With the cost of just about everything we use and do rising daily, the momentum to stay closer to home grows for many. Why not your honeymoon too! WeddingDay staffers Kelly Bloemer and Kara Martin were sent on assignment to find the best honeymoon destinations in the Midwest. Both Kelly and Kara are also planning their own weddings, and here is what they've compiled to share with WeddingDay readers.
They looked at five main criteria:
- Quality accommodations
- Number and variety of activities
- Access to quality dining
- How "honeymooner friendly" the location was, i.e. packages, pricing, etc.
- Within 6 hours driving distance from anywhere in our region
Here are their choices (not listed in any particular order):
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: The "Big City" luxury hotel experience
Generally less than 100 miles away from anywhere in our area, Chicago is heaping with some of the best hotels and restaurants in the World. Pamper yourself by staying at one of the finest hotels the Midwest has to offer and enjoy Navy Pier, explore internationally renowned museums, visit
the zoo, shop, experience fine dining, relax at the hotel spa or simply stroll along the Lakeshore.
KARA'S PICK The Drake Hotel
312-787-2200 - http://www.thedrakehotel.com
Old-world, Italian style hotel: a favorite of visiting international royal personalities. The Drake boasts of scenic views of Lake Michigan, award winning culinary dining, and is located close to everything, including Navy Pier, renowned museums, and the best shopping on the "Magnificent Mile." Ask about the ultimate "Do Not Disturb" getaway, which offers sparkling wine, breakfast in bed, and access to hotel health club, pool and whirlpool.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: Intimate Bed & Breakfast experience in the "Big City"
We were also quite surprised to find a place to get cozy in the big city:
KELLY'S PICK The Gold Coast Inn Bed & Breakfast
312-337-0361 - http://www.bbchicago.com
If you are looking for big city activities but with a cozy atmosphere, a bed and breakfast in Downtown Chicago might be a great option!
The Gold Coast Inn has contemporary and antique decor complete with thoughtful amenities. The Inn is a five-minute walk to the shops on Michigan Avenue and to Oak Street Beach. You can explore this Chicago neighborhood, filled with numerous cafes, museums, record shops, bookstores and boutiques, or walk down to the lakefront and enjoy Chicago's parks and beaches. In Chicago there is no shortage of great places to eat. The Inn provides a continental breakfast and complimentary beverages.
HOCKING HILLS AREA, OHIO
For the recreationist-Beautiful natural landscape with 8 state parks and 4 nature preserves.
The Hocking Hills area, located in southeast Ohio, features incredible natural landscape with 9 state parks and 4 nature preserves. Explore unbelievable caves, forest hikes, and underwater rivers in this unusual getaway. There are numerous accommodations in the area, many of which are "honeymooner friendly" offering special packages which cater to the newlywed couples every need. Enjoy the peace of the outdoors together and getaway to the natural beauty of Hocking Hills, Ohio.
KARA'S PICK Hocking Hills Resort, Bloomingville, Ohio
800-222-4655 - http://www.hockinghillsresort.com
Hocking Hills Resort is located near Ash Cave State Park on a 62-acre ridge top with towering cliffs and breathtaking waterfalls with deep Hemlock-shaded gorges. It offers hiking trails, a restaurant, cabins with full kitchens and Jacuzzis, and caters to honeymooners with "special touches" packages.
KELLY'S PICK Cherry Ridge Retreat, New Plymouth, Ohio
877-380-7771 - http://www.cherryridgeretreat.com
Cherry Ridge Retreat combines the privacy and beauty of a woodland paradise with the comforts and amenities of Hocking Hills' finest accommodations. Includes a "gourmet" kitchen, "artist" furniture, fireplace, private hot tub, custom bar and indoor/outdoor stereo, 140 acres of woodland trails, and use of pond size gazebo and campfire ring.
