It’s 2020 and Hawaii is definitely out for a honeymoon destination – they’re stricter than strict on the quarantine. Europe will have to wait – au revoir, France! I don’t think even our neighbors to the north are letting us in, eh Canada? Some places like Antigua and St. Lucia and Croatia ARE, as of this writing, letting in US Citizens, but you have to have a negative COVID test and quarantine before and after and it’s just a lot right now – so most people are sticking closer to home including yours truly! It doesn’t look like I will hit my goal of going to all 7 continents by next year – I was on track, but Antarctica shall have to wait. Of course, for a honeymoon, you can always do Myrtle Beach or OBX (Kill Devil Hills is my favorite, especially off-season as school goes back!) or Virginia Beach – I just wanted to highlight a few places that might be closer or under the radar or different and let you avoid hotspots!
This year, with COVID-19, we all have to find safer ways to travel. The silver lining is that I’m discovering more places close to home to do little short getaways! My couples and my social media followers suggested some great places nearby to honeymoon or minimoon (that’s a short trip you take right after the wedding) or anniversary trip – no flights needed! Note: Some of these links are sponsored/I’m an associate and I get paid if you book through them. Full disclosure! https://www.airbnb.com/associates/52556?c=.pi115.pk0_11&a4ptk=11681_0_11_52556&af=115&s=67&unique_share_id=1654bdd9-58d2-46f4-98af-b7f2aa6bd848
I can’t vouch for all of these, but I wanted to throw out a few ideas I love and have been dreaming about myself. As always, travel safely and follow all local rules. If any of these places should pop up on a hot spot list, either allow time for quarantining when you return or switch locations – that’s the beauty of 2020, being flexible and last minute with plans. Plan on eating outside or getting takeout for the most part and stay socially distanced while wearing your mask. For a planner like me, it’s definitely hard to embrace this new normal, but letting go of perfection and just living in the moment has been a big coronavirus lesson for me.
In a way, COVID is bringing back some old school traditions – when my parents got married in 1979, it was a pretty big deal to take a honeymoon you had to fly to! Almost no one took 3 weeks in Southeast Asia or did Bali or Fiji. I’ve heard a lot of trips to Virginia Beach or a motel with a AAA discount or a road trip to the national parks and sleeping a few nights in the car. This is a return to a simpler time – take the time to ask your parents and grandparents about their honeymoons – I love hearing the stories!
I’m peppering this post with photos of my travels over the past few years, home and abroad!
1. Getaway House – if you use my link to book, I get $25 off my next trip!
I’m pretty much obsessed with these tiny houses. The founder was on Shark Tank a few years back and they’ve exploded in popularity! This is camping light – basically glamping. It’s pet friendly. I’ve been here a few times – it’s just an hour from the North Hills of Pittsburgh! It’s fun to play hipster in the woods, the location is great for Instagram, and the socially distancing is A+. I’ll be honest – you either LOVE it here and can’t wait to come back and wish you could own a tiny house, or you are very “ehhhh it was fine” – I find it delightful!
If the tiny cabin is rocking, don’t come a-knocking is what they say. Actually, wait, no one says that except me and that’s just me being silly and immature, but it is amazing to fall asleep next to the giant window and look out and see stars.
2. Presque Isle
How far do you think Erie is from Pittsburgh? In my head, I always thought it was 4 hours. It’s actually 2! I JUST went to Presque Isle State Park last weekend after living in PA about 30 out of 35 years – it was really nice! There are dog friendly beaches. It’s a fun getaway! We stayed at Fairfield Inn at Millcreek Mall – it’s also pet-friendly and friendly on the wallet and they had great COVID procedures. While you’re up there, you can try Tim Horton’s – a Canadian tradition, although my sister didn’t think their caramel iced coffee was very good! We found Beach 6 good for swimming and for the dog, but it got crowded – Beach 11, WAY in the back, was prettier, rockier, and empty. There are some lovely AirBnb’s up there, you can rent bikes and boats – it seemed to be a great, relaxing time! Note: I am an AirBnb Associate and earn money if you book through our link!
3. Put-in-Bay and Geneva-on-the-Lake
Admittedly, I know nothing about these two spots, but they’re mentioned all the time! Here’s a cute place I found near the ferry to Put-in-Bay on AirBnb! Here’s a spot at Geneva-on-the-Lake too! My friend Charlene goes up to Geneva-on-the-Lake to camp every fall, but this year, she was able to squeeze in a trip during peak season when everything was open.
