Now accepting: mini-moon suggestions

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I’m going stir crazy.

To save enough vacation time for our wedding extravaganza and mini-moon this fall, I have no big trips on the books. We’ll be heading to the Outer Banks for a handful of days in June, as per our family tradition, and also trekking to New York in August to see Spencer’s lovely family before the wedding. But other than that? No epic journeys. No life-affirming itineraries. No jaunts to other coasts or other countries . . .

. . . just uninterrupted hours at my dusty desk.

To compound my stir-crazy-ness, Spence and I are planning to take our “real” honeymoon next summer — when we have a fresh cache of time. And, more importantly, when the weather will be nicer. All of our potential honeymoon destinations wouldn’t be too pretty in November, so we made the executive decision to wait until it’s warmer to take our big vacation — and not go straight from a trip into the holidays. I also felt it would be less stressful to not rush out of town immediately after such an epic event — and more fun to have something to look forward to after all the wedding excitement dies down.

We are going to get away, though — preferably to somewhere fairly quiet and drive-able. Planes are out. I was thinking a bed and breakfast in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia, but lo and behold: everything I’ve researched closes for the season the weekend before our wedding. Because of course.

Planning a trip is half the fun, but I’m at a loss as to where we could go for our “mini-moon” (don’t you love that term?). I entered a contest to win one from the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C., which would be sweet, but I realize I can’t exactly count on that. (Though I have won a trip before. So, lightning: strike here twice?)

Here is my slightly-OCD list of things we’re seeking in a mini-moon:

• Must be within 7 hours’ driving distance from D.C.;
• Would preferably be in/near the mountains, because they’re my favorite;
• Must be relatively quiet (no family resorts, etc.);
• Would preferably include meals or be near restaurants (no cooking ourselves);
• Be picturesque in some way; y’all know I need to take some pictures; and
• Not cost approximately $1,826,834 a night.


My mom suggested the Poconos of Pennsylvania, a spot we visited on many spring breaks growing up, and I’ve found a few adult-oriented resorts that sound interesting. I say “adult-oriented” because I fear checking into a hotel with children running down the halls, screaming and splashing each other everywhere we turn, because I have been that child and the whole point of the trip is to decompress. Love kids, can’t wait to have ’em, but don’t want ’em sharing our dinner table during our relaxing getaway. Just sayin’.

So: the Poconos. Interesting. Reasonably priced. Not too far away. But nothing I’ve looked at really grabs me as the place. I’m getting antsy that the place seems nowhere to be found.

This is obviously not at the top of my priorities list at the moment, but for someone who sees vacation as lifeblood? Well, daydreaming about this mini-moon gets me through some long days. I’ve spent way too much time on TripAdvisor, combing through endless reviews of East Coast hotels and resorts, but I feel like my list is accompanied by a full-body shrug. Nothing is really exciting me.

So this is where I beg for your assistance. Where have you vacationed on the East Coast? Can I get there easily from Washington? Do you have any recommendations? West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware . . . heck, even North Carolina: I’m looking at you. Take pity on me — and give me a mini-moon to fantasize about. I’m all ears.


30 thoughts on “Now accepting: mini-moon suggestions

  1. Maybe Asheville, NC. The Smokeys are right there (though not very quiet), there’s the Biltmore, and there are a lot of good restaurants. The hubby and I recently did an anniversary trip in the Smokeys and Asheville and had a blast.

  2. Williamsburg, VA is where my husband and I spent the first leg of our honeymoon. It’s beautiful in November, which is when we got married, and you can normally gets package deals through their website. Also, the food is fantastic! Black Mountain, NC is also incredibly picturesque with lots of bed and breakfasts, and its near Asheville, NC with tons of yummy farm to table restaurants. Good luck with your mini-moon plans!

  3. Smoky Mountains, TN! We’ve stayed several times in a cabin with a beautiful view, no matter the time of year. And because each cabin is situated a distance from each other, and comes equipped with enough entertainment so you don’t need to leave if you don’t want to, it’s definitely “adult-oriented!”

  4. This is funny, I’ve been thinking the same thing lately – that holding onto all my vacation days for the wedding might have me slowly losing my mind come September. I just need to get away!

    We, too, are planning on holding off on the big honeymoon so we have something to look forward to – and a fresh batch of vacation days to use. But a mini-moon is in order for sure, and I haven’t a clue where to go!

  5. My best friend is getting married in the Poconos, we’re going to visit their venue, the Stroudsmoor Country Inn tomorrow. I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks beautiful and quiet. I think in Nov. esp right before the holidays, you’d be unlikely to run into many children there. I’ll let you know how everything is. Good luck planning!

  6. I would say Asheville, NC but Google maps is saying that it’s 7 hours and 13 minutes from southern Maryland so it would definitely be on the high side of your driving time. It’s gorgeous and peaceful and there is a lot to do.

  7. Oh, this is so much fun! I immediately thought Asheville as well : ) But I’ll also throw in New York’s Hudson Valley: New Paltz, Beacon, Cold Spring… these are beautiful places with restaurants within walking distance and so many mountains and trails to hike and explore. It’s very quiet and peaceful. Also, because I know you’re a foodie like me, (although this destination fits NONE of your requirements) Charleston, SC remains one of my favorite trips ever. A super short, inexpensive flight, the most delicious restaurants, and so much quiet and beauty outside the city. I felt very relaxed and happy there.

