Eat, drink and merrily explore the surroundings at these honeymoon destinations that are within driving distance.
Yes, your grandparents may have honeymooned here, where three falls (American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe) converge to put on a spectacular show, plunging from heights of up to 20 stories, sending 750,000 gallons of water per second into the river below. But the awe this natural wonder inspires is timeless, especially at night when it is illuminated in brilliant colors.
There are many ways to enjoy the waterworks, including a sail into the spray, helicopter fly-over and shooting the river rapids in a jet boat. You’ll also find one of the nation’s most scenic hiking areas for daytime exploration and a dazzling casino for nighttime entertainment. (Be sure to bring your passport if you want to cross the Rainbow Bridge to check out the Canadian side of the falls.)
Drive time: Six hours, 30 minutes from Main Line; seven hours from Wilmington.
Stay here: Tucked away in a picturesque village just a 10-minute drive from the falls is the elegantly appointed Barton Hill Hotel & Spa. Both rooms and suites have fireplaces and The Whirlpool Retreat has a jetted tub. $206-$332 double occupancy. 100 Center St., Lewiston, (716) 754-9070, www.bartonhillhotel.com.
Eat here: Floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor patio offer panoramic views of Horseshoe Falls from your table at Top of the Falls Restaurant on Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park. This casual dining spot serves burgers, sandwiches and entrées including a decadent buffalo mac ‘n’ cheese. $11.50-$16.95. (716) 278-0340, www.topofthefallsrestaurant.com.
Start the day with crème brûlée French toast or a crab and asparagus omelet ($8-$15) at the Red Coach Inn. Lunch ($9-$15) and dinner ($15-$39) are served, too, and there are plenty of tempting vegetarian options for all meals. 2 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, (716) 282-1459, www.redcoach.com.
Join the locals at Water Street Landing, a river-view, dual-personality bar/tavern on one side with everything from out-of-the-ordinary burgers—including a gator one—to a build-your-own quesadilla bar to innovative meat and seafood entrées ($9.75-$29.75). It’s also a favorite spot for live music in the evenings. On the other side is a fine-dining establishment. ($21.50-$42). 115 S. Water St., Lewiston, (716) 754-9200,www.waterstreetlanding.com.
To-do list: In Niagara Falls State Park, America’s oldest state park, you can hike the scenic Niagara Gorge. Trails range from an easy one-hour stroll to an athletic, three-hour excursion. 332 Prospect St., Niagara Falls, (716) 278-1796, www.niagarafallsstatepark.com.
Stake a spot on the top deck and sail right into the spray on the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls State Park. Tip: Wear the poncho even if you don’t think it looks cool. You’re going to get very wet. $17. (716) 284-8897,www.maidofthemist.com.
Ditto for the poncho when you brave the torrents and up-to-60-mile-an-hour winds as you scale the wooden walkways up the face of Bridal Veil Falls at the Cave of the Winds in Niagara Falls State Park. $14. (716) 278-1730.
Get wet or stay dry, the choice is yours when you ride the Niagara River’s Class 5 rapids with Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours. $61. 115 S. Water St., Lewiston, (905) 468-4800, www.whirlpooljet.com.
Soar over the falls with Rainbow Air Helicopter Tours. $90/person for a 10-minute ride). 454 Main St., Niagara Falls, (716) 284-2800, www.rainbowairinc.com.
Put some glitz into your getaway at the glamorous Seneca Niagara Casino, where you’ll find thousands of slot machines as well as table games, headline performers and top-notch dining. 310 Fourth St., Niagara Falls, (877) 873-632, www.senecaniagaracasino.com.
Even the Kardashians would have a hard time keeping up with the Gilded Age mansions that line Bellevue Avenue in this gracious “City by the Sea.” Think platinum wallpaper!
But some of Newport’s grandest sights are outdoors. You could spend hours strolling along the Cliff Walk, a path that winds past a number of the mansion properties high above Narragansett Bay. You might prefer to rent bikes to take in the gorgeous views along the famous Ocean Drive, travel the beach trails on horseback or sail through the harbor and bay on a schooner inspired by centuries past.
