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It’s that time of year.
Starbucks is serving up the pumpkin spice lattes and, somewhere in the Great Lakes region, the Detroit Lions are strategizing how not to lose their ninth-straight Thanksgiving Day football game.
Turkey Day is imminent.
If the idea of participating in another family discussion on whether sweet potatoes should be served with or without marshmallows leaves you less than enthused, maybe it’s time to develop some new Thanksgiving traditions.
TravelAge West serves up several Thanksgiving travel ideas that just may have you reinventing how you spend your holiday season.
Dine With the Turkeys
This year, instead of chowing down on an L-Tryptophan-laden meal, why not join a party where turkeys are the guest of honor?
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, Farm Sanctuary serves up traditional Thanksgiving dishes prepared with vegan ingredients during its annual Celebration for the Turkeys event. The dinners are served picnic-style on Farm Sanctuaries lands, and the event highlight is the “Feeding of the Turkeys” ceremony, when guests can watch rescued turkeys gobble up a feast of their own.
Freezin’ for A Reason
There once was a swimmer in Nantucket…
For an all new Thanksgiving Day tradition — and one that benefits charity to boot — join the hundreds of hearty souls who participate in Nantucket’s annual Cold Turkey Plunge. Swimmers brave the cold waters at Children’s Beach on Thanksgiving morning, all while raising money for the Atheneum Weezie Library for Children, the island’s public library. Last-minute plungers are welcome, even encouraged, and are asked to make a $25 donation to the library.
Forage for Dinner
If you just can’t live without the traditional dinner, try participating in a Thanksgiving foraging excursion.
Sonoma, Calif.’s BeautifulPlaces is offering villa guests the opportunity to gather dinner ingredients with Chef Max Porter-Elliot at his favorite local haunts. Visit a turkey farm where the poultry are humanely raised, pick up freshly baked bread at a local bakery, and savor local cheeses, all while getting an inside look at how these farms and businesses operate.
Rent a Castle
Ireland’s Ashford Castle, which dates back to 1228, welcomes guests this Thanksgiving with a special buy-two, get-a-third-night-free package. The ideal place to spend a cozy Thanksgiving weekend, here, guests can enjoy nights by the fireplace and exceptional service from a staff that feels like family, but without all the drama.
The package starts at $980 and includes a full Irish Breakfast for two each morning, dinner in the George V dining room, including a Thanksgiving turkey served on Nov. 22 and a complimentary third night bed and breakfast.
Create a New Tradition
Sure New York has the Macy’s Christmas Day Parade, but, why not create a new tradition in the city that never sleeps? Herald in the holidays by taking in a production of Handel’s Messiah at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Distinguished Concerts International (DCINY), now in its fifth season, presents a re-orchestration of the Messiah at Lincoln Center on Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. Called a “radical rescoring” by the New York Times, the concert features a full symphony orchestra and mass chorus, filling the concert hall with the festive sounds of the beloved holiday masterpiece.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Artswww.lincolncenter.org
Make Your Thanksgiving Magical
Add a little magic to your Thanksgiving when by visiting the updated “Harry Potter: The Exhibition,” which returns to Discovery Times Square on Nov. 3 and will be open during Thanksgiving.
In addition to hundreds of original props and costumes from the Harry Potter films, original artifacts from the series finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, will be on display for the first time, including a new vignette dedicated to the epic battle of Hogwarts.
The exhibition made its world premiere in Chicago in April 2009 before traveling on to Boston, Toronto, Seattle, New York and Sydney, and Singapore The updated exhibition makes its return to North America with the New York engagement, which runs through April 2013.
Discovery Times Square866.9.TSXNYC www.DiscoveryTS.com
Florida’s Frigid Animation Extravaganza
Florida’s warmer climate doesn’t necessarily scream winter wonderland, but don’t tell the Gaylord Palms Hotel, the host of the annual celebration, known simply as ICE!
The 20,000 square-foot structure, chilled to a frosty 9 degrees, includes a number of hand-carved ice sculptured, inspired by the DreamWorks' Animation television classic Merry Madagascar. Relive the story of how Alex the Lion and his friends saved Christmas after Santa and his reindeer crash onto the island of Madagascar in a series of 40 sculptures hand carved in Harbin, China. Thrill-seeking kids can also enjoy two-story tall ice slides carved from two million pounds of ice.
Gaylord Palms Hotelwww.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-palms
Skate the Desert
Outdoor ice skating makes its first Scottsdale appearance this winter as the W Scottsdale transforms its WET pool deck into CHILL, a 1,600-square-foot hybrid ice-skating rink. Get in the holiday spirit with faux snow falls every hour and a rink-side bar that serves specialty cocktails. The Chill Out room package starts at $239 per night and includes accommodations for two, two drink tickets and unlimited skate rentals.
