Thanksgiving: A Truly New England Holiday

Celebrate an Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving: It All Started Here in New England!

New England Thanksgiving Quick Links: Travel | Fun | History | Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving from the place where it all started--right here in New England!

From the Pilgrims' first feast in 1621 to our modern football-saturated cozy family gatherings, Americans have made the Thanksgiving holiday uniquely their own.

As you prepare to reflect upon the things that you are grateful for (the Internet is high on my list... I'll bet the Pilgrims never foresaw this type of progress!), I've assembled this guide to holiday travel and traditions in New England to help make your holiday a memorable one, filled with the spirit, warmth and nostalgic charm of that first assemblage in thanks of a bountiful harvest here on New England's Atlantic shores.

Flying for the holiday? Search for Cheap Flights with TripAdvisor or compare flight prices for your Thanksgiving travel with Expedia.

  • 01 of 07
    Wild Turkey for Thanksgiving
    ••• Wild turkeys sure wish they could fly away as Thanksgiving approaches. Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images

    First things first: Before you can plan a memorable Thanksgiving holiday, you need to circle the date on your calendar. Here's your guide to this year's date--and Thanksgiving dates for upcoming years--so you can make travel plans early.

    Procrastinated? Check Kim's New England Deal Sheet for last-minute Thanksgiving season travel specials.

  • 02 of 07
    New England Thanksgiving Traditions
    ••• All of the holiday traditions you've dreamed of await in New England. Joanna McCarthy / Getty Images

    Planning a Thanksgiving getaway to Plymouth, Massachusetts, or other New England destinations? I'll help you find special Thanksgiving travel packages, historic places to visit and Thanksgiving Day dining options.

  • 03 of 07
    Plimoth Plantation Dining
    ••• You'll never forget the Thanksgiving you spent with the Pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation. Media photo courtesy of Plimoth Plantation

    Celebrate with the Pilgrims, or bring a New England touch to your own holiday with these recipes and complete Thanksgiving dinner menus.

  • 04 of 07

    Holiday Cooking Inspiration from New England

    Fresh Cranberries
    ••• Cranberries are harvested in New England each autumn, and they taste tart and scrumptious in Thanksgiving recipes. © 2012 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Pilgrims' first feast of Thanksgiving still influences our modern holiday. Wherever you celebrate the holiday, these Thanksgiving recipes will help you to add a taste of New England to your meal and inspire you to create new traditions that your family will cherish for years to come.

    Recipes and Ideas for Thanksgiving Entertaining:

    Cranberry Recipes from New England
    Massachusetts--historic home of the Pilgrims--is one of the top cranberry-producing states in America. These cranberry recipes from New England restaurants and inns will inspire you to add this healthy berry to your Thanksgiving day menu in creative ways.

    Make Mincemeat
    Have you ever made mincemeat, the traditional New England Thanksgiving dish? Do you even know what it is? Here's the answer, plus two recipes--one old and a more modern interpretation--provided by Old Sturbridge Village.

    New England Pumpkin Recipes
    Looking for an alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving? Try these recipes from New...MORE England inns and restaurants.

    Cooking with Cider
    From roast turkey with cider gravy to sweet potatoes with cider and brown sugar to hot cider beverages, here are some wonderful recipes to spice up your Thanksgiving feast.

    How to Make Hot Mulled Cider
    There's nothing more New England than the cinnamony scent of hot mulled cider simmering on the stove.

    More Thanksgiving Recipes
    Turkey, pies, stuffing, salads, side dishes, cocktails--About.com Experts have Thanksgiving cooking advice and recipes to suit every taste and appetite.

    Thanksgiving Leftovers?
    Thanksgiving means leftover turkey! Bored with sandwiches? Try this Wild Turkey Hash recipe: a tradition at Topper's at The Wauwinet on Nantucket for decades.

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  • 05 of 07
    Plymouth Rock
    ••• What's the most visited rock in New England? Plymouth Rock!. © 2007 Kim Knox Beckius

    There's no historic site more firmly steeped in Pilgrim mystique than Plymouth Rock. If you haven't made your own pilgrimage to Plymouth, Massachusetts, make plans this Thanksgiving season to cross a visit to America's most iconic rock off your travel bucket list.

    More Must-Visit Pilgrim Attractions:

  • 06 of 07

    Thanksgiving Trivia Quiz

    Plimoth Plantation Recreates Pilgrim and Wampanoag Traditions
    ••• How well do you know your Thanksgiving history? Test your knowledge with this fun quiz. Michael Springer / Getty Images

    Do you have the gizzards to be a Top Turkey? Test your knowledge of Thanksgiving history, trivia and traditions with this fun-for-all-ages interactive quiz.

  • 07 of 07
    Yellow Turkey at Gozzi's Turkey Farm - Gozzi Turkey Picture
    ••• This yellow turkey isn't a chameleon who's changed his feathers to blend in with New England's autumn foliage. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    For 50 some-odd years, travelers have been flocking to one New England farm where the turkeys turn bright Easter egg colors in the weeks before Thanksgiving. It's not exactly the camouflage they need to stay off a dinner platter! I'll tell you where to see these colorful turkeys: New England's best Thanksgiving photo op.