THE GREAT BEACHES OF LAKE MICHIGAN
KELLY'S PICK Sand Castle Inn, South Haven, MI
269-639-1110 - http://www.thesandcastleinn.com
The Southwest Michigan Tourism Council
Sand Castle Inn was an historic Lake Michigan resort hotel. Completely restored, most sleeping rooms have private balconies, fireplaces and central air with individual thermostats. Designer guest rooms, common areas and a white wicker front porch offer you a private, quiet, and restful stay that is unique and intimate. Within walking distance to shops, restaurants, beach and harbor.
KELLY'S PICK Sandpiper Inn, Union Pier, MI
269-469-1146 - http://www.sandpiperinn.net
Located on a scenic bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, the Georgian style lake house contains nine guest rooms, all facing the inn's beautiful private beach through cozy screened-in verandas, ideal for relaxing and watching the sunset. The beach is yours. A lovely trellised walkway just a few yards from the back door winds diagonally from the top of the bluff to a seaside deck area and then down to the beach itself.
All the rooms have queen beds, whirlpool baths and private decks. Hot country breakfasts are served with afternoon snacks in the sunny breakfast room. There is a common room and library available to all guests. Spend afternoons on the private sandy beach, and the evenings watching the sunset.
LAKE GENEVA, WISCONSIN
If you are looking for a lake honeymoon Geneva Lake may be a great getaway. The lake is an all year lake offering cold and warm weather activities. Rent a wave runner, go on a cruise around the lake and site see the historic homes and estates, hit the beach, go horseback riding, and if you a looking for something out of the ordinary, take a hot air balloon ride. If you are honeymooning in the winter and enjoy skiing, the Alpine valley ski area is near by.
KELLY'S PICK Bella Vista Suites
800-773-5119 - http://www.bellavistasuites.com
Offers beautiful lakeside views of the lake, and has great packages for the romantic lake lovers. Choose from packages which offer champagne, rose petal baths, an aromatic salt Jacuzzi, a cozy fireplace, carriage rides, or a relaxing 30-minute massage-for-two.
MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN: THE NATURE OF LOVE
The Island has so much to offer! If you like nature you will enjoy the monolithic limestone wonders "Devils Kitchen" and "Sugar Loaf," as well as amazing views of the water. Go hiking, bike riding, play a round of golf, shop, take tours, and the list goes on. There is plenty of great dining on the Island, from casual to very formal. Your honeymoon could be what you make it, filled with activities or just relax and be pampered with a massage.
KELLY'S PICK Chippewa Hotel Waterfront
1-800-241-3341 - http://www.chippewahotel.com
Chippewa Hotel offers a Victorian style atmosphere while providing modern amenities, spa treatments at the Lilac Tree Spa, or they will cater to you in your own suite. Located downtown, the Famous Pink Pony Grill is on site to dine. It was voted Michigan's best outdoor patio, a casual dining atmosphere, and has a hot tub that sits up to 30 people! Also offers nightly entertainment. Choose from packages offering chocolates, breakfast in bed, champagne, couples spa massage, relaxing Jacuzzi, carriage tours, Mackinac Island fudge, or rose petal and aromatic bath salts baths. Sounds like a very pampered stay!
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA: "BIG CITY" FEEL CLOSE TO HOME
Indiana's state capital is a fantastic place to visit and enjoy many different sporting events, like the Indy 500, Pacers, Colts, just depends on the time of year you honeymoon, or head to the NCAA Hall of Champions. The Indianapolis Zoo is also a great place to visit and take a swim with Dolphins in the underwater dome that is available all year round. Indianapolis has great museums such as the Eiteljorg Museum, which offers art, history and culture of the indigenous cultures of the American West and Native America, the Indiana State Museum, which houses the IMAX theater, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which offers a variety of different collections. The Circle Center Mall is downtown to satisfy the shopper with a variety of popular big-name stores.
KELLY'S PICK Le Meridien Indianapolis
317-634-3000 - www.lemeridienindianapolis.com
Le Meridien Indianapolis, formally The Canterbury, located downtown, has a private entrance to Circle Centre Mall, the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome via skywalks. The hotel is a Four Diamond hotel, and offers an award-winning AAA Four Diamond restaurant on site. The hotel also offers special packages such as an hour massage and half hour horse drawn carriage ride through downtown. Downtown also offers other great restaurants within walking distance.
