Plymouth MA & Thanksgiving Day Origins-Cheat Sheet


Have you ever had a difficult time explaining to your child, nephew, niece, or frankly, anybody else who asked how Thanksgiving Day got started and became a national holiday in the United States? Well, please bookmark this blog as your go-to cheat sheet for when you are called upon regarding the Holiday.



Known as 'America's Hometown', Plymouth, Massachusetts is widely considered to be the birthplace of the United States of America we know and love today. This is the location where England’s English pilgrims, aboard the famous Mayflower, arrived ashore in the early 17th century and established one of America’s first settlements. Named after a small English town of Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts is one of the oldest municipalities in all of North America and holds special significance for the New England region and the entire American population.

It all started back in the early 1600’s, when the Pilgrims, who were a group of ordinary English men, women and children, wanted religious freedom. While England’s King at the time adopted a stricter and more structure form of Christianity, the Pilgrims wanted a simpler adaptation, and as a result, they were also called “Puritans.”  In order to practice religion according to their interpretations, in 1620, the Puritans decided to leave their motherland, and set sail on a dangerous commute across the North Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mayflower. From Europe to the Americas, the distance traveled was more than 3,000 miles from the originating small English town. 


Thanksgiving Day occurs the last Thursday in November every year, and, according to History.com History of Thanksgiving, in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.


Like clockwork, since arriving on the shores of what is now Plymouth, MA, Thanksgiving has been celebrated by groups of Americans in one form or another. The holiday and Plymouth are the symbol of where our national celebration began.   As suggested by Plymoth Plantation Museum, the classic Thanksgiving menu of turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and root vegetables is based on New England fall harvests.

Nowadays, with great weather, beaches, shopping and a vibrant nightlife, most people visit Plymouth during the summer. However, although different, the fall season is equally beautiful and fun. There are no shortages of Things To Do. For history lessons, be sure to visit Plimoth Plantation Museum, Plymouth Rock, which can be found at the Pilgrim Memorial State Park on the shore of Plymouth Harbor, and the Mayflower House Museum.


Not so surprisingly, the beaches are very enjoyable and picturesque during the fall season. During this cooler period of the year, you will enjoy taking romantic or scenic family walks on Long Beach, Ellisville Harbor State Park, or beach at Nelson Memorial Park.

Also during the fall season, leading up to Thanksgiving, Plymouth hosts exciting Halloween events, plus the foliage scenery during this time of year is breathtaking, and adds to the many reasons to visit during the non-peak season. Best viewing can be found in Myles Standish State Forest, Douglas Westgate Conservation, or Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, which are all located in nearby Carver, Massachusetts.

This October and November, in the spirits of the Pilgrims, pack the family’s belongings and visit Plymouth, Massachusetts.  You will be more then better prepared to answer the difficult question of how Thanksgiving Day started. Be sure to bring your significant other, child, nephew, niece, or frankly, anybody else who might ask that question in the future!


With Plymouth’s 400 year Mayflower anniversary about to start, there is no better time than now to start mapping out your visit.  When planning, be sure to check out a Colbycoco Vacation and Short Term Rental property.  Along with Plymouth and other Massachusetts South Shore and Cape locations, including Scituate, Falmouth, and Martha’s Vineyard, we also have rental homes in Boston and surrounding neighborhoods.

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