Where to do the turkey thing a bit differently.
Deluged by the news that Thanksgiving travel this weekend may not be quite so bad as expected? Feeling that familiar yearning to just head for the sunset? Us, too, and we already have plans. So we decided to vicariously throw caution to the winds and pull up LastMinute.com to give you the best right-this-second travel option.
Ready, set, go: You're off to Sarasota, Florida, home of a great Salvador Dali collection, a clown museum (see the hilarity? How about the potential to develop a lifelong phobia?), avant-garde architecture and, oh yeah, some beaches too. A calm, bookstore-laden town where half the buildings are pink and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed concert hall is more of a draw than the multiplex, Sarasota is worlds away from party city Miami or Mickeyville, Orlando, but if that first bite of winter is getting to you already, you'll appreciate that last breath of summer.
[Photo of a Sarasota Season of Sculpture installation: srqpix]
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Disco / Live Music Travel / Videos / Thanksgiving-Alternatives-Map / → All Tags
To break a world record, the city of Buffalo threw the biggest disco party ever in 1979 with 13,000 attendees. In the '90s, they did it again--for charity. Saturday's World's Largest Disco attracts a giggle-inducing parade of '70s stars and a crowd of 7,000 people every year to benefit Camp Good Days, which organizes festivals and fun days for children with cancer.
We know what you're thinking: Are you, venerable website, really suggesting we trek up to Buffalo, where it is supposed to snow all weekend, in order to participate in a giant disco dance? Why, sure we are. Because we've all had that Thanksgiving we'd rather forget, due to a "House of Yes"-style family fight or a "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" travel nightmare. This one, though, you'll never forget. Don't forget to send us your notes if you go!
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Buy Nothing Day / Adbusters / Thanksgiving-Alternatives-Map / → All Tags
Hey, is there a hole in our pocket, or is this year a little bit less fun for shopping than others? Unless you happen to be a major bank, you may be feeling the pinch this holiday season, so why not make it a party? San Francisco's Really Really Free Market on November 29 won't snag you any awesome HDTVs but it's a haven for hidden treasures.
Adbusters' traditional Buy Nothing Day is November 28, the same day Wal-Marts everywhere will be opening while it's still dark for bargain hunters. But stop by Dolores Park to take place in the Really Really Free Market, where you can get secondhand T-shirts, crafts or even a haircut for the low price of free. It's a great excuse to stay away from the mall crowds for the day, especially since the forecast is for mid-60s and sun.
In New York, adrenaline is free with a Union Square dance party between 3 and 5:30 pm, sponsored by anti-consumerist activist Reverend Billy. Show that giant Forever 21 just what you think of it by burning calories instead of dollar bills.
Out of the US for Black Friday? Even in areas of the world that don't have a Thanksgiving around which to orient the post-Thanksgiving consumerist orgy, you can show you have things in your life more important than your stuff. In Newtown, New Zealand, bring the fruits of your garden for a seed and seedling swap (remember, it's spring there!). Check out a free movie and discussion in Bucharest, Romania at Club Upload (Str. Armeneasca Nr. 36) on November 29 at 7 pm. And the Maison Verte coop in Montreal is hiding all its products and hosting day of fun, including a "slow race."
[Photo from last year's "Elf Strike" in San Francisco: jym]
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Thanksgiving-Alternatives-Map / Thanksgiving / Florida Keys / Kiteboarding / → All Tags
If you’re going to skip town on your family for Thanksgiving, you might as well go somewhere warm. Heading down to the Florida Keys is a good bet for nice weather and beach time, and the relaxed atmosphere doesn't allow for Black Friday insanity.
For dinner, head to Pepe's on Caroline Street. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Key West, and the place serves up a Thanksgiving-style meal every Thursday.
Then, instead of watching the parade on TV, head out to the water where kiteboarders are planning to congregate during the holiday weekend to put on a show for anyone watching. If the winds are blowing the right way on Saturday, a group plans to ride about 80 miles through the water from Islamarada to Key West.
[Photo: Stig Nygaard]
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Thanksgiving-Alternatives-Map / Thanksgiving / Horseback Riding / Adventure Travel / → All Tags
Most of the year, riding horses in Arizona sounds like a great way to get heat stroke. But just as the Northeast settles in for a long winter, temps in the Grand Canyon state are in the balmy 70s, making the choice to pull on jeans and boots seem less horrible. Spend Thanksgiving weekend letting someone else do the walking at the Grapevine Canyon Ranch in Pearce.
Ride through fields of cacti near this small town southeast of Tucson, then after you get back from the dusty trails--6 to 7 hours of riding a day are included--kick back in a hot tub in your villa before tucking into Thanksgiving dinner. No TV and no in-room phones means you can concentrate on... Well, whatever you do when you're not reading Jaunted. (We'll miss you, but you could use the break!)
· Cruise, Ride, Fly, Eat and Relax This Thanksgiving: Last-Minute Deals and Discounts [Frommers.com]
· Horsing Around on Beautiful Back Roads [Jaunted]
· Thanksgiving coverage [Jaunted]
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To deal with holiday stress, some of us reach for the bottle. Turn stress-induced drinking into a learning experience with the Willamette Valley Wineries' Wine Country Thanksgiving.
