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Turkey travels: Many willing to drive 4.6 hours for dinner


How far will you go for the Thanksgiving feast?

From the aromatic allure of roast beef at Christmas, the sizzle of BBQs on Labor Day, to the tender succulence of Easter lamb, American home cooking is a variation of traditions that kindles anticipation throughout the year. Yet, it’s the Thanksgiving holiday that captivates the hearts of many as the quintessential culinary celebration. A time when turkey, stuffing, and pies transform dining tables into centers of gratitude and togetherness.

In a bid to capture the essence of this festive spirit, Gunther Mazda commissioned a nationwide survey via QuestionPro of 3,000 people to gauge the lengths Americans are willing to go to savor their mother’s home cooked Thanksgiving feast. The survey revealed some rather interesting results!

The findings paint a vivid picture of American dedication to family and feasting: the average American is willing to embark on a 4.6-hour journey for a taste of home. Wyomingites, with their legendary spirit, top the charts, willing to drive an astonishing 14 hours to reunite with family and feast. Californians, on the other hand, are prepared to travel 4.1 hours for home cooking this Thanksgiving. Contrastingly, Rhode Islanders show a preference for proximity, with a maximum travel threshold of one hour. Interestingly, when respondents were asked how far they would be prepared to travel for their in-laws’ Thanksgiving cooking, the average respondent said 2 hours was the maximum travel time. 

When survey respondents were probed about which Thanksgiving dish motivates them to pack up and hit the long road, a hearty 62% voted for the turkey, that glistening centerpiece that commands the holiday spread. Not far behind, with a 24% slice of the pie, were the pumpkin pie enthusiasts, ready to cross state lines for that perfect blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and creamy pumpkin goodness. The humble stuffing, often a mosaic of family recipes and secret ingredients, enticed 10% of the folks to gear up for a gastronomic pilgrimage. And in a surprising twist, a dedicated 4% professed their willingness to travel for the sweet, marshmallow-topped indulgence of sweet potato casserole, a dish that brings a touch of dessert to the dinner plate.

Moving away from the culinary canvas, the poll also revealed that Americans’ favorite post-dinner pastimes include settling into the couch for some football, lining the streets for parades, sinking into a well-earned nap, or mapping out the best routes for the Black Friday sales — each a beloved act in the great Thanksgiving day pageant.

Gunther Mazda has provided some tips on how to stay safe on the roads over Thanksgiving, particularly on long trips:

•  Embark with preparation and patience: Prepare for heavy traffic on the highways as families travel from different places. Plan ahead for potential delays and detours. The road often presents unforeseen challenges, so patience is key to a smooth journey.

•  Chart your course by the skies: Let the weather be your guide. Consult the skies to choose a day when the sun presides over clear roads, reducing the drama of travel and ensuring an encore of safety.

•  Stay connected with care: The call of kinship is strong, but let it not be a siren song while driving. If the urge to update loved ones becomes irresistible, choose the interlude of a rest stop to indulge in digital catch-ups.

•  Curtain call for car care: Like any star performer, your vehicle deserves a rehearsal before the big day. A thorough check ensures that you’ll be remembered for your timely arrival, not a roadside encore.

•  Encore for flexibility: Sometimes, the best experiences are unplanned. Be flexible with your travel itinerary to avoid rush hour traffic and discover quieter, alternative routes.