Mini-Moons around New England
Hectic schedules, drained budgets and wedding stress may all make a full blown honeymoon difficult or impossible for couples right off the altar. Why not hold off on the honeymoon for a while and take a weekend getaway instead? These mini-moon locations offer the perfect chance to spend some time with your new spouse without the hassle of a lengthy trip.
By John Kiernan
Bar Harbor, ME
A village full of quaint shops and eateries, Bar Harbor (or, as most RI’ers call it, Bah Hahbah) is situated along the beautiful northern Maine coastline. It’s also the perfect spot for couples who are seeking an outdoor adventure.
For Adventurers: If you want to get your feet wet, rent kayaks at National Park Canoe Rental or take a guided tour with Sea Venture. But if you’re feeling especially adventurous, hop in a biplane and take a sunset flight over the park with Acadia Air Tours.
For Hikers: Bar Harbor is right next to Acadia National Park which is loaded with hiking trails along dramatic rocky coastlines and over mountains.
Eat: Have dinner at the Mache Bistro ($$) and enjoy a variety of gourmet European cuisine from French to Italian. For more exotic fare, try Havana ($$$). They offer an upscale blend of American and Latin food in the center of downtown.
On the way: Bar Harbor is an almost six hour drive from Little Rhody, so make a pit stop and melt away road trip stress with samples of craft beer at the Shipyard Brewery ($$$) in Portland, Maine.
When to Go: Summer offers a great chance to head to the beach and enjoy Maine at its warmest, but fall has spectacular foliage and a milder temperature.
Another destination off the beaten path, Lenox offers a mix of high culture and rural beauty. Located deep in the Berkshires, there are plenty of opportunities to see spectacular foliage, landscapes and picturesque farmhouses.
For the Cultured: If you visit during the warmer months, check out Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The performance hall (known as the Shed by the initiated) opens out into a wide lawn where listeners can enjoy a homemade picnic during the concert. Lenox also has a highly respected acting troop, Shakespeare and Company, which regularly performs the Bard’s classics and other plays.
Eat: After a day of activities, grab a bite to eat at Brava ($$), which serves a variety of small plate options and pizza along with a wide selection of wines. If you’re feeling more opulent, Alta ($$$) features both gourmet Mediterranean cuisine and traditional fare.
Stay: Cranwell Resort ($$$) may be a bit imposing on the outside, but it houses a romantic interior and an extensive day spa. The Rookwood Inn ($$) is a more affordable option that pairs modern comfort with Victorian charm.
On the way: If you’re looking for a funky detour on the two hour drive to Lenox, check out Springfield’s Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden. The famous author was born and raised in Springfield, and the garden is filled with statues of the colorful characters from his work.
When to Go: Visit in the summer for Tanglewood or in the fall for the foliage
Block Island, RI
It may not be Bora Bora, but Block Island still has a lot to offer. Beaches, dramatic cliffs and rolling hills can all be found on the island, and it’s only an hour ferry ride away from the mainland.
For Adrenaline Junkies: Rent a set of wheels at Block Island Mopeds and zoom around the island at high speed. If you want to try your hand at paddle boarding, surfing, or even spear fishing, book a tour with Block Island Ocean Adventures.
Eat: Block Island’s location makes it a prime spot for any seafood connoisseur and Winfield’s ($$$) has some of the best around. If you just want something familiar and delicious, the Poor People’s Pub ($) has a number of pizza, burger and sandwich options at an affordable price.
Stay: The Darius Inn ($$) and the Avonlea ($$$) both have luxurious accommodations right in town. The Avonlea boasts a better view on the waterfront, while the Darius is a bit closer to the downtown action and has lower priced rooms.
On the way: As it’s an island, you obviously won’t be driving, but you can check out some of what South County has to offer before catching the ferry, like one of Theatre by the Sea’s high class productions.
When to Go: Summers are beautiful, but visitors and hotel prices are at their highest. Try the fall or spring for fewer crowds and lower costs.
White Mountains, NH
Scenic vistas and quaint villages make the White Mountains a perfect destination for couples looking for an iconic New England experience.
