Thanksgiving 2016 

“Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go." Do you remember that song? My mind keeps playing it over and over as Thanksgiving approaches. Having learned the words in elementary school I was curious and decided to do a little research to learn more about its origin. Originally a poem entitled “The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day" it was written by Lydia Maria Child, a novelist, journalist, teacher and poet, and published in the mid-19th century. Sometime after the Civil War the words were set to music by an unknown composer, and it became a holiday favorite. You may even recall hearing “Christmas” substituted for “Thanksgiving."

Although turkey is the ubiquitous meat associated with Thanksgiving, it may or may not have been part of the meal when the Pilgrims and the Indians shared that first Thanksgiving in November 1621 celebrating the Pilgrim’s first harvest in New England. In the mid 1820s, Sarah Josepha Hale, noted magazine editor and author, began to campaign for a national Thanksgiving Day. Her persistent advocacy was rewarded when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day in November 1863. President Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill in 1941 making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

As an adult, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I guess it’s because there is minimal preparation when you really think about it – no presents to purchase and wrap, no tree to decorate, no outside lights to fuss with. Just food to prepare for one meal. Although there is quite a lot of effort that goes into a traditional Thanksgiving meal, the memories of past Thanksgivings, the aromas that permeate the house, the arrival of family and friends fill the house with a warmth that is different from other holidays. Other than the 4th of July I don’t believe there’s another holiday that stirs national pride and begs us to reflect on our blessings as a nation like Thanksgiving does. Traditions ground us, nurture us and connect us. Every year I look forward to arranging flowers in a paper mache turkey, just like I’ve been doing for decades. Part of our Thanksgiving tradition, this turkey is beginning to show signs of aging. I’m not sure how many more Thanksgivings it will survive.

Thanksgiving celebrations take many forms, but almost always are centered on a meal that includes turkey, with all the trimmings, cranberry sauce and pie – pumpkin, sweet potato, apple or pecan. Many communities host Turkey Trots, which can either be a walk or a run. Some celebrate with a Thanksgiving Day parade. New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an American tradition that began in 1924. And let’s not forget football on Thanksgiving. Whether it’s a friendly game in the backyard with kids of all ages or watching the Detroit Lions continue their time-honored tradition that began in 1934 as the first NFL matchup to air on national radio, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate the bounty of this land in which we live, our families and friends, and the blessings of our United States of America.

It’s just one day. Be present in it with a full heart and a calm spirit. Wishing you each and every one a very Happy Thanksgiving.

(919) 302-0574
Spotlight On: Two Thanksgiving Staples
Each month I try to spotlight a North Carolina agricultural product. November was easy; however, two tied for the spotlight – turkeys and sweet potatoes.

North Carolina is the second largest turkey producer in the country after Minnesota; however, the value of turkeys produced in North Carolina is greater because North Carolina is home to number-one Butterball turkeys! The November issue of Real Simple magazine reports more than 50 experts field nearly 12,000 calls to 1-800-BUTTERBALL on Thanksgiving Day alone.

Whether you like your sweet potatoes in a soufflé, a casserole, a salad or a pie, baked or fried, chances are the sweet potato you eat was grown in North Carolina. Our state produces approximately 53 percent of all sweet potatoes in the country!
Tour Recap: New Bern and Bath
Our tour of the state’s oldest European-American towns was a delight!

In New Bern, we thoroughly enjoyed Tryon Palace and a special tour of Christ Episcopal Church, where we got to see the communion silver and Bible given to the church from King George II.

Nelson McDaniel, current president of the Tryon Palace Foundation, hosted our group for dinner, which was a delightful, in-depth immersion experience into the community's history. Prior to dinner, we enjoyed libations in a private garden and had the unique opportunity for a private tour of a wonderful collection of military memorabilia.

Our tour of historic Bath included a visit to the oldest church in North Carolina - St. Thomas Episcopal Church

We also made a stop in Washington, N.C., to tour Pacific SeaCraft, a sailboat manufacturer specializing in fiberglass monohull cruising boats. Currently the company is building a sailboat for Jimmy Buffet. (The group picture taken in the production facility is in front of this boat.) This immersion experience into the culture of boat-building in eastern North Carolina was a special treat.
Join us for our last tour of 2016!

"A Mini Capital Christmas" in Raleigh |December 9

North Carolina’s state capital, Raleigh, comes alive with the magic of the holiday season. Throughout the month of December downtown Raleigh celebrates the season with Winterfest. Our excursion will begin with a visit to the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion Open House. Dressed in holiday splendor, the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion proudly invites her citizens into “the people’s house” during the holiday season.

Dinner at 18 Seaboard, "where southern hospitality celebrates seasonal ingredients," is our next stop. 18 Seaboard is a winner of Open Table's 2016 Diners' Choice Award. Chef Jason Smith leads a culinary group committed to serving contemporary Southern inspired dishes, with over 60 percent of ingredients sourced from North Carolina farms, ranches, fishmongers and dairies.
After dinner we’ll be transported to Memorial Auditorium for the 42nd anniversary of Theatre in the Park’s A Christmas Carol. Performed annually since 1974, this beloved musical comedy is a Raleigh holiday tradition. We’re fortunate to have orchestra tickets on Friday evening! Join us for this delightful holiday spectacular in our state capital. Sure to become a North Carolina holiday tradition, “A Capital Christmas” is a terrific addition to any December calendar. 

The cost for "A Mini Capital Christmas" is $199 per person. To register, please contact us by clicking here or by calling 919-302-0574. 
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What Our Guests are Saying About Us

This day tour was a particular treat and set a high standard for future reference. Well done!
~ John B.

What I appreciate is that you provide guests an opportunity to learn and experience a part of NC while you take care of all the logistics and details!
~ Dana R.

This was a very educational and enjoyable trip from beginning to end.
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Contact us to book your tour today! 
visit NC concierge is a premier hospitality company dedicated to providing the discriminating traveler unique experiences savoring North Carolina’s history, geography, and culture at a leisurely travel pace while enjoying the state’s finest sites, cuisine, and lodgings. Itineraries are subject to change at the discretion of the company. Group size: minimum 10; maximum 30. Registration for each tour closes 30 days prior to tour start date. For more information, visit us at
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