No Thanksgiving Plans Yet? Here's My Suggestion…

I love Thanksgiving; not smothered by commercialism, it still remains a lovely way for all American families and friends to get together and enjoy a huge meal. My mother always hosts this holiday meal, and a couple dozen of my relatives will pile into our house every November holiday, gorge on turkey. and enjoy the post-meal coma on the sofa while watching football and catching up on each other’s lives.

While living in China, I’ve always chosen Christmas instead of Thanksgiving to fly home, but I’ve cured my Thanksgiving homesickness with the annual meal at the Schoolhouse restaurant in Mutianyu village. As I’ve mentioned before, Americans Jim Spear and his wife Liang have created a wonderful mini-industry of restaurants, hotels, and renovated hutongs out in the foothills of Mutianyu, an hour’s pleasant drive northeast of Beijing. Their restaurant, the Schoolhouse, hosts a huge Thanksgiving dinner both on that Thursday night (November 25th) as well as the Saturday after (the 27th; we’ll be at that one). I’ve found this evening to be one of the annual highlights of my China experience, and I’ve made some true friends within this close-knit community. All nationalities are welcome, of course. Here’s their menu; make reservations now before it books up.

Mutianyu is an hour away, and the wine is free-flowing that night, so it’s best to carpool and assign a designated driver. Or you can choose to stay overnight in their hotel, the Brickyard or one of their renovated courtyards. If it’s a lovely day, I recommend you come hours earlier and hike around the hills and visit the Great Wall, which you can see from all of their rooms as well as from the restaurant.

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