at Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II, there are multiple special dining events, including:

  • America's Thanksgiving Dinner: The meal features a classic roast turkey with all the traditional New England trimmings. Pilgrim role players and Native interpreters are on-hand and you'll learn about the 1621 feast that continues to inspire our modern celebration of Thanksgiving.
  • Harvest Dinner with the Pilgrims: Step back in time for an evening of entertainment and hospitality with the residents of 17th-century Plymouth. You'll discover the table manners and recipes that traveled across the Atlantic with the Pilgrims, and find out about the harvest celebration of 1621. (Available on eight select dates in October and November, including five during Thanksgiving week.)

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