Give Thanks for No Cooking

At four Southern retreats, impressive Thanksgiving spreads are just a reservation away.

web-BandT_20091126_8104Blackberry Farm
The best Thanksgiving meals marry culinary prowess with down-home comfort—and that just happens to be the specialty at this Walland, Tennessee, resort. Begin your binge with a lunchtime turkey fry on the lawn overlooking the Smokies (pictured), then enjoy a family-style feast at Dogwood restaurant or opt for the tasting menu at the James Beard Award–winning Barn. Burn it all off with a game of flag football on Friday.

Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Do as the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and other great families of the Gilded Age did and spend your holiday overlooking unspoiled marshland at this historic hotel in Jekyll Island, Georgia. Choose a prix fixe Thanksgiving brunch, or opt for a hearty dinner (first course: French onion soup with gruyere toast). Stay for the tree lighting on Saturday, which kicks off the island’s Victorian-inspired Christmas celebration.

Chetola Resort

This retreat in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is an ideal option for families looking to kick off the season in magical fashion. On Thanksgiving, gorge yourself at the big, classic buffet (think crab legs, prime rib, and of course, turkey) at Timberlake’s Restaurant, then usher in the holidays with Friday’s carriage rides, cookie decorating, and the Festival of Lights.

Royal Sonesta

Every Thanksgiving should begin with bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. The brunch at this regal hotel in New Orleans’s French Quarter also features live jazz plus an omelet station, seafood bar, sushi bar, carving station, and kids station with peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches and mini cheeseburgers.