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 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.