“Despite record-high gas prices (more than $3.00 per gallon) in 2007, the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated that 38.7 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from home for the Thanksgiving holiday, a slight increase (1.5 percent) over the previous year.
Of those Americans traveling for Thanksgiving in 2007, approximately 80 percent (31.2 million) were expected to go by motor vehicle, 12.1 percent (4.7 million) by airplane and the rest (2.8 million) by train, bus or other mode of transportation.” — www.history.com
The Southeast will see about 9 million travelers by auto with 1.3 million by air, followed by the West, 7.1 million by auto and 1.2 million by air; the Midwest, 6.6 million by auto and 783,000 by air; the Great Lakes, 6.2 million by auto and 646,000 by air; and the Northeast, 2.4 million by auto and 769,000 by air. (http://www.chaskaherald.com/node/3091/print)
In this article I want to briefly go over what special events make the more traveled place so popular for the Thanksgiving holiday, the southeast. I will provide more information on the other travel regions for the Thanksgiving holiday that is suggested by travel writers.
With the Southeast seeing many people on travel, I looked events suggested by www.about.com writer Sheridan Alexander. An avid traveler herself. In her article, ‘Celebrating the Holidays in the Southeast’, her list of places to visit for the special season range from holiday light displays, Christmas Tree hunting, parades, and ski resorts. More is listed but I picked these to peek the interest of the reader and traveler.
In Sheridan’s suggestions for holiday light displays, she points out places like Christmas at Biltmore in Asheville, NC where a display of more than 40 Christmas trees are finely decorated with lights at Baltimore Estate; Dollywood’s Smokey Mountain Christmas Festival in Pigeon Forge, TN where visitors are able to view stage shows, Santa, and parade lights; Christmas in Colonial Williamsberg, VA (though this event happens on December 6, if your visit is extended Sheridan says that it is well worth the sight) with entertainment, lighting of candles throughout the district, not to forget fireworks, and Christmas homes and decorations tours. Sheridan provides many more events for the traveler to visit and observe with connecting links to give you more information.
Christmas Tree Farms, there are eight to pick from on Sheridan’s list. One for each southeastern state and one that is generally for the south. You can find a variety of trees like, White Pine, Canaan Fir, Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine, Virginia Pine, Norway Spruce, Fraser and Douglas Fir, Carolina Sapphire, Colorado, Blue Spruce, Eastern White Pine, Leyland Cypress, Eastern Red Cedar, and much, much more from what I’ve read. I myself never knew there were so many different types of Christmas trees. Never really thought about it to tell you the truth. At some of the places you can also take a trip on a hay ride or if you like, I’ve noticed that many of the places take mail order trees and wreaths. North Carolina has a choose and cut festival where not only do you choose and cut your trees but you can enjoy food and buy hand made crafts while participating in holiday events. Take virtual tours on some sites, join some tree associations and maybe hear of some folklore associated with Christmas trees. It seems there is so much to do at some choose and cut tree farms that I may just want to take a look at local tree farms in my area.
Second to last on the list are parades of the southeast. Raleigh, NC has their own special event on November 21, 2009. It is two an a half hours long following a 1.4 mile route. A Grand Illumination Parade takes place in Norfolk, VA. Thousands of spectators come to see the event each year. It starts at 7pm and has pre-parade events. Louisville, Kentucky has a Winter Wonderland Parade with live entertainment and holiday market. Nashville (TN) will be having their 57th Christmas Parade, as always held on December 1st. Atlanta, GA has a Children’s Parade while Charleston, SC not one has a parade but a holiday bands beginning at 2pm.
And Finally, ski resorts. there are many to name from Sheridan’s list. Personally, I’m partial to my ski resorts here in the Rocky Mountains. Though its been a while since I went and I promise you I can’t ski any better than I have before. To really have you know of the many resorts that you can try out in the southeast, I think it better to just tell you to go to Sheridan’s web article and click on the highlighted resort names to get more info. Just as you can with many of the places and events she suggests which is more than what I’ve briefed. Her site is http://gosoutheast.about.com/od/eventsfestivalsholidays/tp/holidays_guide.htm