Over a hundred wineries are throwing open their doors over the holiday weekend for wine snobs and "Sideways"-watching amateurs alike. How to choose? Check out the incentives some vineyards are offering: At Carabella Vineyard in Newberg, you can buy wine "futures" to get a great deal on next year's vintages along with this year's bottles; Stag Hollow Wines in Yamhill promises chocolate pairings with your vino.
Remember: Be safe and use a designated driver. Try sweetening the deal by offering to get them a Black Friday treasure like a Blu-Ray player!
· Active Travel: Willamette National Forest [Jaunted]
· Portland Avalon Hotel and Spa: Don't Call the Town Car A Drunk Bus [HC]
· Set the Poker Table Instead of Mom's [Jaunted]
· Breathe! Restful Retreats At Home and Away [Jaunted]
· Thanksgiving coverage [Jaunted]
Trade the marshmallow salad for haute cuisine and backyard sports for the sports book in Vegas next weekend: For Turkey Day itself, dig into a pumpkin baked Alaska at Brand Steakhouse (at the Monte Carlo, one of the casinos with special deals at our sister site HotelChatter) or arrange for a $185 eight-person dinner, potatoes to pie, to be delivered to your room at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas in nearby Henderson. Find roast turkey too bland? Take in turkey tacos and mucho tequila at the Luxor.
Meanwhile VegasChill.com recommends catching David Spade at the Hard Rock (Friday and Saturday, November 28-29) or the Cirque de Soleil show LOVE at the Mirage (Thursday-Sunday, 7 and 10 pm).
Criss Angel's "Believe" show is getting horrible reviews, so So Bad It's Good connoisseurs should enjoy it. Craving a little more wholesome entertainment? Sell a kidney for a ticket to see the Jonas Brothers at MGM Grand on Saturday (3 pm and 8 pm shows), 'cause that's about how much scalpers are asking right now. (We kid: There are still some for $50.)
· Thanksgiving in Vegas Ultimate Guide [VegasChill.com]
· Thanksgiving 2008 [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
· Book Two Nights in Vegas and Get a Third for Free [HC]
· Restful Retreats at Home and Away [Jaunted]
· Thanksgiving coverage [Jaunted]
The prospect of seeing all those relatives making you a little... stressed? Ease out those holiday cares on a Thanksgiving weekend yoga vacation.
If you can take the whole week off, check out the Sivananda Ashram's Thanksgiving Retreat, held on Paradise Island in The Bahamas. Meditation sessions on the beach, vegetarian meals and a concert of Indian chants by Durga Das will refresh whether you decide to bring your own tent or stay on the ashram grounds.
Want something a little more low-key? Check into Santa Fe's Upaya Institute and Zen Center for daily practice in and around its adobe buildings. Go at your own speed by joining daily practice and taking walks on the grounds. No prior experience necessary! And you'll have a great experience for turning your Blackberry off.
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Marathons / Sports / Running Travel / Thanksgiving-Alternatives-Map / → All Tags
Oh, bowling and swimming weren't sporty enough for you? The country of Lebanon doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, which is just as well because you're not going to want to eat a classic turkey-and-potatoes dinner before the Beirut International Marathon on November 30. Well, the potatoes, maybe, but not the turkey.
The fifth annual run devotes its proceeds to cancer research and tracks along the city's Mediterranean coastline to the mellifluous tones of Miss Lebanon 2007. With average temperatures this time a year a balmy 66 degrees, runners won't feel the need to shed multiple layers of clothing along the 42 km route--which is good, 'cause you'll need to save that money you would have spent on Under Armour for the $1,100 round-trip plane ticket. (Know about a deal? Let us know!)
We hope you've already been training, though, because the deadline to run in this race is Saturday. (Underprepared? Consider the 5K "Mini Marathon" or 10K "Fun Run." Not that marathons aren't fun... right?)
Why slump on the couch watching sports this Thanksgiving when you could be doing something active? There aren't any pickup football games at southern Ohio's Cherry Valley Lodge, but you can test your throwin' arm and your kicking legs with its Turkey Bowl Package, offered each weekend in November.
The resort is offering two days of passes to its CoCo Key Water Resort--indoors, of course!--along with two tickets to a special kind of bowling game: Bowling with frozen turkeys! Depending on how you feel about fowl, you may prefer hurling them far, far away from you to dishing them up. But if not, the lodge will also hand you a 15-lb. frozen turkey to take home, for a Thanksgiving redux.
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Colonial America / Historic Reenactments / Thanksgiving-Alternatives-Map / → All Tags
Don't feel like traveling to Aunt Margaret's with a store-bought pie under your arm? Travel back in time instead for dinner at Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts on November 29 for an 1830 meal.
In this dining room, candles light the dishes, the hosts wear traditional dress (including bonnets!) and Blackberrys don't exist. After a tour, tuck into roast beef and bread pudding and wash it all down with cider. No staying overnight in the historic unheated buildings, though!