Glastonbury Historical Society's Thanksgiving event to include personal touch

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Nov. 1, 2013
The chicken pot pie is prepared and served at last year's 'Thanksgiving is Here' event. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

The Historical Society of Glastonbury will offer a glimpse of what early Thanksgiving celebrations were like in “Glassenbury” at its annual “Thanksgiving is Here!” event on Nov. 17 at the Welles-Shipman-Ward House in South Glastonbury. Lin Scarduzio, the Historical Society's curator/program coordinator, said the event has taken place for the last eight years, and used to be called “Get Ready for the Cold,” but they found that moniker wasn't as appealing, nor was it very festive, and hence came the name change.

The event is educational and fun. Attendees will be able to see how early Glastonbury-ites prepared for winter and gave thanks for the year's blessings. “What we do is demonstrate how they would preserve some of the food,” Scarduzio said. “You would preserve root vegetables by storing them in a large bin in the cellar. We also talk about drying fruits and vegetables, which is another way to preserve.”

The main course of Thanksgiving meals was - as it is now - turkey, but in those days a wild turkey was cooked, which only weighs 8-10 pounds. As this was not enough to feed a large family gathering of up to 20 people or more, the meals also included other entrees such as chicken pie and even apple pie, which was then a side dish, rather than a dessert.

“Colonial people ate a lot of pies – some of them sweet and some of them savory,” Scarduzio said.

Visitors will also be able to sample the chicken pie and the culinary highlight, Marlborough Pudding, which Scarduzio describes as a “lemony, apple, custard-y pie.”

There will be house tours included in the event, as well as tours of the property's two barns and new shed.

“Some people like the tours the best,” Scarduzio said. “If you haven't seen the house, it is absolutely beautiful. It was built in 1750 and was at that time the Connecticut River Valley Mansion. We have interpreted it to how it probably looked at that time, and it has been used in architectural books on Colonial homes as an example for some of its features. I've had people plant themselves in the kitchen for three hours, just to sit there and watch me cook.”

Scarduzio said the interaction with visitors is the most enjoyable part of the event for her. “I like a chance to talk with people on a one-to-one basis,” she said. “They can ask questions, and I can give people as personalized an experience as we can.”

"Thanksgiving is Here!" will be held Nov. 17, from 1 to 4 p.m., at 972 Main St. in South Glastonbury. All ages are welcome and admission is $3. All proceeds benefit Historical Society of Glastonbury Education and Preservation Projects. Call 860-633-6890 or visit for more information.

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