Even if you’re a shop-til-you-drop junkie, Black Friday can be a bit overwhelming. Each year, as soon as the last crumb of pumpkin pie is licked from the Thanksgiving plate, swarms of people rush to the nearest Walmart and jump in line, anxiously awaiting the Open sign to blink bright green and welcome them into a world of infamous Black Friday sales.
I get it, why would you not want to save 50 percent on the brand-spankin’-new iPhone. But then again, did Thanksgiving—you know, the holiday of appreciation—mean nothing? Many introverts and extroverts alike express equal disdain for the elbow-shoving chaos that ensues post-Thanksgiving. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get as far away from the madness as possible. Here are some quaint, peaceful towns to help you escape:
Looking for a trip reminiscent of the European Alps? Stowe, Virginia is the ticket. This quaint New England town is filled with charm—from its small-town farms to its classic churches, malt shops, and general stores. Beyond the downtown area is Mount Mansfield—Virginia’s highest peak—which towers over the town, offering incredible 360 views of classic Virginia backcountry and some phenomenal slopes for skiing and snowboarding. Riding up the gondola, sipping hot chocolate by a fire, exploring Swiss-style chalets? Yep, you’re definitely not going to bump into any superstore shoppers up there! This sweet town is sure to make you feel like you’re worlds away, nestled in a sleepy Austrian village.
Beaufort, South Carolina
This adorable town is the ideal intersection of beach and culture. Here, typical coastal land collides with historic buildings, moss-draped oak trees, horse-drawn carriage rides, and classic Southern charm. Just a couple hour’s drive to Charleston and one hour from Savannah, Georgia, Beaufort offers easy access into funkier, rowdier places…just after Black Friday is over.
You wouldn’t believe this quiet and old-fashioned town is just an hour away from the bustling city of San Diego. Situated in the heart of the Cuyamaca Mountains, Julien is the epitome of a California mountain town, with rustic buildings dating back to the 1870s, superb bed and breakfasts, fabulous hiking, and the most delicious apple pie. (But really, the pie is famous!) The vistas are breathtaking (especially those starry skies), the food is top notch, and the hospitality will make you feel like you never left home!
A small northeastern coastal town with fine dining, water sports, and an energetic downtown? Mystic, Connecticut is pretty magical, that’s for sure. Whether you prefer apple picking, fishing, art galleries, or brewery tours—Mystic has it all. If you enjoy shopping, but just not to the extreme of Black Friday, the downtown square offers unique boutiques. And if you’re into cocktails and seafood, you can’t go wrong with a happy hour drink and a basket of oysters from the Treehouse!
Taos, New Mexico
Some people seem to think New Mexico is just a dirty desert, but boy are they wrong! Taos is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., offering steep ski slopes, unmatched New Mexican cuisine, and awe inspiring views of the Rio Grande. Enjoy the winter sports, eat the Christmas chili (red and green), wander the mountain trails, and snuggle up by a pagosa pine fire.
The epitome of a small-mountain-town in Colorado, Telluride is perfect in every way. Great food? Check. Winter sports? Check. The state’s biggest free-falling waterfall (that will probably be frozen during your visit)? Check. Beer options? Check. Hiking trails (although they’ll be snowy)? Check. Bed and breakfasts? Check. Hospitality and friendliness? Check. Colorful architecture? Check. Let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong. With stunning views of snow-capped mountains in every direction, Telluride will truly take your breath away. It does get busy during cooler months, as it has a ski resort on location, so be sure to book your trip ahead of time. Telluride is a great spot to learn winter sports, while also offering more challenging black diamond lines. Grab a breakfast at The Butcher & The Baker, check out the slopes, get some hot cocoa from Telluride Truffle and an order of ribs from Smuggler’s Brew Pub, and hit the hay in a local historic inn.
Looking for an artsy fartsy scene with unbeatable access to the outdoors? Sedona is the perfect blend of arts and culture, and adventure. Some call this Arizona town a “geological wonderland,” as its beauty is obscurely beautiful. Multi-layered rock formations dot the landscape, coming face-to-face with rushing streams, waterfalls, towering cliffs, and jagged peaks. The vibrant blue skies, seemingly endless sunshine, locally made turquoise, and countless multi-sport trails are more than enough of a reason to visit! But if you’re still not convinced the Grand Canyon—A.K.A one of the most surreal natural landscapes found anywhere in the world—is just an hour or so away! Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
Chincoteague Island, Virginia
Free of commercial buildings, boardwalks, stuffy shopping malls, and back-to-back traffic jams, this is a town of pure utopia. It can sometimes be a bit touristy, but for good reason—and the locals keep things authentic, rather than gimmicky. Most commonly known for its wild ponies, Chincoteague is one of few places in the country to witness free-roaming horses wandering the unspoiled shoreline. Aside from a pony tour, be sure to indulge in a feast of fresh seafood and make a visit to one of the town’s local ice cream parlors. With campgrounds and fancy inns, there is something for every beachgoer in this Virginian wonderland!
Still unsure of whether or not you want to fight the crowds at Macy’s or battle it out for the latest video game? Didn’t think so. Make the most of your Thanksgiving holiday, and celebrate a trip worth being truly thankful for.