When people think of Thanksgiving and the holidays, they think tradition. I personally love traditions, as they are what keep families tied together through generations but every once in a while, it is okay to stray off the traditional pathway. It’s a time for friends, family and expressing gratitude but it’s also a time of stress, days of cooking and dirty dishes. Are you tired this year and want a break or maybe you want to take the family somewhere different? Check out these fabulous places for a last-minute change of Thanksgiving plans.
Nestled in the North Carolina mountains, Grove Park Inn is a favorite place of mine. Located in Asheville, this beautiful inn is a step back in time. Their Thanksgiving celebration is a 100-year-old tradition and one that will please every member of your family. Along with the fabulous Thanksgiving dinner, the guys can relax and watch the football games on the big screen TVs. Of course, what would the day be without watching the Macy’s Day Parade as well? Don’t tell anyone, but word is, Santa even makes an appearance. If you’re looking for something low key, Grove Park is the place.
Maybe you want to add an educational component to this year’s feast. Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia is just the place. Berkley Plantation, which is the site of the first official Thanksgiving back in 1619, is not to be missed. The beautiful manor home, built in 1726, sets the stage for your time at the plantation. After your visit, make your way to the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum for some interactive experiences. Observe President George Washington declare Thanksgiving a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” and last but certainly not least, enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast at The Williamsburg Lodge.
Now, for all you Hallmark movie lovers, make your plans to head over to Forest City, NC for a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving. The tradition of decorating the town started in 1930 and has continued to the delight of everyone who visits during the holiday season. All the lights are guaranteed to bring the little child out in even the most stoic adult. You can take a carriage or hay ride around the town square at night or stroll along Main Street delighting in all the lights while you make your way to Santa’s house for hot chocolate and cookies. Thanksgiving evening features a lighting ceremony with Christmas carols and an ice-skating rink to help you burn off those cookies. On Sunday, line up downtown to watch the Christmas parade and then head over to Smith’s Drugs for an old fashioned, soda fountain experience.
Last on my list but my personal favorite is The Montage at Palmetto Bluff in SC. They truly outdo themselves when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving. This is a fun, active weekend for the entire family or just for the two of you. They have a tree lighting ceremony, Turkey Trot, tennis round robin, petting zoo, Oyster roast, dueling pianos, Bourbon wagon on Sunrise Lawn, Scavenger Hunt, hayrides, glow in the dark putt-putt, a cruise on their restored antique yacht, Thanksgiving Day brunch, not forgetting the decorating! I promised the kids this year we would go all out and even look for some cool thanksgiving embroidery designs that we can use around the house and we are going to gift some to this resort for them to use each year! They also have a block party on the Village Green and last but not least, a ginger spa treatment at their beautiful spa. Not sure you could fit one more thing into your holiday weekend here.
Remember, Thanksgiving is for giving thanks for all that we have and sharing it with those we love. Why not take a break this year and make a new holiday tradition at one of these memorable destinations?
Debbie Martinez is a Miami Dade resident and Travel Editor for The Florida Villager. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.