Talkin' Turkey


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Eat Out

And now for something completely different

Tired of the typical noisy, chaotic, football-filled Thanksgiving? Looking for a quieter, more introspective holiday? The Holy Cross Monastery, in West Park, Ulster County, is just what the spiritual doctor ordered.

The monastery sits on 20 Hudson River-side acres on which to contemplate nature’s bounty, and some of said bounty can be consumed at CIA-trained Chef Edward Wolf’s Thanksgiving feast following the day’s religious services. Chef Wolf uses local, seasonal produce to complement his Thanksgiving turkey and ham.

About 30 to 40 guests typically visit the monastery over the holiday, says Lori Callaway, guesthouse manager. Some just spend the day, others book a room for a few nights. But these are monastery rooms, remember; expect simple, small, and sharing of bathrooms.

And if you’re looking to catch the Cowboys or Lions game, forget it. There are no televisions here. Offerings for an overnight stay are $70. For information, call 845-384-6660, ext. 3002.

Make it a Mohonk Weekend

Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz is offering families a Thanksgiving weekend package to gather and enjoy time together — without the annoyances of cooking and cleaning.

A grand buffet meal on Thanksgiving Day includes all the traditional comfort foods and other specials. And to work out of your tryptophan coma, you can enjoy an evening of square dancing.

On Friday, continue the healthy fun with ice skating in the open-air pavilion, guided nature walks and mountain bike tours, yoga and fitness classes, or swimming in the indoor heated pool.

Saturday kicks off the Christmas season with the lighting of 1,440 sparkling lights on a 60-foot Austrian Pine, followed by Christmas carols at 5 p.m. After dinner, guests can enjoy a ballroom dance. And you can lose the kids if you want some grown-up time — a Kid’s Club will be held each night of the weekend.

Of course, if all that activity is just too exhausting, you can retreat to the spa, which is offering a special Seasonal Bounty treatment based on pumpkin the entire month of November.

For prices and availability, call 866-666-3146 or visit

emerson resort and spa

Cooking Class

Whether this is your first time hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or your 25th, you always fear overcooking the turkey, burning the gravy, and ruining the sweet potato pie. Allay those fears by signing up for Thanksgiving cooking class at the Emerson Resort and Spa in Mt. Tremper.

Chef Kurt Robair will help you craft the perfect bird and all the trimmings in the spa’s Phoenix Restaurant kitchen. The classes will be held Nov. 4 and Nov. 11, from 1-4 p.m. Cost: $125 per person — and you get to eat your creations afterward.

Of course, if even lessons won’t get you into the kitchen, you can attend the Emerson’s annual Thanksgiving buffet in the Catamount Restaurant. Let Chef Robair serve you his butternut squash soup, a selection of salads, herb-roasted turkey with natural gravy, roasted prime rib, pesto-crusted salmon, penne pasta with veggies, and the usual sides — stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, carrots, and cranberry sauce. Finish your feast with an assortment of seasonal pies and other desserts.

The buffet is $30 per adult, $14.95 for children six-12, and free for children five and under. Call 845-688-2828 for reservations to either the cooking classes or the buffet.

Turkey, or not turkey. That is the question

Your father-in-law demands a big, juicy bird. Your spouse needs to follow a gluten-free diet. Your teenage daughter is suddenly a vegan (this week). How can you possibly satisfy all these differing dietary demands?

Make reservations at Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville. Chef-owner Marcus Guiliano has been offering both traditional and alternative Thanksgiving dinner options for the past eight years.

So Pops can order up a turkey dinner (free-range and hormone-free, but turkey nonetheless) with all the fixin’s: gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, corn, organic Bread Alone stuffing. Your spouse can avoid the gluten dishes. And your daughter can celebrate with a seitan entrée topped with vegetable gravy, roasted butternut squash, green beans, and mashed potatoes made with coconut milk.

“Most of our sides are offered both traditionally and as a vegan option,” says Guiliano. “We have as many vegan-friendly dishes as possible. Everyone who comes in that day is just so happy they don’t have to cook.”

The turkey dinner with all the sides is $30. Other items can be ordered a la carte. About 25 percent of his Turkey Day diners go vegetarian or vegan, Guiliano says. He also serves up all his other dishes as well, in case you’re simply not in the holiday spirit. “We always have two or three tables that want nothing to do with Thanksgiving,” he says.

Aroma Thyme Bistro. 165 Canal St., Ellenville. 845-647-3000

Turkey, or not turkey? Not turkey. No question.

If even being in the same room as a roasted turkey is objectionable to you, make a reservation at the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society’s annual all-vegan Thanksgiving dinner. Held on Thanksgiving day at the Town Hall in Milan, Dutchess County, the pot-luck dinner draws about 100 like-minded celebrants who bring their own meat-, milk-, and egg-free gravy, potatoes, pies, and the like to complement the entrées of seitan or Tofurkey (a meatless turkey substitute). The society supplies stuffing and beverages. There is also a dessert contest each year, at which you can enter your vegan treat, along with the recipe or ingredient list, for judgment. For more information and to make reservations, call 845-876-2626 or go to

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