Arrghh, this is so much like all of the other 4th Thursdays in November. You start with enough doughy pastry to keep the local cardiologist in a Benz for the next 50 or 60 years. You flop down into a soft chair for a little Thanksgiving football, within reach of a tray of sweet and salty snacks. The doorbell chimes, and it’s Uncle Harry. You remember him. He and his obnoxious wife belong to that other political party. Great, this means you and Uncle Harry side-eye each other until dinner time. What’s for dinner? As God is your witness, it is the same dinner you have had for the last two and a half decades. By the same I mean down to the same green bean casserole that nobody ever eats!
Do you long for a change? Do you want a real Thanksgiving vacation? Gildshire thought so. That’s why we developed some ideas to chuck the traditions in favor of new and great adventures! Are you ready to go? Then, let’s get out on the highway sans Uncle Harry and his weird ideas.
The Hotel Zamora, in St. Petersburg, Fla.: We start out our Thanksgiving vacation list with some Mediterranean flow, but without leaving the country. Castile Restaurant is one of Florida’s finest dining establishments, and it is inside The Hotel Zamora. The chef there is preparing a Thanksgiving dinner that will be served poolside. Let’s say you like some of your old Thanksgiving traditions, but with a twist. Have some of the cranberry dressing that Castile infuses with Grand Marnier? Room rates start at $169.00, but Florida residents receive a 20% discount.
The Hilton, in midtown Manhattan: You won’t actually be abandoning Thanksgiving if you watch the big Macy’s Parade from the hotel window. After all, what says Miracle on 34th Street more than that? The Hilton is serving a room experience the chocolate lover in your house will remember forever. It’s a chocolate sweet suite featuring beignets, truffles, and macaroons by legendary chocolatier, Jacques Torres. Room rates start at $321.00.
La Posada, in Santa Fe, NM: Travelers who think of New Mexico as a gas and pop break between Texas and Arizona are missing a lot! Particularly when it comes to Santa Fe. An artist enclave with a state capital to boot, Santa Fe is vacation unto itself. Thanksgiving patrons of La Posada have brunch at a quarter to ten and a prix-fixe dinner at 7 pm. It is all prepared for you by Chef Marc Quinones. All that is left is to hope Thanksgiving dinner comes with the gentlest of snowfalls on the quiet Santa Fe streets. That’s magic, my friends. Room rates start at $357.00.
Casa Marina, in Key West, Fla: There is an undeniably rustic charm to this corner of the country that Papa Hemingway made his home. The southernmost point in the continental U.S. is loaded with sand artists who create spectacular new works every year around this time. Just a few steps outside of Casa Marina find sand mermaids, and tritons, along with other sand-built expressions of passion for a life nautical in scope and nature. Why are these sand creations near Casa Marina? Because the hotel management commissions the artists to build them each year during the Thanksgiving season. Enjoy them knowing you are about to receive an array of treats from the kitchens at The Spa al Mare’, located inside the hotel. Room rates start at $479.00, but Florida residents get that 5% discount again.
Plimoth Plantation, in Plymouth, MA: Some people may sniff that you are disrespecting Thanksgiving with this trip. Just tell them you are having a Thanksgiving vacation where Thanksgiving began. In fact, literally, steps from Plymouth Rock you’ll find role-playing pilgrims reenacting the life of a 17th Century settler to this land. Thanksgiving is a special day here at Plimoth Plantation, and a feast is prepared for the guests! Formal dinner prices are $98 per adult and $71 per child, but the buffet is just $73 per adult and $49 for children.
This isn’t your everyday Turkey Day. Instead, it is your Thanksgiving vacation of a lifetime. Harry will never know where we went or why we smile when we remember.