If you've grown to dread Thanksgiving, either because of hellish travel conditions, intolerable relatives, or an irrational fear of flightless birds, know this: There is another way. While there is surely warmth to be felt by the fireplace, your family all wrapped in thick wool sweaters swapping humiliating stories, there is no law the demands we spend our holiday such. Throw some junk in the trunk and take off to explore a world left deserted and open by the traditionalists.
Farm-to-Fireplace: Inverness, California
Marin County is a foodie paradise, with dozens of farmers’ markets. But few Thanksgiving meals are
as good as the one at the Sir and Star restaurant. Each year, the sprawling farmhouse turned gourmet eatery, just outside Point Reyes National Seashore, serves up a locally raised turkey and sun-dried plum-chutney dinner at the restaurant. Fill up and then kick back in one of Manka Inverness Lodge’s two-bedroom cabins—each with a deck, clawfoot tub, and roaring fireplace. Doubles from $565 for two nights.
Waterfront Meal: Big Bend, Texas
Meals taste best when you’ve earned them—by, say, rowing down the Class II–III Rio Grande as it churns through Big Bend National Park. Outfitter Dvorak Expeditions guides four-day floats through Santa Elena Canyon’s 1,500-foot limestone cliffs—and serves up a riverside smoked turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Guided from $672 per person.
Southern Comfort: Blue Ridge, Georgia
People flock to Asheville, North Carolina, because the Blue Ridge Mountains have the Southeast’s best climbing, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. Avoid the crowds by aiming 135 miles south for one of Mountaintop Cabin’s 65 wood-beam rentals. The Aska Adven-ture cabin is near 17 miles of trails and has floor-to-ceiling views of the endless valleys. Plus, the downtown farmers’ market has superb cider and plenty of produce for your holiday meal. Reserve a heritage bourbon red turkey from Leaning Duck Farm. Cabins from $130.