You’ll also find lots of glorious cuisine here, but don’t overlook the humble local delicacy called the “stuffie.” It has been accurately described as “clams casino on steroids.”
Drive time: Less than five hours from Main Line; five hours from Wilmington.
Stay here: Newport grand, but warm and welcoming, Francis Malbone House Bed and Breakfast offers haute accommodations in a restored, 1760 harbor-side mansion. Among the amenities are a multicourse breakfast and elaborate afternoon tea. Most rooms and suites have gas fireplaces and some have double Jacuzzi tubs. Rooms are $275-$380 double occupancy, suites $425-$495. 392 Thames St., (800) 846-0392,www.malbone.com.
Eat here: You could go à la carte at Spiced Pear ($36-$42), but to get the total New England culinary experience, go for a six-course ($98, with wine $153) or nine-course ($145, with wine $220) chef’s tasting menu. The Chanler at Cliff Walk, 117 Memorial Blvd., (401) 847-2244, www.spicedpear.com.
From native fluke to exotic wild boar, the prix-fixe menus at Castle Hill Inn & Resort are an amazing adventure. The three-course menu is $78, with wine $108; four-course $92, with wine $127; six-course $105, with wine $160. Or you could get a taste of what the restaurant has to offer at lunch ($16-$26). 590 Ocean Drive, (401) 849-3800, www.castlehillinn.com.
If you go to Anthony’s Seafood, you want to start your meal with a “stuffie,” then move on to baked, fried or boiled seafood classics that range from fish and chips to a whopping fisherman’s platter with servings of four menu favorites. $9.95-$23.95. 963 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown, (401) 846-9620,
To-do list: If you see only one of the nine majestic Preservation Society of Newport County Gilded Age mansions (401-847-1000, www.newportmansions.org), make it Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s The Breakers—the one with the platinum wallpaper. $20.99. For a glimpse of late 19th-to-early-20th-century Newport society from a different perspective, take “The Servant Life Tour” at The Elms. $15/adults. Ask about special ticket packages if you plan to visit more than one of the mansions.
Explore the beach trails on horseback during a two-hour guided ride with Newport Equestrian, $125 per person private tour, $85 group. 287 Third Beach Road, Middletown, (401) 837-4188,www.newportequestrian.com.
Rent some wheels from Newport Bicycle and discover the wild beauty of Ocean Drive. $7 per hour, $50 per 24 hours. 130 Broadway, Newport, (401) 846-0773, www.newportbicycleri.com.
Board the 72-foot, 19th-century-style Bermuda rig schooner Madeleine for a 90-minute daytime ($30) or sunset ($40) cruise of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay with Classic Cruises of Newport. 24 Bannister’s Wharf, Newport, (401) 847-0298, www.cruisenewport.com.
Everything you could possibly want from a honeymoon hideaway you’ll find at Nemacolin Woodlands. Set on 2,000 acres in the heart of the naturally lovely Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the resort, which recently underwent a $30 million renovation, offers six distinctly different accommodation options. Available to guests are a wide range of activities and adventures, fabulous dining options and a guest-exclusive casino.
In addition to two championship golf courses, you’ll find unusual diversions such as a Jeep Off-Road Driving Academy, a Shooting Academy and all-season dog sledding. The spa features unique treatments to pamper and a separate holistic healing center to help you de-stress and offer guidelines and techniques to make sure the two of you get a healthy start on your new life together.
Drive time: 4 hours, 30 minutes from Main Line; 4 hours, 15 minutes from Wilmington
Stay here: The address and contact information for all of Nemacolin’s accommodations and dining establishments are 1001 Lafayette Dr., (866) 344-6957, www.nemacolin.com.
The Chateau is a glamorous, classic European-style hotel inspired by The Ritz in Paris. Rooms are spacious with vaulted ceilings, crystal chandeliers and jetted marble tubs. $319-$969 double occupancy.
The architecture of Falling Rock is an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright. This hotel is so posh, it even offers a pillow menu and 24-hour butler service. $429-$969.
Eat here: All of the restaurants at Nemacolin feature a wide range of gluten-free dishes. Some also have extensive vegetarian and vegan menus.
