Seeking honeymoon advice — great views a must, location less critical!
November 5, 2019 6:50 AM   Subscribe

Where have you stayed that's peaceful, breathtaking, and relatively affordable in the US/southern Canada?

My partner and I have gotten overwhelmed with the possibilities for honeymoon destinations, so I'm turning to the hive mind for guidance!

- Gorgeous views of natural wonders, preferably from our actual lodging and not just nearby; we recently stayed at a friend's place on the York Cliffs in Maine and loved being able to just wake up and gaze at waves crashing on rocky cliffs; that's the feeling we're looking for
- $3k budget for transportation and lodging
- Up to 8 hours of total travel time (we're in the Maryland suburbs of DC, and would be open to driving to a destination to save on car rental)
- 1 week in late May 2020

Other preferences:
- We love delicious food — good, interesting bites are important; we eat everything
- A peaceful walk and picnic is more our speed than a strenuous hike
- We're both sober, so not looking for somewhere boozy (i.e., no interest in vineyards)
- We're open to AirBnB, but lean towards staying in a hotel for various reasons (questionable ethics, risk of reservations falling through, etc.)

So far, we've considered:
- Niagara Falls (a previous AskMe answer sent me to Fallsview Marriot on the Canadian side, which looks like it hard checks our first 2 requirements of fantastic views and a reasonable cost for lodging — but looks like there may not be much... coziness or alcohol-free activities for a full week)
- California coast, around Monterey (likely outside of our budget)
- Cape Cod (although we wonder if the beach town vibe and views are essentially what we'd get at a closer spot like Ocean City, MD)
- Santa Fe (neither of us have been to the Southwest, but not sure if there's a good spot to take in majestic views; would we be spending a lot of time in a rental car doing day trips to sightsee?)
posted by pants to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When turtlegirl and I were married we were living in Silver Spring, MD and we spent our first* honeymoon in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and it was all the things you described.

* we eventually saved up and went to England 5 years later and called that our real honeymoon.
posted by terrapin at 6:54 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cape Cod is much nicer than Ocean City, and, unlike OC, is conveniently close to cities and interesting historical sites.

I second Harper's Ferry, it's interesting on a number of levels, and right in the middle of the Appalachians.
posted by ubiquity at 6:55 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I found the Stephanie Inn through Metafilter and it was exactly our speed. We loved the beautiful beach views and the food was so good. It was honestly the most relaxing vacation. Bonus: the drive there from the airport was beautiful as well.
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 7:17 AM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]

Williamstown and North Adams in western Massachusetts is perfectly lovely. They have great art museums in the Clark or MASS MoCA, and not too far away, the Edith Wharton house or Norman Rockwell Museum (surprisingly more complex than you might expect). Going north to Bennington, there's the Robert Frost Museum. There's so much in just that little area.

The Berkshires are as lovely as everyone says they are, with every bend in the road opening up a new vista. Lots of trails at every skill level (there are easy loops going from the Clark, for example, and nearby state parks).

With such a concentration of art, there are great new restaurants opening up all the time. Lodging too, has gotten quite chic, but there are lots of B&Bs and quaint motels if that's more your style.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:20 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Vermont weather could be iffy in May but honestly there are few places more beautiful than Vermont. Either in Burlington, with views of the lake, or in more rural parts with views of the countryside. My wife and I recently stayed in Bethel and all around us, every turn, there was more and more beauty.

I also got to stay in the Catskills last summer (East Durham, NY to be exact) and it reminded me a lot of Ireland.

Cape Cod would also work, if oceans are more your thing.
posted by bondcliff at 7:53 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you liked York, you might want to consider the rest of the Maine coast. Spend a couple of days in Portland and then drive out towards Acadia. It might be a little outside your travel range if you drive (though still possibly doable), but you could fly into Boston or maybe Portland and rent a car.

Cape Cod is a good idea, and is much nicer than places like Ocean City (though some parts of the Cape are nicer than others); it also has a lot of what you're looking for, albeit with less dramatic scenery than Maine. I'd suggest you consider taking the ferry to Martha's Vineyard for a few days if you do this. Note that the car ferry is quite expensive, but you could leave your car in a lot on the mainland and the island has a decent bus system.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:03 AM on November 5, 2019

Cape Cod is pretty special, but the whole Cape is pretty crowded and congested. I'd recommend the Grand Canyon, not too crowded in May, always gorgeous, or Shenandoah NP, where Spring is lush.
posted by theora55 at 8:07 AM on November 5, 2019

What about Vermont? You can do well on your budget and it's filled with great views and walks.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:31 AM on November 5, 2019

Oregon Coast!! Late May is a great time, you can travel up/down the coast as much or as little as you want. I moved here after our first vacation :)

Memail me if you want some specific hotel suggestions.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:32 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Maybe the Blue Ridge Mountains / Smokies in western NC.
posted by crazy with stars at 9:43 AM on November 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

How about Cali Coast, but further north: Mendocino. It's about a 2-hour drive from the airport at Santa Rosa; 3.5 hours from San Francisco or Oakland airports.

