November 22, 2017

Giving Thanks at The Preserve

Talk of the Thanksgiving holiday conjures up images of sweater-clad family members tossing a football in the backyard before retreating indoors to thaw their fingertips over mulled wine and heaps of comfort food. But in coastal North Carolina, where November can just as easily deliver warm breezes as frigid winds, these winter festivities don’t always resemble our holiday clichés.


Gather round the (picnic) table

That’s right—why not feast in the fresh air? In a North Carolina town like Sneads Ferry, temperatures could easily reach the mid-sixties even in November—definitely acceptable picnic weather, especially when you’re surrounded by friends, family, and warm food! But if you’ve recently moved to the area (or you’re thinking about it), the thought of hosting a backyard Thanksgiving meal might seem like an unimaginable break in tradition. So, we’ve gathered a few pointers to help you envision it, and maybe even put your own plans into motion:


  1. No cold turkey

Set up all the hot food indoors and let people load up their plates before coming outside. That way, when your guests go for seconds they’re not treated to fork-fulls of lukewarm corn pudding and green beans. Fill the table with cranberry sauce, yeast rolls, and anything else that won’t lose its appeal as it cools.

  1. Set up your outdoor table—but have a backup plan

There’s nothing like planning an outdoor event to conjure up some foul weather! You’ll want to get your outdoor table ready well before your guests arrive, but have your second-best place settings ready to go in your dining room.

  1. Get creative

This is the fun part—your chance to establish a unique environment for your meal. Choose place rustic settings and decorate the table with natural centerpieces that reflect your outdoor surroundings. If you’re feeling crafty, try creating your own!

  1. Lights, candles, action!

Create ambiance (and better visibility) with deliberate lighting choices. Portable fire pits are great for keeping guests comfortable as the air cools in the evening, and they create a natural spot to gather and chat as the food cooks. Grouping tower candles of different heights helps mimic the warm glow of a fireplace, and you can light the way back to the house with strings of white Christmas bulbs without disturbing the cozy vibe. Test all the lights and outdoor outlets before guests arrive—no one wants to stumble through the dark when they’re toting a tray of that precious pecan pie!

  1. Keep old traditions—but throw in a few new ones

All your Thanksgiving Day rituals—watching the Macy’s Day Parade, tossing a football, gathering round the table to say grace, and feasting on turkey and stuffing—can still be enjoyed in the backyard. But let your new surroundings inspire novel traditions. Send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find the perfect pinecone to create a handmade centerpiece. End the meal by bringing out a platter of steaming hot chocolate. Send guests home with a goodie basket filled with leftovers and one of the handmade centerpieces: a keepsake from a lovely evening.


So now that we’ve set the scene for you, can you imagine making this a reality? Our coastal community has plenty of backyards ready to host your feast on Thanksgiving—or any time of year. Tour our community and see for yourself!