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  • Writer's pictureJuliet Weller

Five Great Places to Visit This Thanksgiving

Believe it or not, I started to write a New Year-related topic. It's an occupational hazard for me to think into the future, since that's the crux of my business - planing your future vacation. I realize, however, you might not be that far forward in your thinking (although I encourage you to do just that when it comes to vacation planning), so I'm backing up a bit and discussing something closer. Whether you're thinking Thanksgiving travel or not, the truth is, it is time!

Do you typically get away during the long Thanksgiving weekend? Whether you’d like to skip cooking all together or just take the family somewhere new for the holiday, check out these exciting places where special activities are planned for the holiday weekend.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It might not be the first place you think of for a holiday, but there’s plenty to do in Pittsburgh, and even more so over the holiday weekend. Root for your home-away-from-home team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Wander around shop-filled Market Square and, if traveling with kids for the holiday, make a stop at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh which offers dozens of interactive exhibits to keep the little ones entertained. On Thanksgiving Day, enjoy a holiday meal without the work at The Grand Concourse, which offers a take home meal kit (serving 10-12 people) as well as an in-house buffet. If you want to extend your long weekend to a week-long trip, arrive the weekend before Thanksgiving to attend Downtown Holiday Happenings, the city’s kick off to the holiday season.

Where to Stay: The luxurious Fairmont Pittsburgh is an urban retreat with185 luxurious guest rooms and suites, each featuring comfortable amenities, contemporary décor, and seamless technology. Allowing me to book it on your behalf, you will have exclusive access to the benefits afforded my clients through their preferred program.

Toronto, Canada

Although Canada’s Thanksgiving falls over a month earlier, there’s still plenty to do around the city for the American long weekend. The Blake House in downtown Toronto serves up an American-style Thanksgiving meal each year. If you prefer to have your gravy over something other than turkey, Nomnomnom Poutine can satisfy your craving in true Canadian fashion. Enjoy the cooler weather while shopping at the Distillery Winter Village, previously the Toronto Christmas Market, or taking in some of the year-round sites like century-old Casa Loma or the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Where to Stay: 1 Hotel Toronto - take the private elevator up to the rooftop bar for 360-degree views of the city and a rotating menu of handcrafted cocktails. You'll receive Virtuoso's exclusive benefits as my client.

Nashville, Tennessee

From participating in the annual Turkey Trot to snagging a Black Friday deal on the perfect pair of cowboy boots, there’s plenty to do over the long weekend in Nashville. Though a quieter time in terms of crowds, the music is loud as ever, with no shortage of concert tours and weekly performances at the Grand Ole Opry. If you’re traveling with kids, check out the Lane Motor Museum Day After Thanksgiving Fun, a museum dedicated to “technically interesting collection of cars and other transportation-related objects.” Vault tours, which give you a peek at cars not currently on display, are free for the first 180-ticket holders to sign up.

Where to Stay: In the heart of the bustling Gulch neighborhood, Thompson Nashville emanates the hospitality this little big town is known for. The 224-room hotel boasts hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows in each room and suite. Dining includes Marsh House, which offers elevated Southern seafood and an extensive wine list, and L.A. Jackson, an indoor/outdoor rooftop bar that is open year-round, serving small bites and craft cocktails. Guests can start their days at Killebrew with coffee, assorted pastries, and light breakfast and lunch options. Thompson Nashville is a perennial crossroads, mixing luxury with Southern sophistication.

Dublin, Ireland

November in Dublin is definitely off-season for tourists. The bonus: the city sees relatively little rainfall when compared to both October and the later winter months. The trade-off is a colder climate, hovering in the low to mid-50s (Fahrenheit). If you can handle the chill, you’ll be rewarded with shorter wait times and fewer crowds. Take advantage of the off-season to get a seat at the usually crowded Temple Bar or see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. Dublin Christmas Markets typically start toward the end of the month, with the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market anticipated to make its return the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Where to Stay: A member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World, The Westbury places its guests at the very heart of Dublin’s social and cultural riches. Its prime location between Trinity College and Saint Stephen’s Green means Dublin’s Creative Quarter, with the characterful boutiques and famous nightlife of Grafton Street, is right on the hotel’s doorstep. Meanwhile, inside there’s The Sidecar’s creative cocktails; the 1930s glamour of WILDE, one of the city’s finest restaurants; Balfes’ open kitchen and outdoor terrace; and, of course, The Gallery – renowned for afternoon tea – the epitome of this haven of luxury.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

If you wish to visit the west this Thanksgiving, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most eye-opening sites to see. The crowds of summer subside and the temperatures are perfect for hiking. Facilities on the North Rim close after October 15th, but Highway 67 remains open as long as there isn’t a big snowstorm before November 30th, so you may be able to enjoy this part of the park in complete solitude. Otherwise, the South Rim is open year-round.

If you’re flying into the area, you’ll likely find the cheapest flights into Las Vegas (LAS), which is a 4-hour drive from the visitor’s center. The closest commercial airport is Flagstaff (FLG) but there are limited flight options available. Flying into Phoenix (PHX) is another option for cheaper flights, which is about a 3.5-hour drive.

Where to Stay: Definitely reach out to me for this, and do it soon. Despite the reduction in the tourist crowd, lodging can be hard to find as not all accommodations are open all year.

If you have a hankering for a not-the-same-old Thanksgiving this year, then gather up the family and take a trip; crank their expectations up a notch. Why celebrate the same old way? Nothing beats an old tradition like the unexpected enjoyment of starting a new one.

'til next week!


Did you miss any of my articles? They are all here.

Contact: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES - Juliet Weller, Founder

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