For Christmas Lovers: If you’re looking to tap into your inner child, visit Santa’s Village. Offering Christmas cheer all year round, the amusement park has twenty-three rides (most intended for kids but still fun for adults) and a variety of shows. For another dose of yuletide spirit, visit or stay at Christmas Farm Inn and Spa and enjoy its picturesque charm.
For Athletes: Each winter thousands flock to New Hampshire for its superior ski slopes and cross country trails. But if you’re not planning to get married in the winter, there’s still plenty to do. Hike up Mount Washington, the highest mountain in the Northeast. If you don’t quite feel up for a 6,000 foot ascent, take the Cog Railway and experience their scenic, three hour tour.
Eat: Head a bit further south to find some fine dining. May Kelly’s Cottage ($$)serves up tasty Irish food in a cozy, old-world atmosphere. The White Mountain Cider Company ($$$) has more sophisticated fare, from pan-roasted duck breast to Korean short-rib sandwiches.
Stay: The White Mountains boast a number of high-end hotels and inns, but Omni Mount Washington Resort ($$$) is the front runner. The hotel has been host to presidents, celebrities and geniuses (Thomas Edison for one). In addition to its spectacular location, the Omni has several golf courses, ski trails, pools and a spa all within their grounds. For a more affordable option, check out the Wentworth ($), a cozy inn located in the quiet town of Jackson.
On the way: While road tripping to your rural mountain retreat, consider getting a dose of culture in Manchester, NH. Check out the well-stocked Currier Museum of Art, which has art from medieval to modern.
When to Go: If you’re looking for spectacular views and snow sports, the winter is right for you. If you want to enjoy milder temperatures or if you’re dead-set on climbing Mount Washington (which is closed in the winter) visit during summer and fall.
Nestled away in southern Vermont’s Green Mountains, the little town of Ludlow has a surprisingly rich selection of fine eateries and resorts.
For Thrill-Seekers: Try zip-lining or running through a treetop obstacle course to get your adrenaline pumping at the Okemo Mountain Resort ($). If you’re looking for some more relaxed physical activity, they have an 18-hole golf course. Are winter sports your thing? Try one of their 121 ski trails.
For the Laidback: Couples more interested in relaxing should go to Calm Moments Massage to help ease away any post-wedding stress. For an easy, scenic walk, check out Buttermilk Falls ($) and if it’s summer, take a dip in one of its many clear pools.
Eat: Stemwinder has a range of fresh, locally sourced small plate options paired with a large selection of wine and craft beer. The Downtown Grocery ($$$) offers traditional cuisine with a gourmet twist in a casual setting.
Stay: Visit the Castle Hill Resort ($$$) and experience luxurious turn-of-the-century architecture while being pampered at their in-house spa. If you’re looking for more of a bed and breakfast experience, stay at the Inn at Water’s Edge ($).
On the way: Between Providence and Ludlow, Worcester, Mass. is the perfect place to stretch your legs during the three hour drive. Bond with your spouse at the Escape Games where you’re challenged to solve puzzles and escape a locked room.
When to Go: If you’re a ski bum, winter is best. The summer and fall are great times too with plenty of outdoor activities to choose from.
Whether you’re a history buff or you just enjoy the colonial atmosphere, Newport has it all. The historical highlights of this seaside town include the colorful colonial homes and the decadent Gilded Age “cottages”.
History Buffs: Visit Rough Point, Marble House, the Breakers or any other iconic home to see how the one percent lived a century ago. If you don’t feel like going on a formal tour, stroll along the Cliff Walk and admire the mansions and the spectacular view of the sea.
Booze Hounds: For the beer and rum aficionados, Newport Storm and Newport Distilling Company provide tours and tastings of their products. The rum can be sampled at various stages of the aging process, providing insight into how this popular liquor is made.
Eat: A step beyond traditional pub food, the White Horse Tavern ($$$) has a variety of gourmet cuisine and, as the oldest tavern in the United States, it’s got a big dose of atmosphere. For another gourmet option, check out Malt ($$), which offers great food at a reasonable price.
Stay: The Cliffside Inn ($$$$) is an upscale bed and breakfast only a few steps from the Cliff Walk. A bit further away from the ocean and mansions, the Ivy Lodge ($$) has a warm interior with a number of rooms decked out in elegant style.
When to Go: You’ll enjoy mild temperatures and reduced crowds (and costs) if you visit in autumn.
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