Maybe you’re tired. Maybe you aren’t up for hosting the entire clan of 40 for yet another holiday. You don’t always have to say yes. You can relax on a getaway for your Thanksgiving break instead. Here are places around the country that do it best.
It’ll be easy to be grateful among crystal-blue water and undulating palm fronds when you celebrate Thanksgiving in a Hawai’ian style mash-up at award-winning Chef Peter Merriman’s Oahu restaurant Merriman’s. Chef Merriman celebrates the bounty of the earth by trying to source only local, organic ingredients to celebrate the culture of Hawai’i and share it with the rest of the world. Thanksgiving day options include hapa poke with ahi and ono; vegetable wellington made with kale, walnut sweet onion puree and coconut ginger jus; and macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi. There are more traditional options for those who like things to feel familiar and there are plates designed for vegans or those eating gluten-free.
If paradise is your thing and you really love the water, what better way to feast than on a boat sailing through both? There will be plenty of stay options in Florida’s resort destination, The Palm Beaches, which flaunts 47 miles of sand and ocean. After donning your fall tan, you can celebrate your good fortune aboard a boat on Delray Yacht Cruises with a traditional Thanksgiving meal during your two-hour cruise through Delray Beach, Highland Beach and Boca Raton. And when you’re done with your cruise, you can walk down the selfie trail of The Palm Beaches to show all your friends and family the right way to do Thanksgiving.
Spend the holiday much like the pioneers did, except without all the uncomfortable parts. At Paws Up, choose between a luxury private lodge or a luxury tent, set in 37,000 sprawling acres of wilderness among singing brooks and trees standing guard over wildlife and spreading the scent of their needles and bark. Legendary barbecue chef Sam Huff joins executive chef Sunny Jin to create a Thanksgiving feast to rival those of the pilgrims. After, play a game of traditional touch football, take a family ATV or hayride. When the sun sets, s’mores and a campfire will lull your inner explorer to sleep.
Set in the Laurel Highlands among clouds of green trees is 2,000 acres of Thanksgiving fun at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Chef Kristin Butterworth, awarded both Forbes Travel Guide 5 stars and AAA’s 5-diamonds for her restaurant Lautrec, creates an unforgettable Thanksgiving brunch you can then jog off at the resort’s 5K Turkey Trot! This private city-like resort includes three luxury hotels, townhomes and private homes so you can locate your gang as far or near as you please. There are also two PGA golf courses and an Adventure Center to tire out your tykes.
If you’d rather spend your Thanksgiving in the mountains, the Sonnenalp Hotel has the chalet the Pilgrims would have loved had they ventured to Colorado. You can still enjoy a buffet Thanksgiving with everything that makes the holiday special, then relax in Vail Village or go iceskating in the center of town. In the morning, take the brood snowshoeing to look for wild turkeys, or, probably, deer or moose. Evenings offer a relaxing time in the King’s Club Great Room. Play board games around the fireplace while listening to live music and sipping on hot cider. If you opt to ski in one of the 19 ski resorts owned by Vail, then don’t forget to melt into the massage table afterwards in the Sonnenalp Spa. After all, that’s how the pilgrims would have done it if they could.
And, finally, celebrate Thanksgiving in a hotel dedicated to one founding father, The Jefferson, in the exclusive Thomas Jefferson Suite. Gaze presidentially onto the Washington Monument after you’ve had your complimentary shoe shine, right before you go to Thanksgiving dinner with Michelin-starred executive chef Ralf Schlegel of the hotel’s restaurant Plume.
You’ll feel so happy the people voted for you to guide the country as you nibble on dishes ranging from Burgundy truffle potato vichyssoise and vegetarian sunflower root and seeds, to traditional items like organically prepared turkey and dry-aged New York strip. For dessert, pastry chef Fabrice Leray will prepare red kuri pumpkin pie with gingerbread popcorn and carrot pineapple baked Alaska. Oh how nice it is to serve. Or be served.
Santa Barbara is perfect for couples. It’s no wonder the city nicknamed the American Riviera is a place to walk hand-in-hand through the urban wine trail, gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over dinner at an award-winning restaurant or listen to the crash of waves and call of seagulls along the country’s oldest operating wharf. Yet, it’s also a great place to bring kids.
By Hainan Airlines
The wonderful thing about Italy, which evolved from a land of many kingdoms to a unified country in the 19th century, is its buildings have transformed into boutique hotels with fascinating past lives that guests can still explore and appreciate. Whether former farm houses, monasteries, castles or full-on estates, the stays not only provide atmospheric lodging and wonderfully executed regional food, but a means to immerse oneself into a different way of life — be it one of royalty or a simple existence living off the land.