YDTR Chefs’ Favorite
Thanksgiving Dishes

It’s Thanksgiving week, and the beginning of Princeton’s most festive time of year. We are especially thankful for our dedicated chefs and the guests they look forward to serving every Thanksgiving at the Inn. Before all the hustle and bustle, they share their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, dishes and tips with you! Enjoy!

Yankee Doodle Tap Room Chefs

Left to right: Manuel, Jermaine, Edward

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“I have three kids at home, four sisters, two brothers – it’s a big family, and I’m extremely thankful for them. We’re a close bunch and see each other almost every day. Thanksgiving is nice, because I get to come home to my family, eat delicious home-cooked meals, and go bowling. A few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes include roast turkey, beef, stuffed chicken, and sweet potato,” said Manuel Torres, our Sous Chef of 27 years.

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“I love being home with family, conversing, and having a good time with one another,” said Jermaine Turner, our Chef of 7 years. “I also make an awesome baked macaroni… I add evaporated milk, egg, salt, pepper, sharp cheese, mild cheese to roux, and let it slow cook at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, covered. Then I cook it for another ten minutes uncovered. It tastes like h-e-a-v-e-n.”

eddie-portrait“I’m thankful for the good health of my family,” said Edward Popp, our Banquet Cook of 8 years. “My mom also doesn’t let me cook on Thanksgiving, so it’s nice to come home to the traditional holiday dishes. You know – turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I love her cooking!”

chef-michael“On Thanksgiving, I like to watch football, spend time with family, and enjoy a late night turkey sandwich with stuffing, lettuce, and mayonnaise on a crusty Italian bread!” said Michael LaCorte, our Executive Chef of 4 years.

steve“My favorite thing is waking up and watching football. I’m a big fan of the Detroit Lions,” said Steven Fitch, our Sous Chef of 4 years. “I cook for family, and we have the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and my favorite – biscuits. I love gravy piled on top of everything!” Steve also makes home-made mashed potatoes, and the recipe is very simple and delicious. “I add butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper.” For his turkey, he adds a lot of butter, and a dash of rosemary and thyme, before roasting it in the oven.

YDTR Chefs

We hope you enjoyed meeting our chefs, who will be serving Yankee Doodle Tap Room’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! The #YDTR wishes you a great Thanksgiving filled with food, love, family and friends!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

 

5 Holiday Party Planning Tips

‘Tis the season for celebrating!

Thanksgiving is on the horizon, the trees outside will soon be adorned with lights, and decorative ornaments will fill window displays. It’s the ideal time for throwing a holiday party. If you want to be the office hero and plan an awesome party sure to be hash-tagged and talked about for months, follow these 5 simple holiday planning tips!

Nassau Inn Christmas Lights Exterior

  1. Start early. To ensure best availability, pick a venue and book your party ahead of time. If you haven’t done so already, get off the computer and make some calls. There’s still time to book your perfect party! For next year, mark your calendars for July. Venues often like to run Christmas in July promos, offering great packages and best availabilities.
  2. Timing. A great option for companies who are busy during holiday season and those on a tight budget is to host a luncheon or celebration during off-peak hours. Venues tend to be more flexible in pricing if you have a post-holiday party in January. You may also get lucky and have upgrades thrown in!
  3. Location. Select a venue that is already festive; with the time and money you save on decorations, you’ll have more to invest on entertainment. Live music is always a crowd pleaser!
  4. Menu. The most festive of menus is the reception style which encourages mingling. For easy planning, go with venues that have inclusive packages already designed for you. Don’t forget to consider your guests’ dietary needs prior to notifying your venue and making menu choices to ensure most people can be accommodated!
  5. Give. The gift of giving will never go out of style, especially this season. Personalized take-home treats for guests can be sweet, but consider donating to a local charity in lieu of favors, and give them something to feel good about!

Holiday Party

Happy holidays! Remember to have fun and take pictures. If you are looking for a place to host a party, check out our 2016 Holiday Specials and Party Packages. Let’s get this party started!


About the Author: Lily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

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Fall Menu Must-Haves

From appetizer, lunch, dinner to dessert – here are some of our favorite dishes from our newly released fall menu. You’ll want to try them al­l!