4. The Resorts – Omni Bedford Springs or Nemacolin
I’ve also never been to either of these resorts, but on stressful days, I’ve dreamed about them and the spa! (Also, does anyone remember the episode of the Bachelor where they went to Nemacolin and did dog sledding and then of course, it was bowchickabowwow hot tub time? Ahhhh trash TV) I’ve had several friends go to Omni Bedford Springs for their babymoons!
Update: The new season of the Bachelor is now filming at Nemacolin, so they’re not taking reservations for fall 2020 – Bedford Springs is your best bet!
5. Hocking Hills or Ohiopyle or the Laurel Highlands
Fall is going to be here soon and it’s going to be gorgeous.
Have you ever tried skiing? If your getaway is this winter, maybe try Seven Springs for skiing in the Laurel Highlands! I love snowskiing and have gone since I was ten years old (thanks, middle school ski club) – it can be fun to hit the slopes. A few years ago, we rented a condo for Allison’s 30th birthday and that was tons of fun for all her friends for a weekend.
6. Breweries and BnB’s and Wineries – Road Tripping
One of my June brides, Betsy, did a little exploration of some wineries and went to a BnB that she and her husband had gone to before! I think familiarity is a good thing at this time! If you (or your partner!) is a beer drinker, then Columbus opened up a hotel that’s literally inside a brewery and I understand that they have a shower beer fridge. Columbus is a short drive and they have a great science center and zoo! My friend Charlene also told me they have those fun scooter rentals – you can scoot around town, preferably before you go to the brewery!
Update: I JUST went to Brewdog Doghouse hotel in Columbus in mid-September and it was AMAZING! I don’t even drink beer and we had an amazing time – very relaxing. If you (or your partner) loves craft beer, this is the place to go! Just three hours away, 20 minutes outside Columbus, lots of outdoor seating and good COVID policies. We got the shower beer package AND the in-room draft!
Again, fall is just around the corner and you could also do a safe and socially distanced road trip through New England. Vermont’s “peak leaf” is supposed to be around October 3rd-10th this year. Kristen, isn’t New England far to road trip? When I was in 3rd grade, we took a road trip to visit my cousins in Massachusetts and we had 8 people in a 7 passenger van and I had to sit on an Igloo cooler for 12 hours on the ride home with a plant my mom bought in front of me and also, 1993 was a different time. So yeah, my answer is, road tripping to New England is fine. Just don’t sit on a cooler without a seatbelt. Also, when I went to Massachusetts, I slept on my aunt’s gameroom floor in a sleeping bag – but YOU can stay here in this gorgeous inn in the Berkshires – the owners’ photos make me want to paint my own bathroom at home a very dark gray or black or forest green!
7. “On Top of Old Smokey…” Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg, Tennessee
“On top of spaghetti
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed. “
Do you guys remember singing that nonsense in elementary school? No, just me? Okay, well, let’s not talk about sneezes because – let’s just not.
The National Parks are some of the United States’ finest treasures and this one is close enough to drive to! Also, you guys might notice, I love filtering AirBnb’s by “hot tub” status and I can’t decide if that makes me weird. I am totally the person who would go in that champagne hot tub I saw in the Poconos on Married at First Sight and why yes, I DO have a new show to binge-watch during quarantine, thanks very much. Here’s a place in Gatlinburg! Also, here’s a platform tent for glamping ala Girl Scout Camp in 1996 – this is adorable!
8. Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-in-naw I believe)
When I was in maybe 5th grade, I was still going to soccer, rather reluctantly. I remember this girl on our team, her family vacationed every summer to Mackinac Island. She always told me how it was amazing – there were no cars and you had to take horses and bikes around. I never heard of such a place but it seemed so cool to 10-year-old me. I’m 35 now and yeah, it still seems amazing and now I have the internet and can look up this island – it seems to be such a cool spot. One of our July brides honeymooned here and I was loving her Instagram stories – it’s now a goal of mine to stay at and photograph a wedding at the Grand Hotel on the island!
Wherever you roam this year and next, stay safe and healthy, mask up, wash those hands, and enjoy every minute!