Holiday Guide: The Quintessential Thanksgiving in Connecticut

Gathering with family and friends at a table laden with delicious food is how we give thanks for a healthy and happy year. Make your Thanksgiving holiday one filled with joy, great food, and giving back with our guide to take you from preparing the meal, to celebrating the big football game, to donating to our neighbors in need throughout Connecticut. 

1. Colony Grill, Multiple locations

The evening before Thanksgiving, enjoy some local beers with good company and perhaps a famous hot oil pizza from Colony Grill. This is one of Connecticut’s best spots to pick a beer from their tap selection to sip on something local, like New England Brewing Co., or a U.S.-wide brand such as Blue Moon. 

2. McQuade’s Marketplace, Mystic, CT

In addition to being an excellent local market year-round, McQuade’s has your Thanksgiving food needs covered. The bakery in particular is excellent and prepares a wide selection of fresh baked goods daily. The highlight has to be their freshly baked pies: apple, pumpkin, and berry are all delicious!

3. Young’s Longrange Farm, LLC., Watertown, CT

This family-owned and operated farm grows and sells non-GMO meats and eggs as well as local honey and seasonal produce. In addition to numerous cuts of beef, chicken, and pork, Young’s sells turkeys seasonally. Turkeys are raised kindly here with access to the outdoors as well as warm coops to keep them protected from the elements and predators. 

4. Stonington Farmers’ Market, Stonington, CT

If you need to pick up fresh vegetables, flowers, and pie for your Thanksgiving Day feast, head to Stonington Farmers’ Market. Located in quaint Stonington, this farmers’ market holds a small number of stands selling high-quality local produce, flowers, and baked goods that are worth the trip. The farmers’ market can be found indoors from November until April at the Velvet Mill and outdoors by the Stonington Docks from May through October.

5. Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular, Stamford, CT

Start your Thanksgiving celebrations off with a bang—and lots of helium balloons—at this year’s Downtown Parade Spectacular. Held on Sunday, Nov. 19 beginning at 12 p.m., viewers should expect to see local marching bands, 40-foot tall balloons, and a variety of other entertainment lining the streets of downtown Stamford.

6. Grace, Niantic, CT

Grace is a beautiful, locally-owned shop stocking unique clothing, décor, accessories, and lifestyle books all to fit in with the relaxing coastal lifestyle of southeastern Connecticut. Shop locally on Black Friday and make your first stop Grace, where you know you’ll have the best pick of gifts for family and friends, and maybe even yourself. 

7. Bristol Eastern vs. Bristol Central high school football game

Bristol Eastern High School and Bristol Central High School face off this Thanksgiving morning at 10:30 am. This will likely prove to be an exciting game, and follows a traditional matchup which began in 1959. Swing by the field to watch these two high school teams battle it out in a traditional Thanksgiving Day football game.

8. Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Mashantucket, CT

The Mashantucket Pequot Museum is an excellent education center that teaches visitors about the lifestyle of Mashantucket Pequot and other Connecticut Native Americans. Exhibits illustrate traditional handicrafts, foods, artwork, homes, and more. This holiday season, consider visiting this well-done museum to learn more about Connecticut’s indigenous peoples.

9. Manchester Road Race, Manchester, CT

Work up the appetite to consume massive amounts of turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie by lacing up your shoes and joining in on the Manchester Road Race. This event has been happening for over 80 years. This 4.748-mile race is a heart-healthy way to get your body pumping into the holiday season. Race proceeds go to support local and health charities. 

10. Blood Drive, Manchester, CT

After your feasting festivities, give back to someone in need by donating blood if you are healthy and able. Save someone’s life by donating blood at Manchester High School. Schedule an appointment or walk-in to do some good this holiday season.

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