Appetizers

Fall Menu 2016

Bubbling in a miniature black cast iron pan, the Fiery Black Iron Chili is spicy, cheesy, and perfect for chilly fall evenings!

Roasted Pear Salad Roasted Pear Salad tastes just like autumn with the lightness of feta cheese, fresh fall greens, and sweet smoked walnut vinaigrette. You’ll feel festive after the first bite!

Chicken & Waffles Salad

Drizzled with maple vinaigrette and bacon, Battered Fried Chicken is sweet, salty, and goes with any mood you’re feeling; it’s the ultimate chicken and waffle styled soul-food of salads.

Lunch

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Smothered in pepper jack cheese, the Pan Fried Meatloaf Sandwich is buttery soft with crisp frazzled onions on toasty bread. Savor the different textures as they unravel with each bite.

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If you’re in the mood for something light, creamy, and comforting – indulge in the Pecan Crusted Tilapia, soaked in an orange butter sauce, with delicious root vegetable risotto.

Dinner

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The Filet Mignon Au Poivre is professionally cold-smoked, infused with smoky flavor and grilled. Soaked in a cognac demi-glace cream, the mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts are a perfect complement to this tender and succulent dish.

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House Smoked Pork Chop is deliciously doused in apple brandy and cognac demi-glace sauce, with local apple and sage bread pudding broccolini on the side. The smoky taste evokes a campfire like feeling.

Dessert

Nassau Inn

Mason Jar Pumpkin Pie has a wonderful pumpkin mousse filling with a delightfully light and airy texture. This creamy, soft mouse is such a tasty seasonal dessert, you’ll crave it all season long!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake with Lavender Salt is an indulgent dessert with chocolatey, smooth, soft, melt-in-your-mouth cake embellished by the gentle, sweet chill of Tahitian ice cream and delicate fluffiness of whipped cream. The subtle yet soothing lavender salt is the perfect ending to a serene night.

Enticed? There are many more options for you to discover and enjoy! Come and join us in tasting our new fall menu. Whether you are looking for a place to gather with friends or to indulge in a good meal on your own, we look forward to welcoming you this beautiful season!


About the AuthorLily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

Princeton’s Best Travel Tips

Traveling to Princeton soon?
These are our best tips when coming to visit us!

Palmer Square

  1. Need advice on what to pack? Refer to our seasonal guide for weather tips based on your time of travel. There is always something going on in town, do a quick Google search before you plan your itinerary. You never know what festivals, side walk sales, or events we’re having.
  2. If you are a first timer, check out the Princeton Tour Company. They will give you the all-around Princeton experience. They offer guided walking tours that include sites on Princeton University campus, the neighborhoods of Albert Einstein, TS Eliot, F Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Oppenheimer, James Madison, Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, JFK, countless tycoons, Hollywood celebrities, Signers of the Declaration of Independence and much more.
  3. You can travel by train from NYC or Newark Airport. The “historical” Dinky Train will pick you up and drop you off at Princeton Junction just minutes away from the center of down.
  4. We have the best shopping right here in Palmer Square, so if you forgot something, do not worry – there is most likely a store where you will find it!

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About the Author: Brandon DeChirico spent the summer interning at the Nassau Inn. He is a student at Widener University studying hospitality.

Edited by Lily Lee

A Seasonal Guide for Princeton Travel

Princeton welcomes you any time of the year. When coming to visit us here in Princeton, know what to expect depending on the season!

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If you’re coming during the autumn, expect green, auburn, and yellow crisp leaves scattered across the grass and sidewalks. Pack layers of clothing so you can enjoy the scenery outside without being bothered by the cool gushes of wind. During this season, try the Pumpkin Spiced Café at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room for freshly brewed coffee with pumpkin spice, cinnamon and whipped cream.

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When winter is here, make sure to keep warm under a big coat. Occasionally, the snow may drizzle. It’s the perfect weather to wear knit hats, mittens and hold hands while staring into the effervescent lights spread jubilantly around Princeton. Join in on the holiday cheer at Palmer Square, where you are sure to bump into carolers or even the big man himself!

