THE TRAVELING WOLVES CELEBRATE AN HISTORICAL THANKSGIVING VACATION
Plymouth, MA – America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration Weekend – November 22-24, 2019
New York City, NY – Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2019
Mount Vernon, VA – Candlelight Christmas Tour of the Mt. Vernon Estate and Mansion
SO MANY PICTURES, AND THEY’RE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS EACH!
I spent a good amount of time telling you all about our historical Thanksgiving vacation’s proposed schedule in An Historic Thanksgiving Vacation – Plymouth, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Mt. Vernon.
So, I’m only going to give you the highlights of our fabulous historical Thanksgiving vacation in this Traveling Wolves Journal Entry. Most of the story will be told through three galleries of pictures I curated from the hundreds of photos we took on our trip.
PLYMOUTH’S THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION WAS A BLAST – TO THE PAST THAT IS!
Plymouth, Massachusetts, home of the Mayflower Society, Plymouth Rock and a fabulous Thanksgiving parade. Plymouth can boast that its parade is one of the few chronologically accurate parades in the United States.
By the way, Plymouth Rock was relocated to a position closer to land (but still on the beach). It’s now housed under a small stone pavilion nestled safely on a soft, sandy bed. The pavilion does not allow access to the rock and is also guarded by a Park Ranger. He’s happy to regale you with stories about this rather small hunk of stone, including why it was moved. Turns out we patriotic Americans were using chisel and hammer on the famous rock and taking a piece home!
WHAT A FABULOUS THANKSGIVING PARADE PLYMOUTH PUTS ON!
It began with the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock and then traced our history through the Indian wars, Civil war, right up to our current historical time.
This year’s parade celebrated two anniversaries with special floats. 2019 marks the 75th D-Day Anniversary of the Landing at Normandy and the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 flight. Both were honored with special floats that will most likely be a permanent part of the parade as they take their place in history. Check out both floats in the Plymouth photo gallery.
WE HITCHED A RIDE IN A 1914 MODEL-T FORD
H.H. and I were unfamiliar with Plymouth, so we parked in a lot outside of the downtown parade area. While parking, we noticed a group of antique cars using the lot as a staging area for the parade. Many of the old vehicles were in tip-top condition with owners bundled against the November morning chill.
As H.H. and I walked along the sidewalk to reach the main street, the first of the cars started to pass us. Jokingly I stuck my thumb out, smiled and waved. Much to our surprise, a 1914 Model-T Ford pulled over and told us to hop in!
Delighted, H.H. and I jumped in as the female passenger threw a multi-colored crocheted blanket over our laps. The older couple come each year from a nearby community to participate in the parade in their beloved “ride”.
They told us all about how parades are staged and the real role of a parade’s Grand Marshal. I had always thought that it was mostly ceremonial, but it appears I was wrong! The discussion was so interesting that I thought I’d give you an intro to “parade lingo”. This behind-the-scenes peek will give you a little insight into how a parade is put together and executed.
While some Grand Marshal’s are indeed ceremonial, other are not. It turns out that the Grand Marshal actually “directs traffic” in many parades! He signals parade entries parked along the side streets waiting to join the procession when it is their time to begin their crawl.
We left our good samaritans to take their places in their assigned parade section and found a spot to watch the parade. We promised to wave as the passed us on the parade route.
PARADE ORGANIZERS HAVE THEIR OWN “LINGO” – The Basics
UNIT: An individual entry. The unit may consist of one participant, like a politician or movie star, or a group of people, like a marching band, equestrian club or scout troop. The basic units in a parade are walkers, bands, animals, vehicles, balloons and floats.
REVIEWING STAND: Judges’ and/or announcers’ stage.
FORWARD MOTION: Units do not stop to perform in front of reviewing stand.
OUT-WALKER: Costumed person associated with the float but not riding on it, who walks around the float, extending the theme beyond the float itself.
