Tag: Thanksgiving AlternativesView All Tags
While many of you are making plans to head out of town for a long holiday weekend, filling up on turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie, there are some who will try to recreate the feast on the shores of a different country, thousands of miles away from home. Sometimes it's not much different than previous Thanksgivings in the US, but some things just have to change due to location and availability of traditional fare.
I am American expat living in Australia and, for the past 2 years I have tried to recreate the Thanksgivings I remember. The flavors and feelings are based on holidays I spent growing up just outside Chicago, with a great chill in the air and the smell of leaf decay wafting inside every time the door opened. As you can imagine, Australia is a long way off from the frozen tundra of the Midwest.
You have itchy feet and nowhere to be next Thursday (or you simply need a good excuse to get away from the day). We have a few packages that will be more cost-effective than buying a whole turkey. Let's check 'em out...
Option 1: Spend it with the First Family:
LastMinute.com has flight and hotel packages to Washington D.C. starting at just $246. When you get there, work up an appetite at the Eighth Annual Trot For Hunger 5K along the Potomac, then chow down at the Mandarin Oriental's new restaurant, Sou'wester. On Friday, hit Pentagon City mall at 5AM to get all your shopping done, then attend a tree lighting in Old Town Alexandria.
Thanksgiving Alternatives / Thanksgiving Travel / California / California Travel / Lake Tahoe / → All Tags
Lake views and no cooking; that's what we call Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving can either make you feel elated or totally stressed out—usually some combination thereof. After that Pumpkin Pie high, your mind might turn to thoughts of dishes that need to be washed, relatives that need to be entertained, and horrific Black Friday shopping. The benefit of hightailing it out of town during this time is being able to push some of these worries away, while still enjoying the Thanksgiving spirit.
Lake Tahoe is always a favorite holiday destination, for its views of the water, skiing, and the fact that it's pretty much the opposite of a harried urban setting, however overrun with tourists it can get. We found some last minute event deals at the Hyatt Regency Resort that offer easy and relatively cheap remedies to some of the problems we mentioned above.
What better time to get the munchies than on the eve of America's favorite all-you-can-eat holiday? (Halloween is amateur hour!) High Times magazine wants you to help it pick the best kind of pot at their 22nd annual Cannabis Cup held in, where else, Amsterdam. Technically, this year's tourney ends on Thanksgiving Day (beginning the 22nd), but if you flew home that day you could probably catch a late-night turkey dinner.
Many coffee shops in Amsterdam submit their own blends for the judging, but each year's cup also features a "surprise weed" that may not be distributed widely for months (if at all). There are some free samples, but even judges at large (a $250 pass gets you in the door, plus a T-shirt) have to buy samples in order to make an educated decision. On the other hand, just like at beer festivals, you'd be hard pressed to find a more efficient way to become a connoisseur of the wares than at the Melkweg concert venue in southwest Amsterdam.
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If it's good enough for Madonna and Jesus, then it's good enough for you. As we reported today, the transformative Queen of Pop recently landed in Rio de Janiero for "humanitarian" work and quite possibly to meet her boyfriend's parents. We're not sure if this contributes to Rio's international appeal or detracts from it, but we did happen to stumble across a four-night travel package, airfare included, for Thanksgiving travel to the Brazilian city.
Travelzoo recently posted a $699 (base price) all-inclusive deal which includes roundtrip travel from New York City, daily breakfast, four nights accommodations, and the option to tack tour extras onto your package. The catch is, as we mentioned, the date that you'll have to depart—either dangerously close to Thanksgiving on the 19th, or the day itself. So, you'll have to decide whether forgoing turkey, football, and that yearly screening of the MACY*S parade is worth the $700 pricetag.
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There is a certain romantic allure to train travel—just ask fictional sweethearts Jesse and Céline of Before Sunrise. But Stateside, unfortunately, the mode of transport isn't as common as it is in other parts of the world. While you continue to dream about hopping aboard a Darjeeling Railway car, we're happy to report that a smaller-scale train trek can be had in California, even if it is less grand than journeying across exotic international ground.
The Napa Valley Wine Train is a refined alternative to unofficial "drunk buses" tourists often book to stay safe while sipping wine flights throughout the day. Equally drinker-friendly, and much more respectable, the train is holding a special Thanksgiving dinner aboard its Gourmet and Vista Dome cars for $104 and $139, respectively. Sadly, lunch tickets have already sold out.
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When November comes around, people's mouths water for turkey—be it the white meat, dark meat or wings. Then there are those who salivate for turkey balls. Seriously. In Huntley, a small suburb about 45 minutes west of downtown Chicago, turkey scrota are as much a Thanksgiving tradition as stuffing at the annual Turkey Testicle Festival, which will swing into town on November 25.
What began as a local tradition has become a draw for tourists. Last year, more than 3,900 people turned out to to the Parkside Pub, the festival's home base, to munch on 1,280 pounds of turkey testes. The small bits—no offense to male turkeys—are coated in breadcrumbs and then cooked crispy in a deep fryer. They taste gamey, like chicken, or so we're told. Some douse them in ketchup or Tabasco, but most people just eat them plain. The bar usually sells out of the treats by 9:30 p.m.
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Are you a last-minute planner when it comes to big holiday travel times like Thanksgiving in Christmas? Yes, we are too, especially because everything looks so darn expensive and plain booked up. This year, it's either another Thanksgiving of ordering Chinese takeout or booking it out of the country for some autumn appeal overseas...like in Prague.
Remember that it's not Thanksgiving over in the Czech Republic, so that means no dinner reservations or pressure to eat cranberry sauce. Virgin Vacations seems to have the best deal we've seen for this, with a 6-night hotel, airfare, and daily breakfast starting at $669 per person. Sure they have other deals for Thanksgiving to Barcelona, London, Paris and Rome, but the Prague trip sounds like the most fall foliage and old school charm for the lowest price.
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]
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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!
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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]
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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]