Friends Shari and Dick host a unique Thanksgiving gathering every year. Rather than cramming everyone into the dining room, dinner is served “under the hemlocks” – out in the woods that are part of their farm.
Traditionally the dinner has been a potluck affair, with each guest bringing something to share with the other attendees. However, as the number of attendees grew over the years to well past 100, the logistics of the event verged on the overwhelming. So Shari and Dick simplified things this year: their invitation instructed each person to bring their own bowl and spoon. When we arrived we found an array of pots filled with tasty options to sample. While we didn’t have a traditional turkey, the meal was excellent – and I felt as full afterwards as I have after almost every Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂
Here are a few photos from before and after dinner. (In between I was enjoying the dinner!)
The weather was perfect, making for a delightful walk through the woods to get to the hemlock grove.
The candle apples were a great detail.
People socialized before dinner.
Festivities formally started with everyone forming a circle and holding hands, then singing the Shaker melody “Simple Gifts.”
Some bowls were provided for those who’d forgotten to bring their own.
Some of our dining choices were in pots warmed by gas burners.
Others gathered for post-dinner conversation.
Other choices were in electric crockpots powered by a nearby (and sound-proofed) generator.
Many people brought beverages, which were collected on this table.
After walking for about a half mile, we approached the grove.
A collection of things to bring for the party, including bowls, musical instruments and extra layers of clothing.
As it was Shari’s daughter’s birthday, we also sang “You Are My Sunshine” to mark the occasion.
The tables were all charmingly decorated for the occasion.
After dinner some folks gathered around a fire and enjoyed some music.
The Shaker melody “Simple Gifts” is a perfect song for a Thanksgiving celebration. It is also fitting because the Shakers had several of their earliest American settlements in the area.
All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2012; all rights reserved.