Winter Wonderland - outsideSpring is cherry blossom season. Many trees are in bloom here. You don’t want to miss out on the flower filled tree lined streets. Take a walk around the University, Cherry Valley Road, and Washington Ave. This is a good time to bring out the capris, cardigans, blazers, and light jackets for the evenings. Cherry-Blossoms1

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“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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The moment summer arrives is when Princeton feels particularly like an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. In his novel, This Side of Paradise, his writing exemplifies the beauty of Princeton and the special place he had for it in his heart, not failing to mention the Nassau Inn! Summer is time to begin again—so strip away from all the layers, and pack light clothing.

Happy travels!


About the Author: Lily Lee is the Marketing Assistant at the historical Nassau Inn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Communications, minor in Digital Information & Media, and a passion for English and creative writing.

5 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Princeton

On the day where we go out of our way to show our moms exactly how much they mean to us, Princeton provides plenty of options. Whether Mom wants a show, a stroll or a shopping trip, there’s something for everyone in our roundup below.

Kick off the day with a fragrant bouquet of freshly cut, elegantly arranged flowers. Our friends at Viburnum Designs can help you find the perfect combination.

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Mother’s Day brunch at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room has been a beloved tradition in Princeton for generations. Enjoy an unforgettable dining experience that mom will love. See the full menu here.

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Drop by Palmer Square where mom can take her pick from familiar brand names such as Ann Taylor and Ralph Lauren, or the many unique locally-owned boutiques, spas, and galleries.

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Take a leisurely stroll around downtown Princeton and through the stunning Princeton University campus. While there, visit the Princeton University Art Museum and Prospect Gardens for even more fun.

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Take in a show at the world renowned McCarter Theater. See what’s scheduled for Mother’s Day here.

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7 Simple Ways to Nail Your Winter Makeup

This is a guest post by Magda’s Designs Inc.

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People like to hibernate in the winter. It’s cold out, it gets darker earlier; it’s the time of year one would rather snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie. Ironically, however, winter also happens to be a season filled with holiday parties, family get togethers, weddings, and a lot of photos for proof of getting together. These photos will be plastered on Facebook, Instagram and basically anywhere else photos can be uploaded these days; a scary thought for someone who tends to dislike how they look in pictures.
Here’s a tip…makeup can make all the difference.

Because the Nassau Inn will host of many of these wondrous affairs, we wanted to give their guests and brides a few tips on how to nail their makeup and look great in every photo snapped in their direction.

1. First things first, the same shade of lipstick, eye shadow, etc., does not look the same all year round. Just because you like the way a certain color looks in the summer, does not mean it will flatter you come winter. Check out How is the Sunlight Affecting Your Makeup?.

2. If you read the above article, you now understand that winter has a lot of that not-so-flattering blue light, which brings more attentions to things you’d like to cover up, i.e. red spots, dark under-eye circles. Winter is the time of year to pull out highlighters and light-reflective foundations.

3. Blue light reflects colors with blue tones, so think silver, gray, red, berry shades, etc. when it comes to your eyeshadow.

4. It’s natural to lose your tan in the summer, so don’t over-do it with the bronzer. To add some color to your face, use some blush.

5. Go for the dark lip. Just do it.

6. Use waterproof mascara. It’s great for any occasion, especially if there’s any snow in the forecast.

7. Now that you know the tips to great winter makeup, don’t forget that before the makeup comes the foundation. If your skin is dry and cracked, the makeup won’t look good, regardless of color. Check out 5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Skin Hydrated This Winter.

Please visit our friends at Magdas Designs to learn more about their amazing Hair & Makeup Services.

Heights, Lights, & History – Amazing Stories of the Palmer Square Tree

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For decades, the colossal conifer rising above Palmer Square has brightened downtown and the spirits of the community every holiday season. Its heights, lights, and decorations draw as many as 80,000 annual visitors. However, there’s a lot more to this spectacular centerpiece than just its dazzling brilliance. From World War II to the world’s greatest tree lighting ceremony, let’s get to the “root” of the most iconic tree in Princeton.