Also getting in the act, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess will also debut an all-new ice-skating rink at its picturesque Cactus Garden to complement the property’s four-story musical Christmas tree, Princess’ Lagoon Lights and 6-foot gingerbread nutcracker.
Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureauwww.experiencescottsdale.com
Thanksgiving Pool Party
If you don’t need your desert served with a side of ice, head to Palm Springs instead, for the Ace Hotel’s annual Black Sheep Weekend. The festivities kick off on Thursday with the Black Sheep feast, a traditional dinner (starting at $25) but accompanied by a side of jazz favorites, spun by the hotel’s “karaoke hostess.” The remainder of the weekend is dedicated to DJ-spun tunes by the pool, drinking, dancing and holiday-themed crafting. All events are open to the public, but the Ace Hotel also offers Black Sheep weekend discounts on hotel stays.
While in Palm Springs, be sure to ride the world-famous Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which is open 8 a.m. -9:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The tramway is offering Ride ‘n’ Dine combination tickets, which include Tram admission and dinner at the Pines Cafe, starting at $36 for adults.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramwaywww.pstramway.com
The Mayflower may have missed Hawaii by some 5,000 miles, but that doesn’t mean Hawaiians don't love a good Thanksgiving celebration.
This year, the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas continues an annual tradition with its Scarecrow Building Competition. Held on the Lanai Lawn of the oceanfront resort, the event brings together family and friends, who endeavor to decorate the best looking and most unique scarecrow. Other hotel events include Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest and Designing an Edible Bouquet.
Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villaswww.westinkaanapali.com
A quick hop to Las Vegas may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to curing the Thanksgiving blues. Traditionalists can find plenty of unique turkey dinners, and the abundance of sports book betting establishments means that hubby can still watch the Lions commit their annual Turkey Day hara-kiri.
If you like your turkey served with a side of seviche or sashimi, Sushisamba may be your best bet. (Scroll down for Sushisamba’s Mojo Roasted Organic Turkey recipe.)
Located at the Palazzo, Sushisamba blends the best of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, music and design. The restaurant is a lively experience, somewhat reminiscent of Carnavale, with dramatic 16-foot ceilings that create a soaring atrium above the restaurant and visual projections on the constant move along the restaurant walls.
Not interested in a full meal? Sambahour serves up small bites, like Berkshire Pork Gyoza and Yellowtail Tiradito, with jalapenos and lemongrass, as well Caipirinhas, Mojitas and Asahi beer, from 4-7 p.m. and 11-close, everyday but Saturday.
Mojo Roasted Turkey yields 6 servings
ingredients:•1 turkey, medium sized bird•2 ea. white onion, diced in large pieces•2 ea. carrot, diced in large pieces•2 ea. orange, diced in medium pieces•10 ea. garlic cloves•4 tbsp. olive oil•6 sprigs thyme•1 cup chicken stock•salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 250F. Salt and pepper the bird. Stuff the bird with a mix of quinoa-linguiça, shallots and bread. Brush it with olive oil and place it on a baking sheet over a bed of vegetables and thyme.
Cover the sheet with aluminum foil and roast in a preheated oven for 2.5 hours or until the temperature reaches 160F inside of the breast (check with your meat thermometer). For the final 15 minutes, remove the aluminum and baste. Remove from the oven and allow the bird to rest.
For the sauce, reduce the sour orange juice to one fourth. Add the garlic and the drippings from the bird. Season with cumin, salt, black pepper and thicken with cornstarch.
Ingredients:•1 cup sour orange juice•5 cloves garlic, sliced•1 tsp. cumin•.5 tbsp. cornstarch•stuffing
Combine all ingredients for Mojo - reserving a small portion (without oil) as a final marinade. Rub the breast with the mojo mixture and allow it to marinate for 3 hours. Next, in a large pan, gently sear the turkey skin to golden. Place the turkey in the oven at 360F with a foil cover for approximately 35-40 minutes. Uncover for a final 20-30 minutes (or until the turkey is cooked through); Baste every 5-6 minutes. Finish with a final coating of Mojo that you’d reserved in the beginning.
Ingredients:•2 cups quinoa•2 pc. linguiça•3 shallots, minced•parsley
For the stuffing, cook quinoa with a brunoise of vegetables using chicken stock. In a separate pan, brown the linguiça sausage and cut into 1/2 inch pieces; Incorporate into the quinoa.