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Thanksgiving in Berkeley Springs

Nov 5, 2023

By Chloe Riggs 

With Thanksgiving approaching, a memory comes to mind of sitting in elementary school and placing my tiny hand on a brown piece of paper. With one hand in position, the other very roughly traced over it. When I lifted my fingers, a curvy outline of a turkey was left in its wake. I smiled in accomplishment.

Today, that same hand turkey I shakily traced sits on the dining room table of my mother’s home. Every year she takes these childish crafts out of a tote and decorates the entire house with them. And every year I never understood why. The idea of placing poorly crafted art around for guests to judge and mock was completely lost to me. When my nephews were born, though, I realized exactly why my mother continues to decorate with these items. Everything my nephews create, from hand turkeys to toilet paper roll Pilgrims and Indians, is a piece of them growing up. They are the fragments of an important moment in their lives.

Now, I spend my days leading up to Thanksgiving helping my nephews design their own hand turkeys. They laugh at the odd shapes and colors in their turkeys with excitement. Their art may not be as naturalistic as Carel Fabritius’, but it hangs proudly on the fridge.

On the day of Thanksgiving, my family comes from all over to celebrate the holiday together in Berkeley Springs. The local hotels and vacation businesses probably know us by heart by now. Some of us gathered in the kitchen to pretend to bake the pumpkin pies we bought from Lighthouse Latte in Berkeley Springs. Others took a short trip to ride their bikes around the park
in town or tossed a football in the yard. I am generally among the group that hikes on the various trails at Cacapon State Park.

My nephews like to join me on the trails, collecting all of the colorful leaves they can find. They run down the scenic paths with almost as much energy as our labrador who guides us through the trees. Unlike the rest of us, my father and uncle spent the holiday camping out in the cozy living room. They watched the parade on the TV with their favorite beverages from Berkeley Springs Brewery in hand.

Despite taking separate adventures during the day, we all come together at the end. I can already smell the scent of burnt food traveling in the air. Per tradition, my mother is standing in the kitchen fanning the smoke while my grandmother calls either Cacapon State Park or The Country Inn to reserve a table.

Luckily, Cacapon State Park and The Country Inn serve a delicious Thanksgiving buffet every year. Plus, with how many of us there usually are, the restaurants are the best place for our
family to share a flavorful dinner.

Even though Thanksgiving is beyond hectic in my family, it has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is the time of the year for the family to reunite and create some of the best memories. Berkeley Springs is full of moments with my loved ones that I cherish with all my heart.

Plus, Thanksgiving is only the start of a great weekend. My family and I love to head to the local shops in town, such as Mineral Springs Trading Company and Inspired Chaos, to celebrate Small Business Saturday. It is a fantastic trip with my cousins to journey through and find some beautifully handcrafted items.

Spending the holidays in Berkeley Springs is incomparable to any other place. It is the town to reminisce and spend quality time with the ones we love.