Guide to Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts Best Western Experience | Travel Zone by Best Western

Guide to Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts

By Virginia Brown

Experience the essence of the first-ever Thanksgiving by visiting Plymouth, Massachusetts. Each year, the small coastal town, just over an hour’s drive south of Boston, draws travelers eager to experience a wide variety of Turkey Day festivities. From one of the country’s top parades to celebratory concerts, shared themed meals, and lots of fun for kids, here’s how to experience Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

Watch the parade

Every year, as part of America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration, Plymouth hosts a popular parade starting at Plymouth Rock, where English colonists traveling on the Mayflower landed in 1620. Impressive themed floats wind all through the historic town, celebrating important historic dates and eras in chronological order, while drum and bugle corps and military bands fill the streets with patriotic sounds.  

After the parade, head over to the Hometown Family Festival on the waterfront, which includes a children’s pavilion with a petting zoo, face painting, and art projects. Food trucks, a craft beer and wine tent, and historical reenactments are also part of the family festival. In the Historic Village, interact with historical figures, learn about military history, and peruse the marketplace, where artisans craft ironware, pottery, and more using period skills. 

Learn the history

The living history Plimoth Patuxet Museum shares the many stories of the native peoples and English colonists who met here in the 17th century. Explore a replica indigenous wetu (house) and learn about the lifestyle and culture of the longstanding Wampanoag community at Historic Patuxet. Several other historic sites are worth a visit, from a full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower ship to a re-creation of the Pilgrims’ small farming community and a grist mill.  

In downtown Plymouth, stop in the Pilgrim Hall Museum to see the oldest continuously operating public museum in the country. take a  glimpse of an impressive collection of 17th century artifacts, including some even from the Mayflower.  

Share a meal

Don’t stress about setting the table this year. Make a reservation at the Plimoth Patuxet Museum for one of their several themed Thanksgiving meals. “The Story of Thanksgiving” dinner includes a menu modeled after the meal served at the Harvard Club after President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official national holiday in 1863. Much like the meal found in homes across the country, expect roast turkey and traditional trimmings, like mashed potatoes, winter squash, green beans, and cranberry relish. While you eat, performers  educate you about the history of the country’s first Thanksgiving.   

Staff dressed like Pilgrims share stories and riddles at the New England Harvest Feast, held all throughout fall, but not on Thanksgiving day. Museum admission is included with each meal, and all events are appropriate for families and children. Purchase tickets in advance; they tend to sell out as the holiday approaches.   

Take in a concert 

On the Friday evening before Thanksgiving, the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra gives a celebratory performance at historic Memorial Hall. Hear classics from Handel, Pachelbel, and Bach under the baton of Steven Karidoyanes. On Saturday evening, catch the rousing drum and bugle corps at the National Senior Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps Concert. 

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