Bringing Thanksgiving Travel Home

So normally we travel somewhere fun for Thanksgiving, as being Canadian we don’t have a lot of family obligations during this time of the year.  Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October – hey, it’s a lot colder up there and you have to bring the harvest in earlier.  We have been lucky in that my wife usually has a conference that leads into Thanksgiving so that we have spent the past few holidays enjoying exploring cities like Denver, San Diego (twice) and Atlanta.  Knowing that I was going to be tortured by pictures from those great trips in the various apps that help manage my photos, I decided to take a proactive approach and try and bring some of the joys of travel to our staycation Thanksgiving this year.  I picked out some “treats” from various places we had visited recently and arranged to have things delivered just before the holiday began.

Appalachia Cookie Company

Located in Boone, NC, I cannot even begin to tell you how good these cookies are.  We discovered them on our hiking trip this summer up in the mountains and it was an easy decision to get a dozen cookies shipped for the holiday.  They are definitely best experienced fresh, as you order the cookies for pick-up and they are presented to you warm from the oven when you arrive to take ownership.  They were still amazing after being shipped, and a quick 15 seconds in the microwave quickly returned them to a warm and gooey state.  I went with the Chocolate Chip, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Chip Brownie and Chocolate Peanut Butter Porters.  It was tough settling on just four types to make up the dozen.  Thankfully, they also have a great program called the 30 Thiry Project, which I will be taking advantage of.  It’s basically a subscription service, where for $30 a month you receive a dozen cookies of your choice and they also donate 30 pounds of food to local food banks.  A true win-win for everyone involved.  You can visit their website here, but be warned they are addictive.

French Broad Chocolates

Everytime we go to Asheville, we have to stop at French Broad Chocolates so that my wife can get a cup of the dark chocolate concoction they call sipping chocolate.  And of course, I pick up a few treats for myself as well.  I ordered a great selection of their dark chocolate bars, some of the sipping chocolate and some chocolate covered almonds and hazelnuts.  It is some of the best chocolate you will find, and you get the added bonus of buying from one of the most sustainable and community minded chocolatiers that I have ever seen.  You can visit their site here, and yes, I already have my eyes on those pans of brownies.

Luke’s Lobster

I freely admit to having a bit of an addiction to a great lobster roll.  One of the best I have ever had was actually in San Diego last year at this time of year at Wicked Maine Lobster in Liberty Public Market.  I firmly believe that the “hot” lobster roll is the only way to go, and mayo should never come within ten feet of lobster meat.  I actually stumbled across Luke’s Lobster listening to the “How I Built This” podcast, and was impressed with their business model and sustainable practices.  I was not disappointed in their product as the lobster roll kit came with everything needed for a great Thanksgiving Eve meal, and their secret spice blend made it the most savory lobster roll I have ever had.  Yet one more thing that I cannot recommend enough.  You can visit their site here.

Spice & Tea Exchange

Whenever we travel we always seem to find the local variation on the spice shop, as I love to cook and am always looking for great new flavors to try – especially anything involving garlic or heat.  One of my favorite places is the Spice & Tea Exchange which has shops all over the place, and when you order online you are able to decide on which shop will fulfill your order so that you can also support local businesses.  I grabbed a mixture of some old favorites (Carolina BBQ Mix) and some new things to try (Wasabi spice mix).  While only a little was used for Thanksgiving, it did bring back some good travel memories.  You can visit their site here.

Now, in order to make up for all of these “treats” we did head out just before lunch for a great Thanksgiving hike at Crowder Mountain State Park.  While we normally tackle the Summit Trail, we opted for the longer Crowder Mountain Trail and it was a beautiful 6 mile hike that wound its way through some great forested areas, giving late glimpses of greens, yellows and red amongst the trees before coming to a challenging ascent up to the summit.  The views were amazing as the sun had burned off most of the mist and clouds, and we got to witness some large hawks enjoying themselves in the warm weather.  We definitely earned our Thanksgiving dinner and various treats, as we spent just shy of three hours on the trail.

While not the Thanksgiving tradition we normally enjoy, it has been a great week and I hope you have and are enjoying the holiday as well.

The Free Range Viking

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