It’s traditional for families and friends to get together on the fourth Thursday of November, but if you’re hankering after something different, why not try one of these alternative places to spend Thanksgiving. I’ve looked for places that are associated with the festival of Thanksgiving rather than just places in the US. Okay, so there might be some tenuous links but trust me they are there! If you’re looking for some very alternative places to spend Thanksgiving check these out!
I have never really made the connection as to why Turkey the country is called Turkey and why the bird is called Turkey (trust me the story is wayyy too long to tell here but if you’re interested read this straightdope.com) but, it is what it is and no matter how strange the link, it seems obvious to me that one of the alternative places to spend Thanksgiving is indeed Turkey. It’s actually a pretty good choice in November too. The summer tourists will have gone home meaning you’ll have more space to enjoy the attractions of this country, which it has to be said, are truly, truly magnificent. It will still be warm enough for days on the beach in the south, Istanbul is captivating and the ruins around the country mesmerizing. This is where Turkey and all the trimmings takes on a whole new meaning.
There’s no doubting this link. Plymouth in the county of Devon, in the south of England is really where Thanksgiving all began. It was from this place that in 1620, The Mayflower embarked on its voyage carrying 102 pilgrims to the New World. The rest is history. But did you know that Cape Cod was not their original destination? Landfall was indeed intended to be in the Colony of Virginia and it was winds that forced anchorage in the harbor of what is known today as Provincetown, with the settlers eventually setting up home in New Plymouth. Plymouth in England is a major naval town and in November will be grey and wet. Find a cozy berth in a dockside hostelry and enjoy a Sunday carvery instead of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Okay, I know you’re asking why on earth would a town in Ireland be one of the alternative places to spend Thanksgiving? Well, as I said at the beginning, I was going to present places “associated" with the festival. I searched high and low for something cranberry related. There are no towns with that name (that I could find anyway) so my next best option is the rock band “The Cranberries” and where does this band come from – why Limerick in Ireland, of course! It may be a name that is new to you, but these guys were seriously hot sauce (get it!) in the 90s selling over 40 million albums worldwide.
Who doesn’t love candied yams with their Thanksgiving dinner? So, why shouldn’t you think of taking a trip to Yam Island. Well this little charm of a place is actually in Australia. It is a small island in the Torres Strait in Queensland – Australia’s Sunshine State. And in November, it’s summer and hot, so you can lay on the beach and roast like a turkey (and get a crispy skin too if you forget your slip, slop, slap). If you’re there for Thanksgiving, there’s a neighboring island that just begs to be visited on Thanksgiving Day – Thursday Island! There’s another Australian link to Thanksgiving too. You can celebrate Thanksgiving American style on Norfolk Island – an island about 870 miles east of Oz. Thanksgiving is celebrated here on the last Wednesday of November, the festival having been brought to the island by American whaling ships.
I learned something very interesting while I was researching this article. Canada has a Thanksgiving Day too. It is a national holiday observed the first Monday of each October. But, all you lovely American ladies reading this article, hold on to your hats because Canada’s first Thanksgiving pre-dates the first US Thanksgiving! And that’s what makes Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island one of the very credible alternate places to spend Thanksgiving. The first Canadian Thanksgiving was attributed to Martin Frobisher in 1578, who held a service to give thanks for his surviving the voyage from England to Baffin Island. You’ll need to be a very hardy soul to want to visit Frobisher Bay in November. This is the Arctic winter but you’ll find a warm welcome in the city of Iqaluit.
Yep – another fairly tenuous link coming up. Although the voyage of The Mayflower could hardly be called a cruise (the voyage was long, hard and for some, deadly), without that journey there wouldn’t be the Thanksgiving of today. Emulate that voyage by booking a berth on a swanky cruise ship. And why not? Thanksgiving is about celebrating, giving thanks, feasting and being with loved ones. On a cruise you can give thanks for anything you like, you can feast until you are as stuffed as a turkey and you’re most likely with at least one loved one.
I couldn’t find a place called Gravy and I initially did think of Brussels but then discounted that because sprouts are more of a Christmas item than traditional for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t find anywhere called dressing or stuffing, nor pumpkin so I have ended up, back where it all started, with a pilgrim for the last of my alternative places to spend Thanksgiving. This Pilgrim is a small town in Gonzales County, Texas. I’m sure the good folks of Pilgrim wouldn’t mind you paying a visit, but as there are only 60 inhabitants, a church and a community center, it’s unlikely you’ll find a turkey and all the trimmings going spare here.
Well, was that some food for thought? Will you ever venture forth to these alternate places to spend Thanksgiving or will you remain traditional and a home body?
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