Thanksgiving dinner at Plimouth Plantation is a unique experience.
But after spending Friday evening with "the pilgrims" and our fellow diners, observations reveal five opportunities for improvement.
1. Be clear with the location of the dinner.
While we were in the main lobby of the plantation, there were no directions on the location of our dinner. With two dinners in progress, it was easy to attend the wrong one. And when we buy a bottle of Cabernet at the location of what we thought was our dinner location, don't make us shiver in the cold at the second location holding our bottle and glasses like some derelict teens outside the senior prom waiting for the doors to open.
2. Provide more education.
The allure of this dinner is to enlighten diners on what dinner was like for the pilgrims. Before each course is served, have one of the actors provide some brief comments on what we're about to eat and how the food was originally gathered. This may have explained why we are served scrod after our rice pudding and why there are no forks.
3. Dim the lights.
There was no electricity in 17th century Plimouth. Granted, candles only would be been an extreme, but at least soften those recessed lights. The dining room was lit up like a high school cafeteria.
4. Have a modern alcohol policy.
There was no wine in 17th century New England, but if we purchase a bottle at the bar for our table, let us keep the wine with us at the table. And real wine glasses would be nice, instead of plastic cups.
5. Open with song.
We sat at a long table as one big family, strangers on our right and left. Instead of simply presenting a salad to complement the cider in complete silence, open the evening with a festive song to help inspire a mood. The songs came later during the dinner, but just one of those diddies would have set a festive tone from the outset.