Not all of us are blessed with large families, but we still want to celebrate Thanksgiving. How to celebrate Thanksgiving for one or two? If you don’t really want to cook a huge feast? Here are some of my favorite past Thanksgiving activities and some new ideas to try…
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving at Graves Mountain Lodge
Book now for overnight accommodations and Thanskgiving at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia. Or just drive in for lunch or dinner. The food is served family style, and is old-fashioned in flavor: ham, turkey, home-made rolls, sweet potatoes, fried oysters. Lunch or dinner is $40 for adults and $20 for kids. Be sure to purchase some of their apple butter and green pepper jelly for holiday gifting. During the day, there is the farm to explore. At night, there is usually a frosty hay ride into the mountains. Luray Caverns is nearby, for a Friday side-trip.
A Historical Thanksgiving in Williamsburg
Hotel rates are generally quite low ($35-$50/night is not uncommon) and you can find bargains for this weekend. Explore Historic Jamestown and be transported back to a village of Native Americans and a 17th century English settlement. You’ll really get a feeling of what the times were like around the time of the earliest Thanksgiving observations. Colonial Williamsburg is also worth a visit, especially on Friday for shopping, and you don’t have to pay the admission fee to enjoy much of it. We’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at the Fireside Chophouse in Williamsburg. The prix fixe dinner included a creamy soup, a plate of Thanksgiving favorites, and coffee and pie. I thought it was just fine. We poked around the Christmas Mouse afterwards (open Thanksgiving night) and looked at the hundreds of Christmas ornaments for sale there. A post-Thanksgiving visit to Christmastown Busch Gardens is a must (opens at 3 pm on Friday) and a bus from the historic area takes you right there, so you don’t even have to drive.
A Cultural Thanksgiving in Richmond
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open 365 days a year, including Thanksgiving. You can enjoy a rather sophisticated meal in their upscale restaurant, Amuse, for $52/person — 3 courses includes offers like an appetizer of roasted oysters, an entree of game hen, and molasses cake with pumpkin ice cream. Or head to the Patrick Henry Pub & Grill for deep-fried turkey on their buffet. I haven’t tried either of these restaurants, actually, but the menus sound delicious to me. Afterwards, check out VMFA’s exhibit on Hollywood costumes and fashion, “Made in Hollywood,” and explore their fabulous gift shop for unique and artsy holiday gifts. At night, catch a movie at the Byrd Theatre. Shopping at the Carytown boutiques would be a perfect way to spend Small Business Saturday.
If you don’t cook on Thanksgiving or get together with family, how do you celebrate? Share your tips and ideas!