Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. For one thing, it ushers in a season of warmth and joy and togetherness for families and friends. For another, it ushers in a day of fantastic food and happy spirits among all. (And, for us Americans, it also ushers in a day of great football!) The U.S.A. is blessed, too, with wonderful hotels and resorts at which to spend Thanksgiving...places that enhance the Holiday spirit. To all, a Happy Thanksgiving! And here are my five favorite places to spend Thanksgiving this year...
#5 - DEVIL'S THUMB RANCH, TABERNASH, COLORADO - Here, only 75 minutes from Denver, it's not only the invigorating, crystal-clear, wintry mountain air that rushes right through you as if it's cleansing your soul. It's also the dramatic scenery of the Rocky Mountains, especially in the distant golden-stone peak with a formation shaped like a - you guessed it - Devil's Thumb. Here, you can enjoy a genuine Western experience where the West still lives and breathes and captures the imagination. This is a 6,500-acre working ranch, complete with cowpokes and corrals and grazing herds rounded up from their mountain pastures every night. But it's also an award-winning resort with a main lodge as well as individual rustic cabins. There's an excellent a spa and a zip-line, cross-country skiing, and a Concierge to help you pick from among the myriad activities at or near the ranch. There are three eateries...the signature Ranch House Restaurant; the woodsy Heck's Tavern; and a coffee shop. Thanksgiving Week is special at Devil's Thumb Ranch, with Gratitude Yoga sessions, Letters To Santa for the younger (and older!) set, Christmas Movie Night, a Wine and Chocolate Pairing, and a visit from Santa! And, of course, a true Western Thanksgiving Feast at Heck's. And Heck's itself is special. It's modeled after the legendary Timberline Lodge in Oregon, and it boasts 800-year-old posts and beams from Canada, floors of reclaimed spruce, and a fireplace built with stone from a nearby rock-slide.
#4 - LANDMARK RESORT, EGG HARBOR, WISCONSIN - In Door County, a peninsula sticking out into Lake Michigan, the way it was, is very much still the way it is. Here, you'll pass old farms with red barns and horses grazing contentedly on the deepest green you've ever seen. You'll pass through picture-book, timeless villages hugging the shores of Lake Michigan, where people enjoy strolling amongst the one-of-a-kind wooden shops and atmospheric restaurants. And you'll marvel at the spectacular sunsets over the water. Landmark Resort is an all-suite hotel, with 40 acres of winding, wooded paths overlooking Green Bay, luxurious accommodations, and views of the bay you'll never forget. There's an indoor pool that's open 24/7 (in case you'd like to work off a few of those Thanksgiving pounds!). There's great food - and great views of the sunset - at the indoor/outdoor Carrington Pub & Grill. There's a fire pit. A game room. A fitness center. And even steam rooms. This is a very-traditional part of America - and Americana - so a true Thanksgiving feast will be served, as well, with all the traditional specialties including Herb-Roasted Turkey, Honey-Baked Ham, Home-style Gravy, Traditional Stuffing, Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, Candied Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows (of course!), Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, and (another "of course") Pumpkin Pie. And you'll enjoy it all in a warm, sweet ambience, with Nature's bounty just outside.
#3 - THE HOTEL ROANOKE & CONFERENCE CENTER, ROANOKE, VIRGINIA - The classic Old South - of gentility and elegance and tradition and hospitality - lives on in this landmark hotel in the heart of one of the South's coolest cities. Here, even the columned hallways and gilded rotundas echo the charm and warmth of another age...particularly in the Holiday Season. This is a special city for this very American holiday...a reborn redbrick city with funky restaurants and food halls and restored old buildings and one of the liveliest cultural scenes in America, boasting museums ranging from the Roanoke Pinball Museum (very addictive!) to one of the greatest old rail yards - and railroad museums - in America. It's also a great walking town, with an avant-garde vibe in a setting where tradition is also lovingly preserved. The Hotel Roanoke exudes the joy and warmth of the Season, with a classic Old Tudor-style exterior complementing the Old South interior. Built in 1882, the hotel is listed on the National Register Of Historic Places. The hotel will be serving Thanksgiving Dinner in the elegant, Four-Diamond-rated Regency Room, with a traditional menu prepared by their award-winning culinary team. The Pine Room Pub offers classic pub-grub and there's also a coffee-shop/eatery called STEAM. And by all means, do not forget to take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway! The beautiful early-winter scenes will remind you of a Currier & Ives post card, and you'll probably want to stop and explore some of the picturesque villages and restaurants just off the highway.
#2 - LOS POBLANOS HISTORIC INN & ORGANIC FARM, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - Los Poblanos sits regally among 25 acres of fragrant lavender trees and formal gardens, and it has a history just as regal. The resort was created in 1932 by a famous architect named John Gaw Meem, considered the "father of Santa Fe style." Now it's one of the Southwest most unique resorts, with 50 authentically-furnished guest rooms, a working organic farm, and a highly-regarded restaurant that gets a lot of its food from that organic farm. Guest rooms boast parquet walnut floors, hand-carved ceilings, Spanish tile, old-fashioned fireplaces and 1930's Depression-Era artwork. Outside, there's a Spanish courtyard with a Moorish foundation and Southwestern kiva fireplaces, and guests are free to roam around the gardens and plants and produce, and, of course, that beautiful lavender. In just a few years, CAMPO Restaurant has become one of Albuquerque's most elite dining spots, featuring a field-to-fork menu of Southwestern specialties. Just how good is the dining at Los Poblanos? Well, Bon Appetit named it "a Top Ten hotel for food lovers in America," and Food & Wine said it was "voted best breakfast in New Mexico." And Country Living named it "the country's most charming place to spend Thanksgiving." Then there's the city of Albuquerque itself, resplendent at this time of year, and a wonderful tri-ethnic city with wonderful museums and cultural attractions and unique shops you'll find only in New Mexico.
#1 - HOTEL HALE, HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS - Tucked away amidst the bucolic beauty of the Ouachita Mountains of Central Arkansas is the kind of place you thought had disappeared years ago. Hot Springs offers great walking streets in a vibrant downtown, where every hilly corner and street brings new surprises and quaint old shops and funky eateries. And some very interesting attractions...among them the Gangster Museum of America and the half-mile Grand Promenade, with great views of the historic town and the veins of quartz in the local sandstone. The town originally gained fame for its - what else? - hot springs, many of which are in Hot Springs National Park, and bathhouses such as the magnificent (1910) Fordyce Bathhouse. There's a landmark hotel here, too. Hotel Hale was originally built as a bathhouse in 1892. But it was transformed into an historic luxury hotel in 1975, with a distinctive mid-Twentieth-Century moderne style. It's still a family-owned hotel, with plenty of red-brick walls and Mediterranean tile, along with mineral-water soaking tubs in every room and dining under a glass skylight at the stunning Garden of Eden Restaurant. Thanksgiving at the Garden is Eden is stunning, as well; this highly-rated, atmospheric restaurant is offering all the classic fare, with an interesting twist - a choose-your-own three course meal with choice of three different entrees (turkey, anyone?), starter soup or salad, and a delicious dessert (pumpkin cheesecake or chocolate truffle cake). If you're looking for a great American hotel at which to celebrate a great American holiday...Hotel Hale is it!
These are my own Top 5 places for a Thanksgiving Getaway for 2020.