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Romantic mini-moon getaways for newlyweds

A beach and ocean view at Gurney's Resort

A beach and ocean view at Gurney's Resort & Seawater Spa in Montauk. Credit: Newsday File/Gordon M. Grant

When Alex and Henry Frelinghuysen got married at St. Andrew’s Dune Church in Southampton last July, they knew they couldn’t take a long honeymoon. Henry manages West Marine, a boating store, and summer is his busiest season. Instead, they booked a room for a couple of days at the Chequit Inn (thechequit.com) on Shelter Island, decompressing and enjoying dinners out in Greenport. They are just getting around to planning a trip to Madagascar.

Increasingly, couples are taking “minimoons” as placeholders for a longer vacation. The reasons vary. For Stephan Bogardus, chef at Greenport’s Halyard Restaurant, and Ph.D. candidate Allegra Borghese, a five-day trip to Rome was a chance to visit Italian relatives who couldn’t make it to the wedding at Castello di Borghese Vineyards in Cutchogue, which Allegra co-owns with her brother. The main honeymoon event was a recent trip to exotic Bora Bora in the South Pacific. Says Bogardus, “Taking a quick and less expensive trip in the short term while saving for a really awesome trip later” is a great way to replenish depleted savings if you have paid for a lot of the wedding yourself. "We decided to take a quick five-day trip to enjoy ourselves and to help lengthen the process of planning the full honeymoon... I think the long process helped us savor the moments."

Brian and Krysten Beltrani of Middletown, Connecticut, tied the knot at Giorgio’s in Baiting Hollow in June. They didn’t want to plan and pack for both a destination wedding and a honeymoon. Their minimoon, four days at an Airbnb in Greenport, “was an awesome experience. It was beautiful weather and we were able to spend a lot of time with each other and our dog Abby, reminiscing over the wedding about how much fun we had.” A planned trip to Hawaii in August was scuttled at the last minute because of a hurricane, but the refreshed Beltranis rebounded, booking a two-week Greek holiday in 24 hours flat.

When it comes to minimoons, Long Island newlyweds have plenty of options:

 Long Island and New York City

 Gold Coast mansion hotels like Oheka Castle (Oheka.com) or the Mansion at Glen Cove (glencovemansion.com) are so close they’re almost staycations. Live like Gatsby, enjoying manicured gardens, fine dining, and in-room massages before returning to the real world.

Less sedate is Montauk. Check into a private cottage at Gurney’s Resort and Seawater Spa (gurneysresorts.com) and enjoy the property’s spa, restaurants, and private beach as well as the town’s lively summer nightlife. Greenport on the North Fork is a low-key choice. Get a room at the ultra-private, super-boho Lin Beach House (linbeachhouse.com), tour wineries during the day, and start off every evening at the inn’s intimate cocktail lounge.   

Or hire a luxury car to bring you to the city on the day after your Long Island nuptials and check into the historic Gramercy Park Hotel (gramercyparkhotel.com). Along with your room key, you’ll get a key to the city’s only private park. Other amenities: Danny Meyer’s Maialino Restaurant and an art collection that includes works by Warhol and Basquiat. If carriage rides in Central Park are on your honeymoon must list, check into the quietly luxurious Pierre (thepierreny.com), which has park views, white glove service, and high tea or drinks in an iconic Art Deco bar. At your doorstep: Madison Avenue shopping and the Museum Mile.

Can’t decide between the country and the city? The Blantyre (Blantyre.com) in Lenox, Massachusetts, and the Baccarat in New York City offer a “City Nights, Country Lights” package: two nights at the Baccarat, which includes a champagne and caviar tea and a spa treatment. A private helicopter will then take you to the luxurious Blantyre for two nights, including a champagne tasting, a private dinner, and a spa treatment.

Road Trip Minimoons

Romantic inns across the Northeast welcome newlyweds with fireplaces, four-poster beds, and more. The Inn at Pleasant Lake (innatpleasantlake.com) in New London, New Hampshire, offers personalized cooking and baking classes for newlyweds, five-course chef’s dinners, sailing and canoeing in the summer, and cozy sleigh rides in the winter.