ENTRY CLASS: Type of entry, i.e., float, walking group, band, equestrian, drill team, vehicle, cheerleaders, etc.
CATEGORIES/DIVISIONS: For every class there are related categories or divisions such as age, professional, amateur, organization, corporate and novelty.
LINEUP: Official order of march.
PARADE MARSHAL/MONITOR: Person who manages a section of entries in the staging area. In some parades, they walk with their assigned groups along the parade route. They are typically in communication with the parade coordinator and are identified by apparel such as a colored vest or hat.
STAGING AREA: Location where units gather and are put in order by parade marshals/monitors.
AMBUSH: An unauthorized entry trying to sneak into the parade.
GRAND MARSHAL: Honorary title given to the ceremonial head of the parade.
STACK: To position the units close together in the staging area.
FEED: To move units from their staging position into the parade line.
STEP-OFF: Physical location of the start of the parade.
PACE: The speed at which the units follow one another.
PLYMOUTH HOSTS A FABULOUS HISTORICAL THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION
Cool, huh? The parade was fabulous and very impressive for a small community like Plymouth, Massachusetts. The organizers pull both military and musical entries from all over the Northeastern seaboard. We had a blast interacting with the parade entries, hooting and hollering as we snapped more pics. Our “ride” waved and tooted their horn as they passed in their Model-T.
Make sure to check out the picture of the parade’s “Confederate pooper-scooper”! The young man was about 7 years old and took his job very seriously!
PORTAL TO THE PAST – A HISTORICAL THANKSGIVING VACATION TREAT
The weekend-long celebration featured a historical encampment ranging from colonial times to current military capabilities. There were demonstrations, a pair of dueling swordsmen and even an old-west gun fight! I made sure I tried out one of the swords and even got the hang of holding and aiming a musket. The “in-character” participants were ready to teach and answer questions as they demonstrated their part in history.
LOTS TO SEE, EAT AND DO ON A HISTORICAL THANKSGIVING VACATION
The Traveling Wolves spent the rest of the day eating, drinking, touring and generally having a great time. When evening fell, The Plymouth 400 Foundation and The Mayflower Society held a lovely 400th Anniversary ceremony and Lantern Parade down Leyton Street. I was honored as a member of The Mayflower Society to be a participant in the parade with my own lantern. I was touched and felt like I had found a little bit of my own “history” that day.
The good people of Plymouth put on a great celebration. You should check it out one day when you’re in the mood for your own historical Thanksgiving vacation!
NEW YORK CITY – MEAN GIRLS, PARADE AND OUR 38TH ANNIVERSARY
To say we had a fabulous time in the Big Apple would be an understatement! We checked into our Hilton hotel a block from the parade route on 34th Street on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. As you can imagine, it was a total zoo at check-in, but I had a few anniversary surprises to finalize.
AN ANNIVERSARY TO REMEMBER…
I decided to pull out all the stops to help us celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary in NYC. Long before we left, I hatched my plan of action to surprise my honey.
For starters, I designed and printed a 9 foot long banner “anniversary card” that I had hung up in our suite. It turned out pretty cute, didn’t it?
I tried to arrange it to be hung up in our hotel lobby, along the parade route and in Rockefeller Center, but failed miserably! BUT, at least I tried!
Secondly, after we checked into our room, I had a surprise delivery arrive. It began with a huge anniversary balloon that played a snippit of the song “You’re Still The One”. Then came the roses, champagne and a quartet of cupcakes that spelled out “LOVE”. Needless to say, H.H. was both surprised and touched by my expressions of love and devotion. (okay, I can get a little mushy sometimes)
MEAN GIRLS – THEY WEAR PINK ON WEDNESDAYS, WHO KNEW?
Wednesday morning had us out on the streets early for a “bagel and a shmear” as we waited in line for discount Broadway show tickets. After checking out all the shows online before we left home, we decided that a light romp would be best. Mean Girls fit the bill and had great reviews from our friends and the critics.