A Token of Appreciation

In 1945, as a token of appreciation for donating his 195-foot steel schooner for commission in World War II to patrol and protect the shores of Iceland, Sveinn Björnsson, the nation’s first president, personally presented Edgar Palmer with quite literally the most beautiful Norway Spruce in all of Scandinavia. A gold collar around the lower trunk bore the inscription: “Megi þetta tré vernda lendir leið skipi sem er varið þín og okkar”; translated: “May this tree protect your lands the way your ship protected ours.” During that time period, the Nordic custom of gifting evergreens to close friends and allies was equivalent to being knighted – an honor of which Edgar Palmer was very proud. He immediately made arrangements to have the tree planted on the green at Palmer Square. Furthermore, while it stood only at a mere 10-feet tall at the time, it had the magnificence and beauty of a tree more than 10 times its size.

Einstein’s Marilyn

Marilyn

In the late 1940’s, Albert Einstein invited his last great love, Marilyn Monroe, to visit his home in Princeton. When he took her to Palmer Square, Marilyn stopped at the tree and expressed how incredibly beautiful she thought it was. Einstein concurred and said, “It’s possibly the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.” He paused for a moment and then revealed, “It’s so beautiful, in fact, that I even named it.”

“Named it what?” she kindly asked.

“Marilyn,” he replied.

Some believe it was at that moment in which one of the most unlikely love stories began. Whatever the case, to this day, long time locals still refer to the tree as Marilyn.

Topping the Charts

Brenda Lee

While it’s widely believed that the timeless hit Christmas song ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ was inspired by the annual tree lighting extravaganza at Rockefeller Center, songwriter Johnny Marks revealed to legendary DJ, Cousin Brucie, that he actually got the idea in Princeton. “I remember seeing this truly, truly amazing tree in the center of town,” Marks recounted. “Crowds of people were gathered around it, singing and dancing as if Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry was about to come out from inside the branches. I thought to myself, “Wow! These people are really rockin’ around the Christmas tree.” Seeing all that holiday spirit around that tree gave me such a sentimental feeling that the song (Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’) just began pouring out of me.”

When it was all said and done, it took Johnny Marks all but an hour to write both the lyrics and music to ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’. The following year in 1958, Brenda Lee (AKA Little Miss Dynamite) recorded the song and took it to the top of the charts. Almost 60 years later, the timeless hit is still an essential track for any respectable holiday playlist.

Fit for a Princess

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In 1956, the Prince of Monaco planned to surprise his new wife, actress Grace Kelly, with a Christmas celebration fit for a princess.  She was to have the best of everything – including the most spectacular Christmas tree that money could buy. Having once pursued Marilyn Monroe as a possible wife, the prince was aware of a particular tree in Princeton, NJ that was deemed so amazing that the late genius, Albert Einstein, named it in Marilyn’s honor. The Prince was so bent on obtaining this tree, he practically wrote a blank check in exchange for it. Unfortunately for the Prince, no amount of money was acceptable, as Edgar Palmer left very clear instructions that the tree was never to leave its home for any reason.

Evel Comes to Princeton

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By the mid-1960’s, Marilyn – the tree, that is – had grown to be over 40 feet tall. At the same time, a young daredevil under the moniker of Evil Knievel made a name for himself by jumping over rows of cars on his motorcycle. Nevertheless, the novelty of jumping cars had run thin, and he needed to think of something more dangerous to excite the media. Then, on a fateful visit to downtown Princeton in 1966, he saw Marilyn. She was tall, beautiful, and perfectly placed to be jumped by motorcycle.  So, on the Friday after Thanksgiving of that year, Evel rang in the holiday shopping season with a tree lighting ceremony and high flying spectacle that Princeton would not soon forget. Not only was his jump over Marilyn a success, but the crowds and excitement that it drew cemented the Friday after Thanksgiving as the standing date for all future tree lighting ceremonies. As for Evel, he went on to jump everything from Caesars Palace to the Grand Canyon – breaking every record and bone in his body throughout his motorcycle stunt career.

Who Climbed the Tree?

