Most years, the highlight of November is either Thanksgiving or Black Friday. And while those two events are certainly circled on our calendar again in 2013, they’re far from the month’s only important days. In fact, we’ve peeked at events all around the country to find five can’t-miss happenings — including one food festival to help you prepare for Turkey Day — that have us more excited than any 4 a.m. sale at the mall ever could.
The Masters and TOUR Championship may be Georgia’s most widely known PGA events, but they’re certainly not the only times PGA Tour pros come to the Peach State. This tournament, held at the Seaside Course at the renowned Sea Island Golf Club, presents another opportunity for golf fans to watch the likes of Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and 2012 Classic winner Tommy Gainey do their thing. Should the experts’ play over the weekend inspire you to pick up the clubs, you’re in luck — the resort’s Unlimited Golf package, which includes luxury accommodations at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, endless golf during your stay, a forecaddie and more, is currently available. Nov. 4-10
Not that we needed an excuse to visit North Carolina’s stunning Blue Ridge Mountains this time of year, but a foodie festival doesn’t hurt. The four days of workshops (bartending and pastry-making classes), spirit tastings (Just a Thimbleful bourbon dinner) and multi-course meals (Culinary Adventure Through Europe) should provide just enough preparation for Thanksgiving. Old Edwards Inn and Spa, which only sits minutes from most of the epicurean excitement, is a great place to lay your head after eating. Because it’s also hosting the farm harvest dinner and barn dance on November 8, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel is that much more of a delicious destination for the weekend. Nov. 7-10
For the past 20 years, Cirque du Soleil has amazed audiences in Las Vegas. Cirque Week is the official commemoration of two decades of dazzle from shows such as Treasure Island’s Mystère, the first to contort its way into Sin City back in 1993, and Mandalay Bay’s Michael Jackson ONE, the most recent addition. The week also is a way to thank fans for being so passionate about the brand by offering all sorts of specially priced show packages (one deal even allows you to see all eight performances on offer), MGM hotel discounts and, most appealing, backstage glimpses at the performers, staff and technological magic that will help Cirque enchant crowds for another 20 years and beyond. Nov. 9-16
Tennis’ next grand slam event isn’t until January’s Australian Open, so you can understand if fans of the sport are a bit antsy. The folks at British Virgin Islands’ stunning Rosewood Little Dix Bay must have experienced a similar itch because the package it’s put together is a tennis player’s dream. The $13,000 deal will not only get you on-court instruction from professional coaches Wayne Bryan and Murphy Jensen, but you’ll also be afforded all meals, tickets to the Necker Cup Tennis Charity Exhibition with Ana Ivanovic and world No. 1 player Rafael Nadal, admission to Sir Richard Branson’s End of the World charity event and other indulgences that will leave you forgetting about the Aussie Open and anything else. Nov. 12-16
Desi Santiago’s brand of art falls somewhere between vaudevillian artistry, street magic and the dark sciences. Audiences from Miami and Paris have been awed by his work. Because of a unique partnership with W New York this month, gawkers in Gotham will be entranced by Casino Diabolique, Santiago’s multi-sensory world set up temporarily inside the hotel. Guests who book the event’s package get a stylish room, a custom scent from Tomas Delucia, cocktail vouchers and VIP access to the mysterious casino. There, you’ll endure challenges (The Zodiac Wheel, Black Jack) that can lead to prizes, room upgrades or even a stay at the December-opening W Verbier in Switzerland. Nov. 15-17
While some treasure northern Italy’s Piedmont region for its Fiat automobiles or Juventus soccer, gastronomes love it for the prized white truffles. Del Posto owner Mario Batali, executive chef Mark Ladner and revered wine critic Antonio Galloni are so smitten with Piedmont’s culinary offerings that they will host Festa di Tartufi right before Thanksgiving. The dinner will highlight foods that the area is best known for —show-stoppers include truffled beef carne cruda and broiled veal chop with Barolo Fondo — while pairing them with wonderful wines (Barbaresco and Barolo) also from the region. The Four-Star restaurant’s meal costs $1,000 and includes service fees and corking charges (so go ahead and bring your own bottles). Nov. 22
Photos Courtesy of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts LLC, Isaac Brekken-Getty Images and Del Posto