Cooking a Thanksgiving feast in a vacation rental kitchen might make your skin crawl, but with a bit of planning and the help of a property management booking company like Vacasa, your destination holiday meal can be perfectly delicious and the spark for a new family tradition.
Before booking, read the fine print about the kitchen. Comb through reviews for mention of sharp knives, plentiful Calphalon, or an impressive pantry. Message the booking company with specific questions to confirm the pots and pans inventory and the number of chairs around the main dining table.
While you won’t get the exact address for the property until you book, you can click on the location and do a search for grocery stores in the neighborhood to check hours and start your food shopping list. Check out local farmers' markets, and bakeries (pre-order pies, if you're not a baker). Map out the nearest Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for your charcuterie board and specialty groceries. If you are a beer drinker, research nearby breweries and pick up a growler or mixed six-pack of local tins. And by all means, take a moment to do a web search for a neighborhood flower shop and send yourself a centerpiece, delivered upon our arrival at the rental. Pack a few small family mementos for the table - grandma's salt and pepper shakers or a special gravy boat.
The property we found in Seattle had a small but mighty restaurant-quality kitchen with moody views of Lake Washington and Mt. Rainer from the wrap-around deck and plentiful windows. The open floor plan was conducive to conversations while cooking and recruiting sous chefs from the living room where a full-on Lord of The Rings marathon was underway on the big screen TV.
Keeping the troops happy was easy with day trips into the city (a 15-minute drive) to shop, hit museums, poke around Pike Place Market where we could shop for fresh vegetables for Thanksgiving sides.
Seattle lies on a narrow strip of land between the salt waters of Puget Sound and the fresh waters of Lake Washington. It is a city built on hills and around water, in a mild marine climate that encourages prolific vegetation and abundant natural resources. The city is built on Indigenous land, the traditional territory of Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Suquamish and Duwamish Tribes. They lived in the region for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans or white settlers and developed extensive trade and social networks, along with a deep knowledge of the land and sea, and continue to live there today.
We felt their presence as we hiked Seward Park, 300 acres of beautiful forest land, home to eagles' nests, a 2.4 mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, a native plant garden, an art studio, miles of hiking trails, shoreline and beaches. We were humbled by the density and grandeur of the old-growth forest, ancient hardwoods dwarfing us as we passed through.
Shop Pike/Pine Streets corridor, starting at around 7th Ave, working your way down to the waterfront to Pike Place Market, Seattle Aquarium, Pier 57 and the Seattle Great Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel, and seafood joints. Shop Uniqlo, KÜHL, Arc'teryx and all your favorite athleisure brands.
A Thanksgiving in a new place can provide a different lens through which to view ourselves and our family. You'll find yourself thankful for space and room to breathe. And, for excellent knives, a garlic press and a legit hand mixer for the smoothest mashed potatoes ever.
Explore (or stay put and play Scrabble)
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Pacific Northwest Ballet
Explore the Nordic values and how those values can create a more open, sustainable world today at the National Nordic Museum
Art from America and worldwide, with cool exhibits for aficionados of all ages.
And by all means, take a moment to do a web search for a neighborhood flower shop and send yourself a centerpiece, delivered upon our arrival at the rental.