That most wonderful time of the year is rolling around. Thanksgiving, the favorite holiday of many, is a time to count your blessings. And one of Thanksgiving’s best blessings is when you can forget about those hours spent drudging in the kitchen and let someone else handle turkey day for you. Whether you hop in your car or board a plane, here are some suggestions that will make this year’s Thanksgiving the easiest and most enjoyable ever.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Nothing says holiday more than Rockefeller Center, New York City’s historic landmark in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Rockefeller Center is home to a remarkable collection of art deco motifs and sculptures signifying man’s development in spirit, science and industry. Prometheus is said to be the best-known sculpture in Rockefeller Center and the most photographed monumental sculpture in all of NYC.
|PROMETHEUS: MOST PHOTOGRAPHED MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE IN NYC|
Running a close second to Prometheus is Atlas, the famous figure from Greek mythology. This half-man, half-god giant known as a Titan, helped lead a war against the Olympic gods. As a punishment when the Titans were defeated, Atlas was condemned to carry the world on his shoulders.
|ATLAS: CONDEMNED TO CARRY THE WORLD ON HIS SHOULDERS.|
After sightseeing and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (featuring Diana Ross and John Legend), head to Rockefeller Center. Nothing could be a lovelier dinner scene than overlooking the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink while dining on a 3-course prix fixe menu that includes roasted turkey breast with a chestnut apple stuffing and all the trimmings at the Rock Center Cafe in Rockefeller Center.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: “Let’s take a powder, to Boston for Chowder, let’s get away from it all.” As a teenager, I swooned as Frank Sinatra seemed to be singing those words directly to me. As an adult, the thrill still remains every time I actually get away to Boston.
“Beantown”, as Boston is affectionately dubbed, is much more than Boston Baked Beans. It is ducks that will splash you into the waters of the Charles River and swans that will glide you atop the waters of the Lagoon in Boston’s Public Garden. It is a 3-mile Freedom Trail connecting Boston’s historic Colonial and Revolutionary sights from the Boston Common to the Bunker Hill Memorial. The Freedom Trail includes such historic sites as the USS Constitution (known as “Old Ironsides) and the Old North Church, the location from which the famous "One if by Land, Two if by Sea" signal is said to have been sent. The 6 soaring glass towers of the Freedom Trail’s Holocaust Memorial says it all on a day of Thanksgiving.
|A REMINDER TO COUNT OUR BLESSINGS ON THANKSGIVING…AND EVERY DAY|
Not a turkey lover. Then opt for the quintessential Boston experience...some pub grub at Cheers. When you step inside the convivial original Cheers on Beacon Hill (previously known as the Bull & Finch), you’ll immediately know why everyone knows your name.
|THE ORIGINAL CHEERS ON BEACON HILL|
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: Thanksgiving Day kicks off the holly, jolly holiday season in New Orleans. Nothing could be a better place in which to be thankful than the elegant Windsor Court Hotel, located two blocks west of the French Quarter. Continually earning prestigious ratings since two years after its opening, the hotel was most recently honored with a Forbes 4-star rating. Upon entering the hotel, a gold-leafed table traditionally adorned with 12 dozen roses…yes 144 exquisite roses…greets guests. Floors are covered with oriental rugs, and one is surrounded by the subtle splendor of museum quality antiques that dates back to the 17th century.
|144 ROSES ARE THE TRADITIONAL WELCOME TO THE HOTEL|
Although the Streetcar Named Desire route ceased operation in 1948, the same year "A Streetcar Named Desire" had its premiere on Broadway, you can take an even more romantic Turkey Day ride in a horse-drawn carriage boarded in front of the St. Louis Cathedral next to Jackson Square.
|BOARD A HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE BY THE ST. LOUIS CATHEDRAL|
Or, you can start things off right and create a new Turkey Day tradition in New Orleans. Thanksgiving is the opening day of the thoroughbred-racing season at the Fair Grounds Race Course. After you’ve played the ponies and collected your winnings, retreat to your home away from home for the Windsor Court Grill Room’s Thanksgiving dinner featuring such culinary specials as Sweet Potato Soup, Turkey Roulade, Bourbon Apple Bundt Cake and more. After dinner you can head to the Superdome where the Saints will go marching in to play the Atlanta Falcons. Then again, you can always cruise and booze on Bourbon Street.
