Thanksgiving last year: the dog and the baby were both gnawing on a ham bone that they'd dragged behind the couch; your mother and her mother ripped insults across the centerpiece like Sampras and Agassi contesting a fifth-set tie-breaker; your sink looked like an abattoir after a terrorist attack; and five months later, you're still cleaning dishes and eating leftovers. Thanksgiving this year: the Mohonk Mountain House. Suggesting to family and loved ones that you all celebrate Thanksgiving in a restaurant would be a transparent act of cowardice, but suggesting that you all rendezvous at Mohonk will sound selfless and inspired, and give you a chance to actually enjoy the holiday rather than just survive it. Mohonk has been the last resort of choice for New Yorkers since 1869 -- a ramshackle, vaguely Victorian 261-room castle perched on the edge of a small lake amid 2,200 acres of pristine forest. It's beautiful, it's only 90 miles north of Columbus Circle, the basic room rate includes three squares a day, and if you happen to be staying there on the fourth Thursday in November, that entails a Thanksgiving feast in the main dining hall that is tasty, bountiful, and, best of all, not in your house. After dinner, instead of jockeying for a cheek-hold on the sofa while arguing about whether to watch Notre Dame get stomped in the Kohlers Porcelain Bowl Bowl, you and yours can hike, ride horses, play tennis, cross-country-ski (weather permitting), lawn-bowl (weather permitting), or just lock the door and hide from your mothers.
DETAILS The Mohonk Mountain House (800-772-6646; www.mohonk.com; four-night minimum for Thanksgiving weekend; double rooms start at $305, which includes all meals).