MAMMOTH CAVES, KENTUCKY
Experience the adventure of cave exploration at the world's largest cave system.
KARA'S PICK Mammoth Cave Hotel, Mammoth Cave, KY
Explore the world's largest cave system together. Located in South Central Kentucky, Mammoth Caves also offers "surface" hikes, with 52,000 acres of trails, mountain biking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, cave tours, picnic
areas and camping. If you enjoy the outdoors but also crave creature comforts, Mammoth Cave Hotel founded in 1816 boasts of "southern hospitality" and offers both a fine dining restaurant and an "on-the-go" restaurant; or, you can head to nearby Bowling Green, Kentucky for fine dining and local shopping opportunities. If camping is not your cup of tea there are a multitude of lodgings in the area, from hotels to bed and breakfasts to rustic cabins.
BROWN COUNTY, INDIANA: THE ART COLONY OF THE MIDWEST
KARA'S PICK Adventurewood Brown County Log Cabin Rental
812-438-2992 - http://www.adventurewoodlogcabin.com
Surrounded by woods and wildlife, this luxury log cabin has all the amenities one could want in a log cabin, complete with a hot tub, 2 fireplaces, master suite with 2 person Jacuzzi, fireplace and pool table. "Adventurewood cabin was built with many extra â€˜upscale' features and luxury amenities" according to their website, and decorated in lodge/pine tree dÃ©cor. It also features a massive Brown County stone wood-burning fireplace in the great room and is the focal point when you enter this gorgeous log cabin. The Log Master Suite with See-thru Fireplace, Huge 2 person heart-shaped Jacuzzi and Private Balcony is a "Honeymooner's Paradise!" Close to Nashville for food and shopping, but plan on stopping at the grocery on the way in because you may not want to leave!
KARA'S PICK Artists Colony Inn, Nashville, IN
800-370-4703 - http://www.artistscolonyinn.com
A romantic 19th Century Inn located in the heart of Nashville, with honeymoon whirlpool suites, beamed ceilings, original artwork, native stone fireplace, 20 quaint overnight rooms, 3 suites, roof-top Jacuzzi to stargaze or sunbathe, special menu selections, and carriage rides.
TORONTO, CANADA: EUROPEAN CITY FEEL CLOSE TO HOME
Although Toronto was right on the border of 6 hours travel time (some areas in our region extend slightly beyond), both Kara and Kelly felt that it needed to be on the list. With its stone streets and French street signs, you can experience a taste of Europe without the expense. (Keep in mind that if travelling to Canada by plane you will need a passport.) Toronto is rich with historical sites and its diverse cultural scenes. If you are into shopping be sure to hit the Eaton Centre. If shopping is not of interest, head to the CN Tower or the Toronto Skydome. And for sports lovers, go to the Hockey Hall of Fame, or depending on the time of year, get tickets for the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Blue Jays. For the site-seers, Niagara Falls is only 60 miles away form downtown and right in town overlooking the city is The Casa Loma, a castle built in 1914. This city has something for everyone.
KELLY'S PICK Isabella Hotel
416- 922-2203 - http://www.isabellahotel.com
The Isabella Hotel, a private boutique hotel, is a historical landmark in Toronto built in 1891. The hotel consists of two portions: a mansion and a tower, and reflects the rich history of the city. The exterior is beautifully
designed with pure stone. The hotel is located downtown only minutes away from shopping. The mansion holds the regular and deluxe suites, making each suite unique in layout. The tower portion was added in 1914 and consists of all the standard rooms.
KARA'S PICK Le Meridien King Edward
416- 863-9700 - http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien
This historical hotel opened in 1903 as the King Edward, built by George Gooderham-at the time, the richest man in Toronto. The interior includes massive marble columns and a skylight in the lobby. Le Meridien has an
on-site chef who prepares dishes which combine traditional and contemporary preparations. Also on site is The Consort Bar, an atmosphere reminiscent of English aristocrats club, which overlooks the city streets.