It is not written anywhere that Thanksgiving means you have to cook all day, eat yourself silly and then lay around and watch TV until bedtime. There are lots of things to do on a nice (or cold and rainy) Thursday in late November. Very few stores close for Thanksgiving these days and many parks and historic sites are open for business. If you could not get together with your family this year or you are searching for some ways to fill the time over break, consider the following suggestions:
Take a hike! The hills around the area are full of hiking trails that are free of charge and vary in difficulty. Paths range from the pancake-flat and mostly paved Pandapas Pond trail west of Blacksburg to the grandaddy of hiking experiences, the Appalachian Trail. The AT is accessible from several points nearby and day hikes are easily arranged by creative parking at various trailheads. Pulaski County can claim a large piece of the lovely New River Trail as its own, with access at Xaloy off Rt. 99 in Pulaski. The Gatewood Park and Reservoir is still open through the end of the month and offers a nice place to take a stroll, have a picnic or rent a paddle boat.
If you are feeling adventurous, load up the ATV and head to West Virginia. The Hatfield-McCoy Trails just west of Beckley are booming right now and feature trails for little people, new riders and experienced ATVers. If you feel like taking a drive early Thursday morning, head down to Roanoke for the StellarOne Drumstick Dash 5K Run. Held each Thanksgiving, the $10-$30 admission fees benefit the Roanoke Rescue Mission and pets and children are welcome. The run begins at 9am and you can call (540) 777-7687 for more information.
Everyone who is able should take some time during the holidays to help others. Pulaski Daily Bread, located in the basement of Pulaski First Presbyterian Church at 408 N. Jefferson Ave.will be serving Thanksgiving on Wednesday, November 25th. Call 980-2131 to volunteer. The Roanoke Rescue Mission is always looking for volunteers and will be serving Thanksgiving Dinner from 1pm to 2pm. If you have a few extra hours over the break, consider calling a local nursing home and see what they need. Many would welcome a visitor to talk to the residents, play a game of cards or to help put up Christmas decorations.
If all else fails, dig out the Christmas lights and the ladder and get decorating. Then rent a classic holiday movie and dream of the long winter break.