I swear I didn’t know that the show’s main characters have a rule that they wear PINK on Wednesdays! When planning for this trip, I packed my aubergine/pink clothing color capsule as part of my travel wardrobe.
So, it happens that I wore my pink wool coat and matching outfit to a Wednesday show. I cringed in my seat when the scene came that sang about this particular PINK rule. Would people believe my naivete? Luckily, after a cocktail at intermission, I no longer cared!
It was a great show! H.H. actually got a pic of the opening song before he was politely told to ditch the camera! I was a bit embarrassed, but that’s a photo-freak for you!
Great show, great time had by all!
WATCHING THE PARADE BALLOONS BE INFLATED
On Wednesday night, we joined the thousands of people who walked in line for several blocks to see the giant balloons be filled. We filed along as we took pictures of Ronald McDonald lying on his side in respite until “showtime”. It was fascinating to see the mammoth cartoon characters with their limbs lying on the ground waiting to come to life. It was crowded, and a bit wet from an earlier rain, but really neat to see. Check out the pics in the gallery, so cool.
MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE
We were up at the crack of dawn, but didn’t hit the streets at 6AM like the majority of the crowd. Since we stayed only two blocks from Macy’s flagship store, the parade doesn’t actually reach our location until an hour after it begins. We took our time and had breakfast in bed before bundling up and gathering our parade “survival kit”. After all, it was our anniversary!
With camping chairs tossed over our shoulders, our reusable fabric totes and a pair of smiles, we set off. Even at 7:15AM, it took 10 minutes to take an elevator down the 20 floors to the street! Not exactly an auspicious start.
TRY TO FIND A SPOT WHERE A 5-FOOT GAL CAN SEE THE PARADE!
Okay folks, I’m not gonna lie. It is not easy watching an event like a parade when you are only 5 foot-1 inch tall! Despite being in the “second row” of chairs while waiting for the parade to begin, all hell broke loose when the parade began.
At one point, I thought I was going to be trampled by the surging crowd behind us! As parade rookies, we left our chairs set up when the parade began. Turns out the seats formed a barrier to help keep the crowd from overtaking our positions. Gee, this reads like a battle plan, doesn’t it? For a few moments, it felt like one.
H.H. MAKES A LITTLE GIRL SMILE WITH GREEN EGGS AND HAM MUFFS
Before the parade began, lots of vendors were selling their wares and some free parade swag was circulating in the streets. H.H. wandered off as I gabbed with some gals from Texas and came back with two sets of ear muffs. Netflix was giving away really cute “Green Eggs and Ham” muffs for the kick off of the new parade balloon.
H.H. handed me my pair and promptly put his on top of his wool cap. Watching H.H., a little girl with the family next to us eyed the muffs with envy.
In typical H.H. style, he plucked the earmuffs from his head and offered them to the little girl. She looked at her Mom who nodded and then meekly took them from his hands. She wore them with a huge smile as her mother glanced at H.H. with an expression of thanks. It was a sweet moment.
HIGH WINDS THREATENED THE BALLOONS’ FLIGHT
Luckily at parade starting time the winds were predicted to be just low enough to fly the parade balloons, but at a lower height than normal. That meant we were going to get fabulous pictures and a great view of each balloon as it passed our places.
Chase, one of the balloons in a lying position, actually flew so low that his knee was scraping the ground! I could just imagine it bursting from the friction. It was a little scary to think about.
It was cold, exciting and fabulous, all wrapped up into an incredible historical Thanksgiving vacation experience!
ANNIVERSARY DINNER AT ROCKEFELLER CENTER
We enjoyed a fabulous 38th Anniversary dinner at the Sea Grill in Rockefeller Center. Before our reservation time we wandered around Rockefeller Center. We took pics of the giant Christmas tree awaiting its lighting and watched the skaters gliding around the ice like swans across the water. It was magical.
A DINNER PROPOSAL – ON THE ICE RINK, SILLY!
