Our Thanksgiving Primer

A Thanksgiving Primer

By the 19th of November, Martha Stewart’s planning her menu. On the 20th she sharpens her knives and on the 21st she picks up her turkeys. On the 23rd, she does the last-minute grocery shopping. And then she bakes. Now, we’re going to guess your schedule looks exactly like this or, nothing like it at all.

You’re either preparing to stage a Martha-caliber feast or you’re making plans for a hands-free holiday. Whatever your pleasure, we’ve got the goods.

Look Ma, No Hands.

If what suits your crew is an afternoon out, these restaurants are at the ready. But, don’t dawdle in deciding because they’re booking now and fast! Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant from 1-6 pm. Elegant dining room, Chef Rocklin’s bright, inspired cuisine (with Woodbury Game Birds Turkey) and always gracious service. Ye Olde Tavern from 3-7. Colonial charm, crackling fireplaces, New England tradition at its best. Raven’s Den Steakhouse from 2-8. Misty Knoll Tom Turkey with Ed, Nancy, and staff. At Copper Grouse, a holiday buffet from 1-8 — go for the cool, classy ambiance, Cider-Brined Turkey with Fortuna’s Sausage Stuffing and craft cocktails. Up the street at the Equinox, a celebration in the Colonnade. From 12-6 — Stonewood Turkey, Prime Rib, plus various entrees (butternut ravioli, lamb bourguignon) with classic sides and desserts. Children’s menu available. At the wonderful Wilburton Inn, Chef Gary Schmidt’s preparing a homemade harvest fireside from 3-6 with special pricing for inn guests and kids under 10. Arrive an hour early for family singalong fun! And if you want to stay in, but hands-free, order a fabulous feast from local favorite Bistro Henry by 11/16.

thanksgiving dinner turkey

Makers, All.

Going out is tempting. Same for trucking the gang to a cool chalet where you can cook your little heart out. For those prepping the homestead and those headed up to Vermont, know that every “Thanksgiving” thing you can possibly need is right here in MVT.

The Bird.

Someday Farm in Dorset offers range-running Nicholas White turkeys raised on GMO-free grain. The BEST! Order ahead and pick your bird up at the farm, fresh in a vacuum sealed pack. If you want to change up the main course, visit  Vermont Butcher Shop. They offer grass-fed beef, heritage pork, and more — all sourced from amazing local farms. If you’re ready to order by November 10, they can hook you right up with a fresh bird from Stonewood Farm in Orwell. Mind the deadline!

The Fixings.

Last year, Food Network’s Sara Moulton featured a few original recipes in her “Perfect Thanksgiving” special, including these fool-proof crowd-pleasers from Chef Amy and the Perfect Wife: Mashed Potatoes with Leeks and Sour CreamCornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples, Carrot and Parsnip Swirl.

al duccis cheese

For the Love of Cheese.

Where to find them? Al Ducci’s down in the depot and Rachel’s Gourmet Foods. If you want an all-American holiday cheese board, our favorites: creamy Lille from Vermont Farmstead and from Jasper Hill, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Bailey Hazen Blue. Can’t go wrong with Blue Ledge Farm Lake’s Edge, Consider Bardwell’s Manchester, or Vermont Shepherd’s sheep’s milk Verano. Find “construction tips” from Serious Eats here. Hit any of our local shops with your menu in hand!

Must Have Pie.

My mom makes delicious, Insta-worthy pies. But the gene skipped me. It really did. If you’re in the same boat, look to Mother Myrick’s for holiday favorites (802.362.1560) like apple, pumpkin, and pecan, and more exotic combinations like peach blueberry and cherry raspberry. Jacki’s tips: “Always store pies at room temperature in the box, even when picking up a day or two ahead of Thanksgiving. Once cut into, cover with plastic wrap. If you want to get a jump on the game, order up unbaked frozen pies that you can bake off day of. And when it’s time to dish them up, think about having fresh whipped cream and/or ice cream ready to serve. Who doesn’t like fruit pies & vanilla ice cream? Or pecan or pumpkin with fresh whipped cream! A reminder, if there’s any pie left after the meal is finished, don’t wrap it up. Leave it on a counter or table with a knife & some dishes so folks can help themselves for an evening snack.” 

mother myricks pumpkin pie

And, Wine.

Do your homework ahead and hit our local wine shop. Clarke and Barbara Comollo know everything, have impeccable taste, and are terrific fun, to boot. Bring your menu, ask for suggestions, and enjoy a mini-lesson. “Buying a Thanksgiving wine is really about a couple of things. Are you buying for a large group that probably won’t even notice if you brought a high-end wine? Or, are you planning for an intimate gathering of wine aficionados? We have a great prosecco sparkler at $7.99 that I’m loving right now and 2 true Champagnes at $14 and $16.” Also, plan for the sides. “The main course is easy, but it’s those crazy accompaniments, like Uncle Bob’s Indonesian cranberry sauce, that need a delicate, creative match.”

thanksgiving cookbooks

For the Hostess & the Cook.

At Northshire Bookstore, find music, hostess gifts, invitations, and cookbooks galore. We love the new one from Vermont Country Store and also Katie Webster’s Maple which has an OMG shortbread recipe and cocktail inspiration, too. At Vermont Kitchen Supply, find essentials from twine to tabletop: roasting pans, ramekins, serve ware, glassware, thermometers, aprons.

In short, we’ve got the whole nine yards. If you have questions, just ask!


Questions, comments, and suggestions welcome about anything and everything Manchester VT!

Related Post


The Romance of Manchester

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away- and love is in the air. Our beautiful town offers romance throughout the year, but the winter is...


Winter in Manchester

We’ve put together some of our favorite things to do in Manchester while taking in the wonder of the woods, mountains, and village that ma...


Manchester Vermont’s Four Absolutely Instagram-able Inns

The quintessential inns of Manchester offer history, luxurious amenities and Vermont romance.

Keep In Touch