  8. I concur on Asheville. I’m heading there for my bachelorette/girl’s weekend. You can book a little cabin ( or so you’re away from hustle and bustle but near to all the good restaurants and wineries.

    Other options – you could check out the ski lodges like masanutten or wintergreen which are pretty nice during spring/summer though that may have a higher risk of families/kids. or maybe a B&B in Charlottesville?

  9. I know it may be a little far, but have you considered any of the little seaside towns up north, granted it will likely be colder then, but many of them are very picturesque. My husband and I went up to Boston and visited Rockport, Salem, Plymouth and also Newport, RI on the same trip. I would love to go back and stay in one of the quaint towns for a relaxing retreat. Although, it would be about an 8 hour drive.

  10. I so feel you on the restless want for some travel! My wife and I never managed a honeymoon, sadly, but we’re the queens of the three-to-four day getaway. Really does keep me sane!

    Have you ever been to Deep Creek Lake in W. Maryland? My family lives in that area — it’s beautiful — waterfalls, state parks, hiking, mountains — and as it is a ski resort town, I think it has off season prices when it’s not snowy. I’m also partial to Pittsburgh — some really fabulous museums there, and it’s hilly (not quite a mountain, I know!).

    • Would you believe I haven’t ever been to Deep Creek Lake? I was actually researching some cabins there — it sounds so nice! Despite the fact that I’m a lifelong Marylander, there are many parts of the state I’ve never seen. Crazy! Thanks, Audra!

  11. Asheville or Garrett County, MD. Garrett County has lots of outdoors-y options with Deep Creek Lake, Swallow Falls, and The Wisp. The restaurant scene, as far as I know, isn’t amazing, but I’m sure you’d be able to find places to eat. The outdoor activities may make it worthwhile anyway.

    If you want great dining options, a cute downtown, history, and nearby outdoor activities, Asheville is probably the place for you (keep in mind that places close early on Sunday and many restaurants are closed on Monday, so I recommend not making Sunday or Monday downtown Asheville days.) Favorites in Asheville: Biltmore (this takes up most of a day; if you’re a AAA member, you can get discounted tickets at the AAA office if you go there during business hours), Marco’s Pizzeria (strange, but I think it’s the best pizza place I’ve ever been to), Tupelo Honey (gets busy but the food is SO worth the wait), Thomas Wolfe Memorial/house tour (and a stop by the Appalachian Craft Center while you’re over that way). Plus there is always Chimney Rock and a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    • Thank you for the fabulous suggestions, Allison — love them! Asheville seems to be an awesome and popular choice. I’d never heard of it, but I’m getting an education. Thanks!

  12. We flew into Burlington Vermont and it’s gorgeous. We then drove up through these tiny towns in Canada. It was pretty awesome.

    Good luck choosing!

  13. I hear great things about the Greenbrier resort in WV (4 hours from DC), though it just might cost your $1,826,834 a night. Also, I think there’s a wine region in Virginia that’s supposed to be pretty, or Charlottesville?

  14. Is Maine too far away? We love it best in the Fall! Breakfast is included where we stay and lots of other stuff!

  15. Oh, how exciting! My husband and I did just what you and Spencer are doing. We took a mini-moon (and even called it that) and then six months later went to Maui. It was so perfect! My suggestion for you and Spencer is Boonsboro, MD. I want to go here so badly and it looks so serene and beautiful. The Inn was made (and therefore is owned by) Nora Roberts and her family.

  16. I’ve never been to the US, so can’t help you there, but I think your plans are really good. A sudden get away after a wedding just sounds like so much rushing around; but a relaxed break and having a second holiday to look forward to as part of your wedding, as such, is a great idea. Hopefully your mini-moon helps lift some of the stir-crazy!

  17. Thank you all for the fabulous suggestions — I really appreciate it! Compiling them all for further research. Y’all always come through.

  18. I haven’t been here – yet – but a friend recommended it to me, and my best friend actually considered it as a wedding venue: The Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC. Might be a bit more of a drive, but Highlands is worth it, if I do say so myself 😉 Love-love-love that area of my beloved homestate, it’s gorgeous year-round … and reasonably priced:

  19. Ohhhhh the moon! Sadly, it’s been 3.5 years and hubs and I still haven’t taken one. Le sigh! He couldn’t take any time off after our wedding, and we tried the next spring to take a long weekend, but he was called into work. Maybe one day. One place I would love for us to go, and you should check it out is The Greenbrier in West Virginia. It’s historical, it’s beautiful… but it is a bit pricey. Now I have to be honest, I’ve never been, but my mom has been a few times, and my lucky husband gets to go this summer. But I’ve heard wonderful things about it. You can take tours of the bunker, and some outdoor trips.

  20. What about Roanoke, VA? Or Mountain Lake in VA (where Dirty Dancing was filmed)? Roanoke has a quaint downtown area with lots of restaurants and little boutiques. And the drive in the fall would be beautiful to either one! It may be a closer alternative to Asheville!

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