The Kemble Inn (kembleinn.com), a Gilded Age mansion in Lenox, is a beautiful base for exploring all of the culture that the Berkshires has to offer, including MassMoca and Tanglewood. Suites feature wood-burning fireplaces and mountain views. A honeymoon package includes complimentary Pol Roger Champagne, a spa credit at nearby Canyon Ranch, and food and beverage allowance at the hotel’s restaurants.

Newlyweds will enjoy exploring the wine trails and waterfalls of the upstate Finger Lakes. At the Inns of Aurora (innsofaurora.com), a collection of splendidly renovated mansions or inns, there is fine dining (and a program of cooking classes) and a forthcoming luxurious spa in fall 2020. Other on-site activities include plein air painting instruction, bird-watching, and yoga.

Tia and Michael Zaluski, who wed at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport, opted for a snowy December minimoon at Mountain Top Inn (mountaintopinn.com) in Chittenden, Vermont. “It was hard to take a lot of time off from work, but [with a minimoon] we still had that chance to get away and do something romantic.” Their stay included a horse-drawn sleigh ride through a gentle snowfall with, “the most perfect snowflakes” they had ever seen. An ice rink, two restaurants, and a spa round out the resort’s offerings and Killington skiing is just 11 miles away.

The Poconos in Pennsylvania are a traditional honeymooners’ choice, with plenty of skiing, hiking, and fly fishing nearby. Skip the tacky hotels with heart-shaped bathtubs and check into a cool airbnb cabin in the woods. There are plenty of chicly decorated, economical choices, many with fireplaces, hot tubs, and lake or creek views. An adorable “Bohemian Nest” in Pocono Pines (www.airbnb.com/rooms/plus) rents for just $29/night.

On the other end of the budget spectrum is ritzy Newport, Rhode Island. Stay at The Chanler (thechanler.com), a 19th-century mansion with 20 elegant rooms on Newport’s famed Cliff Walk. Arrange for caviar and Champagne in your room on arrival. Let your butler draw an aromatherapy bath for you and your partner or enjoy an in-room couples massage. There are two fine dining restaurants on the premises, and many more nearby. Complimentary car service will take you into town.

Easy Flights

For Sarah and Alexander Exarchou, weather was a deciding minimoon factor. The couple wanted to travel to the Greek island of Rhodes after their November wedding at Larkfield in Northport, but at that time of year most of Rhodes would have been closed for the season. They flew to Mexico for four nights instead, “because it was inexpensive and warm,” says Sarah. Then they spent three weeks in Greece during the summer.

Long Island’s proximity to airports puts beachy minimoons within reach. Get a cheap flight from Islip to Fort Lauderdale and then splurge on an ocean-view Presidential Suite at the Diplomat Hotel (diplomatresort.com), a full-service resort with 10 restaurants, two pools, a beach, spa, and a restaurant run by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian. Shop East Las Olas Boulevard. Enjoy some kitschy old Florida entertainment at the Wreck Bar, where “mermaids” perform in an aquarium tank or go the Mai-Kai, a tiki bar on Florida’s National Register of Historic Places.

Islip also offers nonstop service to Palm Beach. The Four Seasons (fourseasons.com/palmbeach) is a luxury honeymoon choice, with plenty of romantic activities for newlyweds: private spa suites for two, candlit cabana dinners on the beach, complimentary bicycles for exploring the area, champagne brunches at the International Polo Club, and concierge-arranged yachting.

 Or follow the Exarchous’ example and head south of the border (if you have your passports) to super-cool Tulum, with its white sand beaches and Mayan ruins. La Valise Tulum (lavalisetulum.com) has rooms with palapa roofs, Mexican handicrafts, and king-size beds, as well as an infinity pool, private beach, and award-winning restaurant.

Another ultra-romantic destination is St. Lucia’s Boucan Hotel Chocolat (hotelchocolat.com). Situated on a working cocoa estate, it boasts treehouse-style rooms with Caribbean views and open sky rainforest showers. A honeymoon package includes all meals, full-body cacao massages, and a bottle of chilled Champagne in room on arrival.

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