Breakfast at Autumn includes everything from a signature twist on eggs Benedict using bacon-Swiss potato cakes in place of the English muffin to omelets any way you like them. $12-$17. Dinner $28-$36.
Aqueous is an upscale steakhouse that dry-ages its own beef for deep flavor and incomparable texture. Steaks range from $5 an ounce for a New York cut to $85 for a certified Angus 48-ounce tomahawk rib-eye chop.
The ultra-sophisticated menu at Lautrec is rooted in European technique. The fixed-price, four-course dinner is $110, with wine $200; the chef’s tasting menu $145, with wine $270.
To do list: Two 18-hole championship courses provide distinctive challenges for golfers. Mystic Rock is a Pete Dye-designed PGA course. $120, twilight $80. The Links is a traditional Scottish design with plenty of rocks and water to keep things interesting. $55, twilight $35. You can also take private lessons ($125 for one hour) or simply hone your skills (clinic rate is $50) at The Nemacolin Golf Academy.
The Shooting Academy is an extensive sporting clay facility (they describe the sport as “golf with a shotgun”) with instruction for novices and challenges for seasoned shooters. Prices begin at $55.
Throughout the Nemacolin property are streams and creeks for relaxing fishing. You can also take lessons from the Orvis Fly-Fishing School ($30-$40 per hour). A guided, two-hour spin cast fishing trip is $125.
At the Jeep Off-Road Driving Academy, you can get behind the wheel ($90 per person) or simply ride along on the course and back roads ($90 per vehicle).
For a Jamaican Dog Sledding adventure, these pups don’t need snow to get into mushing mode. Just climb into the wheeled cart and off you’ll go for a thrilling ride. $50 for first rider, $25 for second.
There’s no doubt that Richmond is a treasure trove for history buffs. But there’s much more to this Southern city than its past. Much of the appeal is in its rejuvenated downtown, rebuilt from the ashes of war, natural disasters and the Great Depression. For miles stretching along the James River from European-chic Shockoe Slip to Bohemian-cool Shockoe Bottom and to the cultural treasures on just about every block, you’ll find a compelling combination of low-key Southern comfort and contemporary urban vitality.
Drive time: Four hours from Main Line; three hours, 40 minutes from Wilmington.
Stay here: Linden Row Inn is seven mid-1800s townhomes fronted by stately columns to create one boutique hotel in the historic Monroe Ward District of downtown Richmond. Rooms are decorated with Empire- and Victorian-period antiques and reproductions. $129-$279 double occupancy.100 E. Franklin St., (804) 783-7000, www.lindenrowinn.com.
Eat Here: Comfort—The name of this local favorite tells the whole story. The menu features a mean mac ’n’ cheese. $8-$12 for lunch, $16-$25 for dinner. 200 W. Broad St., (804) 780-0004, www.comfortrestaurant.com.
Millie’s Diner is one of the most consistently popular and praised upscale restaurants in Richmond. $22-$27. 2603 E. Main St., (804) 643-5512, www.milliesdiner.com.
To-Do List: Henricus Historical Park. At this second successful English settlement in the New World, recreated Colonial structures and costumed interpreters bring to life the lives of newcomers, natives, indentured servants and Africans between 1611 and 1622. $8. 251 Henricus Park Road, Chester, (804) 748-161, www.henricus.org.
Fall is the favorite time for veteran rafters to ride the James River through the city of Richmond because of the colorful scenery. River City Adventures will take you on a three-to-four-hour whitewater trip through Class I-IV rapids. $60 weekdays, $70 weekends. 100 Stockton St., (804) 233-4000, www.rivercityadventure.com.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It takes at least half a day to peruse this collection of 33,000 works spanning centuries, genres and cultures. Free. 200 N. Blvd., (804) 340-1405, www.vmfa.state.va.us.
Join a guided tour of this magnificent 33-room Gilded Age mansion, Maymont House, and see how the other half (and their domestic staff) lived. $5 suggested donation. 2201 Shields Lake Drive, (804) 358-7166,www.maymont.org.
At the American Civil War Center, artifacts and multimedia displays explore perspectives on the causes and effects of the Civil War from the Union, Confederate and African-American points of view. $8. 500 Tredegar St., (804) 649-1861, www.tredegar.org.