By the numerical transfer-matrix method we have computed several thermal properties for a Heisenberg chain of 150 antiferromagnetically coupled spins with quantum number s = 1. We dispensed with any extrapolation to the infinite chain, because the results for the magnetization, the susceptibility, the correlation length, and the static structure factor at wave number q = p have been found to be insensitive to a further increase of the chain length in the temperature regime considered. The characteristic features of our results, that occur at sufficiently low temperatures and low applied fields, can convincingly be explained by the existence of a gap in the excitation spectrum of the order of 0.4 coupling constants and, therefore, nicely complement previous numerical results for corresponding ground-state properties. We have also performed computations for a chain with an additional single-site anisotropy. We find, for appropriate parameter values, excellent agreement with experimental data for the quasi-one-dimensional model compound NENP.