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In the 1970’s, Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, was out with his alumni friends during Princeton reunions week. After a long night of partying, the bars had already closed, but Moon was still hankering for a drink with his friends. He insisted that they return to his favorite watering hole in Princeton, the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where a barstool was always on reserve for him. Despite the doors being locked, Moon spent an hour arguing with his friends about getting inside the bar, while maintaining that the door was merely jammed. When his friends tried to physically remove him from breaking into the building, he escaped their grips and made a mad dash for the tree, aka Marilyn. He quickly scaled to the top of the tree and refused to come down until the Yankee Doodle Tap Room reopened. As the story goes, his friends tried to get him down, but eventually, they gave up. The police and fire department even arrived on the scene to respond to complaints of someone yelling and singing from the tree outside. Despite heroic efforts by Municipal authorities, it was concluded that there was no safe way to remove Mr. Moon, so they were forced to wait the night out with him. A few hours later, the manager of the Yankee Doodle Tap Room notified authorities that the bar had reopened. Although excited, Moon was concerned that he would get arrested if he came down from the tree. So he yelled out to the authorities and said, “If I come down now, are you going to let me get a drink, or are you going to arrest me? If it’s the latter, I’ll just stay here forever!” The police knew that Edgar Palmer would not want Keith Moon as a permanent ornament in his prized tree, so they let him get a drink before taking him into custody. However, he was only charged with disturbing the peace and was quickly released. Immediately after, he returned to his stool at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, but did not settle in until after he poured a drink on the soil beneath Marilyn, thanking her for her hospitality and nice place to stay the previous night.

Note: For entertainment purposes, the author of this blog may have taken certain creative liberties.

 

 

A Brief History of Black Friday

Black Friday is fast approaching, and in Palmer Square, you’re bound to discover countless sales and killer finds you’ll want to purchase for your family and friends.

While the many shops at Palmer Square will be offering incredible deals that you might not believe, here are some historic facts about ‘Black Friday’ that are pretty unbelievable too.

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  • The “Black Friday” tradition likely began in the 1920’s when department stores such as Macy’s and Eaton’s threw Thanksgiving Day parades to whet the appetites of consumers for a holiday shopping feast.
  • It was an unwritten rule that no store would try doing any holiday shopping advertising before the parades were over, making the day after Thanksgiving the official start of the holiday shopping season.
  • The term “Black Friday” first surfaced in 1951 to describe the practice of workers calling in sick on the day after Thanksgiving in order to have a four-day weekend.
  • Around the same time in Philadelphia, the term was used by police, cabbies, bus drivers, and retail workers to to depict the horde of shoppers that descended into the city on the days following Thanksgiving.
  • In the 1980’s, “Black Friday” was marketed to have gotten its name as being the day on which retailers finally began to show a profit for the year (in accounting terms, moving from being “in the red” to “in the black”) after operating at an overall loss from January through mid-November.
  • Many merchants disliked the negative connotation of the phrase ‘Black Friday’ and tried to rebrand it as ‘Big Friday’.
  • The success of “Black Friday” inspired merchants to invent new shopping holidays such as Super Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Fun Thanksgiving Facts

When most people think of a Princeton Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind is spending joyous time with family and feasting on culinary delights such as as golden-roasted turkey, fluffy stuffing, tangy cranberry sauce, and whipped cream on top of pumpkin pie at the historic Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, here are 10 fun Thanksgiving Day facts to think about and share with your family and friends as you dig into this year’s turkey:

Since 1947, the president has pardoned a live turkey every Thanksgiving and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

The first Thanksgiving was a moment for the Pilgrims to thank God for allowing them to kill enough game and grow sufficient crops to get through the winter.

Wild turkeys can fly in short bursts at speeds up to 55 MPH.

Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries actually were used by Native Americans to treat wounds and dye clothing. They did not eat them.

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The Thanksgiving Day football tradition began with Yale and Princeton, who played their first game in 1876 and drew yearly crowds of 40,000 to see them duke it out.

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The tradition of breaking a wishbone for good luck started with the Romans.

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So consumed with passion for the turkey and its respectful stature, it is said that Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey become the United States national bird. However, the bald eagle, which Franklin thought had a “bad moral character” won out.

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St. Patrick’s Day might get the press, but the day before Thanksgiving is the biggest day for bar and liquor sales in the U.S., also ahead of the Super Bowl or New Years’ Eve.

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The first national Thanksgiving was declared by President George Washington in 1789 – although it didn’t stick until Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863.

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Considered the “Mother of Thanksgiving,” Sara Hale (1788-1879) was an influential editor and writer who urged President Lincoln to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving. She selected the last Thursday in November because, as she said, harvests were done, elections were over, and summer travelers were home.

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