As I mentioned before, I am a granola, hippy dippy, nature obsessed, fashion loving girl. I am a princess who actually likes to camp and not shower (I actually hate showering). So, it should come as no surprise that my family’s tradition for Thanksgiving has been to retreat to a holistic, vegan spa in the middle of the Oregon wilderness. My parents have gone to Breitenbush (yes, that’s it’s real name) for the past 15 years.
Starting 8 years ago when we started dating at graduate school, Ken and I began spending Thanksgiving with his family in New York. While it has been a treat, I of course always missed my family.
Last year, we decided to brave the travel nightmare (two flights, a three hour drive, snow, chains and chaos) to be with my family to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Ken loves traditional Thanksgiving more than anything. He loves watching football, gorging himself with food, and living the all-American Thanksgiving. So to say that Breitenbush was a new experience would be the understatement of the year. Vegan. No television (i.e., no football). Vegan. No computers. Vegan. No cell phone service. Vegan. No lying on the couch. Vegan. Completely off the grid (for four days, mind you). And did I mention naked hot springs?
One of the cabins for the guests. It is literally a room with two twin beds, a desk, and another room connected to a toilet. It is like camping out, except with a toilet.
Despite the no-turkey-and-no-football, everyone had a great experience and loved being together. It reemphasized the fact that no matter where we are, the important thing is that you are with friends and family, people you love and cherish. Home is not where the house is, but where your family is. It was a fun four day trip of hiking in the snow, playing in the main lodge near a fire, eating delicious and healthy vegan food, practicing yoga and meditation every morning, and laughing together in our individual little rustic huts. Breitenbush is beyond rustic — it is basic and simple. But when you are with the people you love the most, you really don’t need much else.
It is a hike from the cabin to the main shelter where meals are served and activities take place.
The three of us on one of our daily hikes last Thanksgiving. The nature is out of this world — rolling river, green trees, wildlife. A very different world from Manhattan.
My father with his beloved grandson (I can’t believe how much he has changed over the last year!)
This year, we will be on our own. Both sets of parents will be away: Ken’s parents will be in the Philippines, and my parents will be in Brietenbush with my brother and his family. We would love to be with either set of parents, but we decided to avoid extensive travel, so we will be getting some sun instead. I am sure that there will be no naked hot springs and no vegan meals, but as much fun as I know we will have this year, I am sure we will miss it.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!