CORONADO, CALIFORNIA: Otis #61 is not a perfume. Otis #61 is an elevator…a very famous elevator…a very famous130-year old elevator. One of the first fully functioning electric elevators manufactured in America, Otis #61 has graced the main lobby of the Hotel del Coronado(affectionately dubbed “The Del”) since the resort opened in 1888. In 1960, a Hollywood scenic designer, Al Goodman, was hired to refurbish The Del’s lobby. Goodman designed a wonderfully ornate, Victorian-style grill to adorn the lobby elevator. A primary concern, during The Del’s restoration was to safeguard Otis #61 and bring the famous Goodman grill back to its original glory. And they did! Since 1980, Andrew “Drew” Lounsbury is still operating Otis #61.
|OTIS #61 ENCASED IN AN ORNATE VICTORIAN-STYLE GRILL|
This National Historic Landmark, a rambling white clapboard legend with red-peaked roof, crimson turrets, and lazy verandas, is said to be “one-third sun, one-third sand, one-third fairy tale”.
|THE LEGENDARY HOTEL DEL CORONADO|
The Jewel in the crown of this iconic Victorian gem is its 1888 Crown Room, an architectural achievement spanning 160' x 60', without any pillars to interrupt the view. The magical Oregon sugar pine-paneled room, with its 33 foot high ceiling is the setting for a lavish Thanksgiving feast plus musical entertainment and views of the Pacific Ocean.
|THE DEL’S CROWN ROOM IS HOME TO A LAVISH THANKSGIVING FEAST|
DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Let me give you the lowdown on “Motown”, Detroit’s nickname that is aportmanteau (the linguistic blend of the words motor and town). Like a ball that’s been slammed to the ground, Detroit has been slammed to the ground. But like a ball, Detroit is bouncing back. Truly America’s “Comeback City”, Detroit has hit a home run with tourists. The Detroit Riverfront, dotted with incredible sculpture, placed number 9 in the “10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best American Riverfront”.
|"TRANSCENDING” IS ONE OF DETROIT’S RIVERFRONT SCULPTURES|
However, the city’s musical legacy…Motown magic…the great Detroit story, is an American phenomenon. The Motown Museum, in the Hitsville U.S.A. building, preserves the history and legacy of Motown. In Studio A, the actual place where the Motown Sound was created, you will walk in the footsteps of Motown Stars like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson Five; view the original 1877 Steinway grand piano; and see Michael Jackson’s crystal glove and black fedora with his name inscribed in gold on the hat’s sweatband.
|DISCOVER THE AMAZING HISTORY AND LEGACY OF MOTOWN|
After the Thanksgiving Day Parade, when it’s turkey time, head to the Whitney Mansion, an historic Detroit landmark. In 1894, The Whitney Mansion became home to the family of lumber baron, David Whitney Jr., the wealthiest man in Detroit. Today, this iconic turn-of-the-century, Romanesque Revival mansion is a world-class restaurant (now known as The Whitney) that retains all of its charm and refinement yet appeals to contemporary tastes.
|THE WHITNEY RESTAURANT IN AN 1894 MANSION|
Of the many menu choices, Thanksgiving dinner at the Whitney can begin with the chefs Amuse-Bouche , a Cranberry-Goat Cheese Bon Bon. This can be followed by Pumpkin Bisque, Herb Roasted Turkey With Savory Turkey Gravy, and Family Style sides. For dessert, try Grampa’s “Small Piece of Each” Trio (Apple Tartlet, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Mousse).
Happy turkey! Happy Turkey! Happy turkey!
Janet Steinberg, winner of 47-travel writing awards, resides in Cincinnati but calls the world her home.