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?
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.