Just gorgeous, a perfect time of year -- a little chilly, chance of a little rain -- lots of small hotels, bed & breakfasts, VRBOs, etc. Very beautiful and romantic, many state parks and natural scenic areas nearby, plenty of opportunities for lovely walks without hiking.

And the views!
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Asheville, N.C. is one of my favorite places on the east coast. You can hike up Looking Glass Rock. You can explore Great Smokies N.P. and drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can tour the Vanderbilt mansion and the food in Asheville is fantastic.
posted by trbrts at 9:54 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

We did our honeymoon (also during the month of May) at Greyfield Inn on one of the Georgia Sea Islands, and I couldn't recommend it more--the island and accommodations are gorgeous, and the food is amazing. After breakfast, you pick up a picnic basket and fill a water bottle with water, tea, or lemonade, and then you can go boating/swimming on the beach, or on a walk, or on a guided tour of the island (riding on the back of a pickup truck, which is fun), or we would just grab a bike from the barn and mosey on down the trails. Just pure enjoyment, and they take care of everything.

The website says there's a 45-minute boat ride to get there; I don't remember it being that long, but I do remember a very enjoyable trip (with dolphins!).
posted by witchen at 12:00 PM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

Came in to suggest Mendocino and Asheville NC (7.5 hours driving from DC). Have had great stays in both, so... seconding those.

Ms. Blank and I lived right where you are for several years and were always looking for driving-distance getaways with your criteria... Harpers Ferry is indeed nice. Pretty much the whole Eastern Shore of Maryland, particularly out by Assateague Island National Seashore. An overlooked one is Staunton, Va, which has a recreation of Shakespeare's Globe Theater and a resident Shakespeare company... Happy to offer specific suggestions via MeMail. Congrats and good luck!
posted by martin q blank at 12:31 PM on November 5, 2019

Niagara on the Lake is lovely, and close enough to the Falls for a day trip. You go right by the Butterfly Conservatory on your way. Also lots of wineries and local honey. Fis and chips at the oldest golf course in Canada (on the Lake, even) is yummy.
posted by Enid Lareg at 2:11 PM on November 5, 2019

I'm a sucker for all the tourist traps around Niagara Falls, and The Keg has amazing steaks and spectacular dining room views.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:20 PM on November 5, 2019

Niagara Falls is where I had my honeymoon so it is a nostalgic choice for me. There is a significant amount of (free) parkland to walk around/picnic in just beside the Falls. It has the busy Clifton Hill area which is great for wandering around/people watching. There is a lot of tourist things around the natural wonder of the Falls (cave behind the falls, the whirlpool, the walk along the waters edge) and the butterfly conservatory and Laura Secords house (an underrated museum). Personally I like breakfast at the Flying Saucer and high tea at Queen Charlotte’s, but there is enough food for a week of interesting eating (week two, you start to repeat restaurants). The Olde Angel Inn has a ghost and lots of atmosphere as well as good pub food.

As mentioned, Niagara on the lake is a short drive away where the Shaw Festival will be open, if you like plays. There is an excellent spa at the Pillar and Post with an indoor/outdoor hot spring pool, (if the infinity bath spa overlooking the falls at the Sheraton doesn’t grab you). If you do a day trip to Toronto it is only an hour and a half away by car or train.

I would recommend the Sheraton on The falls vs the Marriot, the Marriot is slightly classier but the view is not as great - plus the Sheraton is walking distance to most things so you can save on parking fees. Keep in mind your dollars goes further in Canada ($3,000 US = $4,000 CAD) and Niagara Falls is surprisingly cheap for a tourist town.
posted by saucysault at 6:21 PM on November 5, 2019

(Heads-up: A lot of activities around Niagara Falls are seasonal, and the season starts at the Victoria Day long weekend (May 18th in 2020, but known as "May two-four"). You may need to check on availability for a few things.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:33 AM on November 6, 2019

I can't link from this device, but Google "escape to Blue Ridge riverbend cottage" we spent a week there and it was bliss.
posted by kiwi-epitome at 7:36 AM on November 6, 2019

Thanks, all, for your responses! I marked "best answer" for the comments that included specific lodging recommendations.

We ended up booking a spot at Lake Tahoe which met all our criteria (within budget travel + lodging) and looks like it will have lovely views right from where we'll be staying.

Noting that it's a "Superhost" AirBnB in a cottage attached to the owner's home — hoping this will be another positive experience for us using AirBnB, and minimizes the downsides of that platform.
posted by pants at 4:59 AM on November 10, 2019

« Older Ordering a custom wood brand......   |   How to get a partner to be less messy/less... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments