According to The History Channel, Thanksgiving originated in 1621 when the pilgrims (Plymouth colonists from England) and the Native American Wampanoag people gathered around to share an autumn harvest meal—a celebration that lasted for three days. Unlike today’s traditional menu, that original feast likely consisted of lobster, seal and swans (given proximity to the shoreline). Wild turkey may, or may not, have been part of the meal. It wasn’t until 1863, at the height of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill moving the date to the fourth Thursday of November.
Did you know you could source many of the ingredients for your Thanksgiving dinner right here in Michigan—a state with an agricultural industry valued at $104 billion? The Michigan Turkey Producers represents 53 farms around the state, which collectively process 5.3 million tom (male) turkeys annually. Michigan is also an active grower of potatoes, squash and pumpkins. Most of what you need for homemade dressing (or stuffing, if you prefer) can be sourced from the Great Lakes State as well—bread, onions, celery, carrots and even chestnuts. And don’t forget the locally produced wine or beer to pair with your dinner or offer as a gift for your holiday host. Michigan boasts over 150 wineries and nearly 400 breweries, meaning there are hundreds of options out there to choose from.
If you prefer to leave the feast preparation to the experts, you’ll find several places around the Petoskey area that will take the work off your plate (something to be thankful for). But, be sure to make your reservations quickly, before spaces fill up.
A Thanksgiving dinner with a view awaits at The Inn at Bay Harbor, where a traditional Thanksgiving meal will be served in The Sagamore Room, overlooking Little Traverse Bay. Choose from carved roasted turkey and herb-roasted prime rib, as well as applewood smoked ham and seared salmon. All your favorite sides are offered including classic green bean casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, garlic and herb stuffing, whipped or roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, butternut squash bisque and even a salad bar. Save room for dessert—pumpkin pie, pecan pie and flourless chocolate cake. Hours: 12:30 to 5 pm. Price: $55 per person, ages 12 and under $22 (five and under eat free). Reservations: 231-439-4117.
At Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls, they pull out all the stops for a memorable Thanksgiving buffet experience. Start with a selection of imported or domestic cheeses, fresh crudites with scallion dip and smoked salmon. The main course includes a variety of soups, salads, and rolls; carved turkey or glazed ham; andouille and sage cornbread stuffing or apple sunflower seed dressing; and additional sides of candied yams, whipped potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted zucchini, and summer squash. Dessert features pie (pumpkin, pecan or Dutch apple) or cheesecake with fresh berries. Resort guests can also order the complete meal prepared and delivered to their room or on-premise accommodations. Hours: Noon to 5 pm. Price: $45 per person, $30 for ages 9 to 15, $22 for ages 5-8 (four and under, free). Reservations: 231-549-6000. To-go orders for a full turkey or ham meal with all the sides to feed eight to 10 people (for $169/turkey or $199/ham) must be placed by Tuesday, November 21 to be picked up on Thanksgiving Day.
Sage restaurant, inside the Odawa Casino in Petoskey, is serving up tasteful fare including choice of a house or wedge salad; entrées including turkey, roast beef, roasted pork loin or salmon; sides of stuffing, potatoes, and vegetables; and the choice of apple or pumpkin pie for dessert. Hours: 11 am-5 pm. Price: $49.95 per person. Reservations: 231-344-4420.
In the heart of downtown Petoskey, Chandler’s restaurant features a special Thanksgiving menu of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie as well as its full lunch and dinner menus that day. Hours: 11 am-9 pm. Reservations: 231-347-2981.
Stafford’s Perry Hotel, in downtown Petoskey, is offering a full classic holiday buffet including slow roast turkey, roast beef sirloin, and Plath’s baked ham; sides including Stafford’s traditional stuffing, buttery mashed potatoes, homemade macaroni and cheese, roasted maple squash puree, green bean casserole and roasted squash bisque. A variety of salads—such as Waldorf, cranberry relish, broccoli, bean, mixed green, beet, and Tuscan pasta—will also be available. Desserts include pumpkin, apple, or cheery pie, assorted mini sweets, chocolate mousse, carrot cake and chocolate truffle cake. Hours: Noon to 4 pm. Cost: $39.95 per person, kids 4-10 $19.95. Reservations: 231-347-4000.
Julienne Tomatoes in Downtown Petoskey offers Thanksgiving meals and a la carte staples for pre-order pick-up. Whether you’re looking for a meal per person (at $22.95) or a family-style portion of a traditional Thanksgiving side, a desert, or even a Thanksgiving morning quiche, Julienne’s has what you’re looking for. Check their Facebook or Instagram to view their Thanksgiving 2023 menu and pricing. Call to order by Tuesday, November 21 for pick up on Wednesday, November 22 at 231-439-9250.
The Pier Restaurant, in Harbor Springs, is serving an a la carte holiday menu including starters of apple butternut bisque, Caesar salad, mixed greens salad, and spinach salad; carved herb roasted turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted squash, cranberry relish, green bean casserole, and turkey gravy or slow roasted prime rib with roasted Brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, horseradish sauce, and au jus. A dessert bar—with assorted pies, mini sweets, cookies, and cakes—will also be available. Hours: 11 am-5 pm. Cost: $38 per person (turkey) or $44 per person (prime rib). Reservations: 231-526-6201.
Bay View Inn, north of downtown Petoskey, is doing to-go orders only on Thanksgiving. The full dinner package—which feeds six to eight people—includes a 12-pound roasted turkey, two quarts each of mashed potatoes and dressing, one quart each of squash and gravy, one pint of cranberry relish, one dozen baked roles and a pie (either apple or pumpkin). Menu items are also available a la carte for individual prices (call to inquire). Pick-up Hours: Noon to 4 pm. Cost $199 (for full meal). Orders: 231-347-2771. To-go orders of the same menu (including a la carte) are also available through The Pier (231-526-6201).
Also in Bay View, The Terrace Inn, and its 1911 Restaurant will be open for Thanksgiving. Within the historic Bay View association is The Terrace Inn, a historic lodging property that was built in 1911 with a restaurant that is named according to that landmark year 1911 Restaurant. Open year-round (although the community’s residents are not present in the colder months), this property is truly unique and you will be met with an amazing experience each time. Call ahead for a reservation at 800-530-9898 or book on their website‘s ‘Open Table’ reservation link.
Looking to make a weekend of it with The Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant? They are offering a Thanksgiving Package for 2023 starting at $319 for a 2-night stay which includes dinner for two on November 23rd.
About the Author: Dianna Stampfler is the president of Promote Michigan and the author of the best-selling books “Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses” and “Death & Lighthouses on the Great Lakes.” She loves traveling around the Great Lakes state, with Hemingway country being among her favorite destinations.