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Grandma rarely lives over the river and through the woods any more. It’s more like rush to the airport, sit on the highway, or squeeze into the overstuffed train, and off to grandma’s we go.
If not that, parents are hosting the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors and then figuring out how everyone fits into the dining room.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Fall is a gorgeous time of year to go to Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, so why not enjoy a destination Thanksgiving away from home with your family? Here are some wonderful options for taking a family vacation and celebrating Thanksgiving all together.
Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket
A favorite part of Thanksgiving is gathering together to play games or watch the big game. On the ferry ride over to the island, there is plenty of space to gather around a table to catch up or play a round of cards.
Photo: White Elephant Residences during early autumn
Where to stay
The White Elephant Residences are exquisite beach “houses” where you can host the entire family. Some family members can stay in the main resort, or the lofts at the boat basin, and if you have a two- or three-room residence, there is plenty of space to gather in the living room to watch a movie or some football. The kitchen is spacious and seats at least 6-8, so even if you go out for Thanksgiving, family members can gather around the table for breakfast or lunch.
Photo: Comfy inside White Elephant Residences
The White Elephant’s newest property, the Loft at 32 Main, is an ideal choice for those who love to escape into the kitchen and cook up the Thanksgiving feast themselves. The loft has three bedrooms: a full kitchen with an island (perfect for a little Thanksgiving cocktail hour!), a gorgeous Sub-Zero fridge, separate wine fridge, and the added perk of being able to use the amenities of the White Elephant Village. Those traveling with the family dog can bring him or her along, as some of The Cottages & Lofts at the boat basin are also pet-friendly.
Photo: A look around the kitchen at White Elephant Residences
On Martha’s Vineyard, Hob Knob has a choice of rooms, suites and village homes. The Tilton House, one of the two village homes, comes complete with five rooms and a cook’s kitchen, as well as a billiards room to play pool or watch the football game. The Thaxter House has four bedrooms and a cook’s kitchen, along with its own fireplace and entertainment system.
Where to dine out
The White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill will be serving a delectable Thanksgiving brunch buffet in their dining room overlooking the harbor. The feast will have clam chowder and butternut squash soup to start, with a choice of roast turkey breast, roasted beef sirloin, Berkshire pork porchetta or cedar plank salmon after that. Fresh seafood, lobster mac ‘n cheese, quiche and fruit salad will be in the mix, too.
Oran Mor Bistro will be serving their Nantucket Thanksgiving prix fixe menu ($72), which includes a choice of roasted turkey breast and braised leg, sautéed Nantucket Bay scallops with truffled Long Island cheese and pumpkin risotto, or a braised Pineland Farms beef short rib.
The Thanksgiving buffet at Water Street at the Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard will have all of the season’s best Island harvests from both the land and the sea. There will be oysters on the half shell, a local sugar pumpkin and root vegetable bisque, organic turkey with island cranberry sauce, homemade pies and so much more. For a full menu, feast your eyes on this.
Where to Stay
The Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth has a beautiful three-bedroom cottage that is perfect for hanging out with the family. In addition, the Sea Crest has plenty of smaller rooms that overlook the ocean and beach, so if you bring the whole extended family, there will be plenty of space for everyone.
Photo: Foyer at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel
On site, Red’s Restaurant serves a delicious breakfast buffet, with a continental or full buffet option complementing the ocean view. An indoor pool, game room and multiple sitting areas throughout the resort make it a great place to hang out before or after dinner, too.
Photo: Morning pastries at the Seacrest Hotel
If you prefer to have a full kitchen so you can prepare the feast just like at home, then the Cape Codder residences are ideal. The residences are two- and three-bedroom luxury condos with a fireplace, living room, dining room and full kitchen; there’s plenty of fun for young ones, too, with a wave pool and children’s activities. If you decide not to cook, there is a Thanksgiving buffet held in the JFK Ballroom ($28.99 for adults, $13.99 children 10 and under, $8.99 children 4 and under).
Photo: Family time at the Cape Codder
To the east, The Chatham Bars Inn is another great choice for a relaxing Thanksgiving on the Cape, featuring suites and master suites to choose from. And, the whipped cream on the pie (as opposed to the icing on the cake) is that both the Cape Codder and the Chatham Bars Inn have spas on site.
Where to dine out
At the Cape Codder, Hearth ‘n Kettle understands that turkey isn’t for everyone. In addition to the roast turkey dinner ($24.99), they offer prime rib ($29.99), broiled scrod ($27.99) or lobster pie ($33.99) to go along with all the rest of the Thanksgiving feast.
Photo: Thanksgiving at the Cape Codder Resort
Stars at the Chatham Bars Inn will be serving a grand buffet, showcasing seasonal dishes and featuring some of the harvest from the inn’s farm in Brewster. In addition, the tavern-style Sacred Cod will have a prix fixe Thanksgiving.
The Lower Cape is very quiet and sleepy come fall, but just as beautiful as it is in the busy months, if not more so. The Aerie House in Provincetown is open year-round and has a two-bedroom suite, as well as beautiful guest rooms.
In addition, the Aerie House has Beach Club apartments, which do have full kitchens if you feel like cooking for the family. As for lodging, many are closed this time of year, but a rental on Homeaway.com, such as this four-bedroom home that sleeps up to eight, is one of many “home away from home” options for Wellfleet, Truro or Provincetown. With many homes closed for the season, it’s a good idea to contact owners to make arrangements.
Thanksgiving To Go
In Centerville, Casual Gourmet will take care of your feast for you. From a full Thanksgiving for up to 25 people to an extra quart of your favorite gravy, you can pick up as little or as much as you need to round out your Thanksgiving meal. Orders must be placed by Monday, November 24th and will be available to pick up on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. Tempt yourself with the menu here.
PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet will also have a Thanksgiving dinner to go, but theirs is an entire takeout feast. PB Boulangerie’s full Thanksgiving dinner includes a whole roast turkey, along with stuffing, potatoes, veggies and, of course, pies. Dinners are $175 and orders must be placed by Friday, November 21st.
The Sacred Cod at The Chatham Bars Inn will also be providing “turkeys to go.” Chef Caleb Lara will cook up a 14-pound turkey, adding sweet and mashed potatoes, as well as stuffing, green beans, rolls, pumpkin pie and house-made clam chowder. Pick up is from 12:00 to 4:30 p.m. on the holiday, and orders, which run $225, must be in by Friday, November 21.
Thanksgiving On the Go
If you want your Thanksgiving feast on the go, make for the Thanksgiving Dinner Train. This ride will take you and your family along the Cape Cod Canal as you dig into a five-course Turkey Day dinner. It’s definitely a unique way to experience the holiday, not to mention a fun one for the kids. Tickets are $84 for adults, $30 for children aged 2-12 and proper dinner attire is required.
Leah Klein lives with her children in Cambridge, MA, and loves to explore all that New England has to offer, from day trips to weekend escapes. You can virtually follow her journeys on her blog, Leah’s Life: Pearls And Oysters.