The Sea Grill is on the ground floor of the Rockefeller Center on the same level as the skating rink. It affords most of the tables in the restaurant a view of the skaters while you dine. Apparently, there are skate sessions that begin and end at certain intervals. Between intervals, we saw the ice rink emptied and only a pair of skaters emerge.
After two laps around the rink, the young man stopped them, dropped to his knee and took out a box. He proposed while the entire Rockefeller Center crowd, both inside and out cheered and clapped. Another special moment on our historical Thanksgiving vacation.
COULDN’T LEAVE NYC WITHOUT A DOZEN BAGELS!
Knowing that we love our bagels, and not having fabulous choices in North Carolina, I packed several 2-gallon Ziploc bags. Before leaving the city, we stopped at a Jewish bakery and picked up two dozen bagels, one for us and one for a friend. In the car I transferred them all to my humongous Ziploc bags and they kept nice and fresh until we got home.
Check out our New York City historical Thanksgiving vacation pictures!
ONE LAST STOP, MT. VERNON, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S HOME
The Traveling Wolves wanted to end our historical Thanksgiving vacation with one last stop. When living in Maryland after we were first married, we had always talked of going to Mt. Vernon, and this was our chance.
While planning this trip, H.H. discovered that there are Candlelight Christmas Tours of Mt. Vernon during the holiday season. It turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire trip!
We were ushered into a wonderful building that had Christmas trees decorated by local historical organizations, a fabulous Gingerbread house replica and a to-scale model of the Mt. Vernon mansion.
There was hot apple cider and treats to enjoy while you waited to be called by your “host”. All the staff was in period costume and spoke in the language of the times. Our “host” was one of President and Mrs. Washington’s friends (all historically accurate) who then took us on our lantern-lit tour.
The estate is beautiful at night, especially with all the cobblestone paths lit only by the moon and candlelight. Quite special. All along the tour, historically dressed friends and family of the Washingtons regaled us with stories and interesting facts.
When we arrived at the dining room, Mrs. Washington was in attendance to greet us with a “Happy Christmas” and tell us of her holiday entertaining at the estate. How cool is that?
DID YOU KNOW THAT GEORGE KEPT A CAMEL AT MT. VERNON?
Along his many travels, George Washington became enamored with the species of camels. He paid 18 shillings to have one brought to the estate and kept him safe and happy until long after the President had passed. “Alladin” still resides on the estate, although our host assured us he probably isn’t a descendant of the original. Duh!
TRY COLONIAL DANCING? – HECK YES!
I was keen to try my hand at the colonial-style dancing Mt. Vernon offered to finish the evening’s tour. The estate’s former greenhouse was the site of much merriment, laughing and sometimes a trip or two! The floors were uneven flagstone that proved to be a challenge, to say the least!
As H.H. had no intention of stumbling his way around the dance floor, he offered to take pictures. Although, as you’ll see, the pics are really just blurs of us rapidly moving this way and that. Each “set of four” dancers included 2 staff characters to teach you the steps. (I’m the short one in black and white!) Thank goodness for small favors!
I had great fun, although I found my talents do not lie in learning or executing 300 year old dance steps. Luckily I don’t mind looking a bit of the fool when it involves a fun new experience! That’s what it means to be “living the good life, one moment at a time”.
A FABULOUS HISTORICAL THANKSGIVING VACATION WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER
Well, we’re back home and had a wonderful time going through all the pics and reliving our vacation. That’s the great thing about photos, they let you remember all the “little moments” that you shared along your journeys.
That’s a wrap folks! Hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride on our Historical Thanksgiving Vacation 2019!
DO YOU TRAVEL OVER THE HOLIDAYS?
I’d love to hear where you will be traveling over the holidays. Why not leave a comment below this post or better yet, head on over to The Fab Life Facebook Group. Tell the gang all about your holiday travel plans this year! And don’t forget to post your pics afterwards too! You’ve got to be a better photographer than yours truly!
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