A Guide to the Best Thanksgiving Dinner Ever 

October 24, 2023

Written by Natalija Gligorevic

Here is the truth: nobody wants to be the family that hosts the big, gracious Thanksgiving dinner. This is because people don’t want the pressure of buying and cooking all the food. Usually, they end up burning the green beans because they’re so anxious about the rest of the meal. They ponder over whether the turkey that they bought was fresh, or whether the tablecloth they placed on the table radiates Christmas energy rather than Thanksgiving. 

Luckily, Lancaster County is a conjunction of fresh markets, interesting shops, and holiday spirit, perfect for planning the ultimate Thanksgiving for all your friends and family.  

Set the Table 

Thanksgiving dinner is not only about the food; it’s about the atmosphere, too! Having a decorative table setup already leaves a wonderful impression on guests. The process of sprucing up your table is fun because everyone has different styles—some might fancy tablecloths with intricate patterns, while others might prefer a simple, warm color. Thankfully, Special Occasions & Queen Street Linens in Lancaster City have an abundant selection of over 200 fabrics. 

Paired with the perfect tablecloth, a centerpiece will take the atmosphere to the next level. Natural decorations, such as plants or flowers, can elevate the table by adding a personal, elegant touch. Town’s Edge Greenhouse in New Holland provides a diverse range of choices—you can find anything from small, potted cactuses and succulents to large, festive pumpkins. Greenhouses give variety, meaning you are free to be creative with your choices! 

The Turkey 

Turkey is the staple of almost every Thanksgiving meal, which can stress the person in charge of cooking it. Cooking a turkey is a lot simpler if you pick out a good turkey provider first. Lancaster County is home to more than 100 family-own turkey farms, and two popular choices are Esbenshade’s in Ronks and Weaver’s Turkey Farm in Leola. Both are multi-generational farms that have served local communities for decades. Weaver’s sells between 15,000-18,000 turkeys annually, with most of their business deriving from the holiday season. With a great source like Esbenshade’s or Weaver’s, you won’t have to worry about how your turkey tastes! 

Side Dishes 

Farmer’s stands and farmer’s markets are an excellent option for picking up ingredients to craft your Thanksgiving side dishes. Specifically, Wayside Produce is a one-stop shop. There, you can purchase fresh and farm-grown potatoes, asparagus, corn, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and more. Additionally, Wayside is a combination of both a farmer’s stand and market, and the market sells homemade jam and pickled vegetables that can be used in a variety of Thanksgiving recipes. With Wayside Produce, you get a real taste of Lancaster! 


Want to permanently wow your guests? Finish Thanksgiving dinner with a delicious dessert from a local bakery. Whether you want to stick with the traditional pumpkin pie—or spice it up with an Amish whoopie pie—Achenbach’s and Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop are two excellent choices that provide exactly that. Achenbach’s has a very long list of both sweet and savory baked goods to choose from on their website. Highlights from their menu include their peach, rhubarb, and strawberry rhubarb seasonal pies. Classic pumpkin, shoofly, or pecan pies are the best at Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop, made with great service and skill.   

This Thanksgiving, be grateful for Lancaster County’s amazing local businesses!  

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