When Michael and I got married, a honeymoon wasn’t even remotely in the cards for us. We maxed out our limited finances and our time off for the wedding itself, and made the unwise decision to go right back to work the Tuesday after we got married. It is, without a doubt, the one thing I would go back and do-over again, even if it did mean taking unpaid vacation days. We were cranky, and tired, and hadn’t had time to process the hugeness of what had just happened. But what were we going to do? It’s not like we could just magically make an extra few thousand dollars appear in our bank accounts.
Except, we were thinking about it all wrong. The modern honeymoon in all of its tropical glory is awesome if you can make it happen, but it’s also not the point. We had pressured ourselves into believing that we needed a huge lavish vacation to have a honeymoon, when what we really needed was a few days to be with each other and digest the commitment we’d just made (and maybe have sex and sleep in a little bit and not answer emails). Aka, a mini-moon.
While the name could maybe use some work, the idea behind the mini-moon is simple: you don’t have to go far to get away. Just hop over to the next town, shack up together, and enjoy some quality time with your partner in a place where you won’t be tempted to tackle your laundry pile. (Heads up: mini-moons aren’t just for newlyweds either. What I’m describing sounds exactly like what Michael and I could use at the moment.) But living near a big city (as it turns out half of APWers do) often means I get so overwhelmed with the options that I just… never pull the trigger. So today, we’ve partnered with Airbnb to bring you ideas for mini-moons that you can take in your own backyard (well, less than a few hours drive from your backyard) for less than $500. With Airbnb, you can rent entire homes and apartments, often for the same price as a hotel (or cheaper). Which means less needing to plan your trip and more sitting back and enjoying it. And now the big news…we’ll be giving away a $500 mini-moon from Airbnb at the end of the post! So keep reading to find out more, because not being able to afford a seven-day all-inclusive honeymoon halfway around the globe shouldn’t mean you can’t still fundamentally have a honeymoon (and a pretty awesome one at that).
Don’t live near one of the cities below? Airbnb has a ton of stylish rental options all over the world, at more price points than I know what to do with. But if we missed a big one, leave it in the comments and we’ll see if we can’t tackle a few more in the future. But for now, here are three awesome mini-moon ideas that you can do near New York, San Francisco, and LA (engaged, married, or otherwise):
From SAN FRANCISCO: Sonoma, The Other Wine Country
THE MINI-MOON: Live out your childhood fantasies by spending a weekend in your very own tree house in Petaluma, CA.
THE ACCOMMODATIONS: This is the dream right? A multi-level tree house where you can stay up past your bedtime, and there are no adults allowed. Plus, this particular tree house has a queen bed, which means you don’t have to deal with the uncomfortable childhood reality of sleeping bags on the floor. Also, your childhood dreams didn’t have wine country just down the road, but your adult reality can.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE: Lucky for you, somebody on our staff spends a lot of time in Sonoma, and we pried her best tips out of her. (Cough, Meg.) She recommends getting off the beaten track by driving alllll the way up to Geyserville to do a tasting at the tiny Meeker tasting room, housed in a hundred-year-old bank building. (The drive is pretty, the wine is damn good, and unpretentious as hell.) On your way back, hit up the all-the-locals-know-it’s amazing Ridge tasting room. For a little bit of really enjoyable luxe, visit the newly blinged out Francis Ford Coppola Winery, one of the few places that breaks the rule that the fancier the grounds, the worse the wine. (And if you plan far enough in advance, like, six months in advance, you can even book a Cabine at the nicest pool in Sonoma.) Also, Sonoma is known for it’s antique and vintage stores. Forget high-end furniture you can’t afford, and fill your car with records, cool old quilts, sixties cocktail shakers, and random clothing items. Most of the time, the prices are so good you can pay for things with that wadded up $20 bill in your wallet. But for the truly obscure sightseeing, may I recommend Rancho Obi Wan? I mean, I’m pretty sure nothing says honeymoon to Michael more than Star Wars memorabilia. But maybe that’s just us.
From NEW YORK CITY: The Artistic Hudson River Valley
THE MINI-MOON: Have it both ways with a modern secluded retreat in the Hudson Valley.
THE ACCOMMODATIONS: In a city where everyone’s rushing 24/7, taking a breather becomes essential to basic sanity. However for a (super short) drive, you can have your very own creek in your backyard! Plus, get all the creature comforts people who live in not-New-York take for granted, like a wood fireplace, and the ability eat breakfast while overlooking a whole lot of nature. A note on transportation: this home is just a ten-minute cab ride from the Cold Spring Metro North station (a little more than an hour’s ride from the city!). However, for those who can drive but don’t have wheels, Zipcar or Relay Rides are excellent (and affordable) tools.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE: Hudson Valley is really quaint (there’s barely any sirens!). So what else does a tired city-slicker need? But if you want to do more than just sleep in and look out your window, I asked Najva (our resident New Yorker) for her best tips on things to do around town. For history buffs you can basically just pick your century: for eighteenth and nineteenth century, drop by the nearby Boscobel estate; or if mid-century is more your speed, there’s always Russel Wright’s house. Or if you want to go way back, you can always visit a castle, because, why not? For modernists and art enthusiasts, Beacon is a haven. Dia: Beacon is infamous if you need a culture fix, or for more modern art that’s a little off the beaten path, I have it on good authority that Storm King is the place to go (it’s a sculptural park, so art plus nature equals win). The state park is for hiking and seeing stunning views of the Hudson River and Catskills, and generally forgetting that cities exist. Bonus: If you drive back to the city, stop by Jones Farm for apple cider donuts and all the eggs, honey, and produce a locavore could ever want. Thank us later.
From LOS ANGELES: The super Hip Joshua Tree (And Palm SPrings Too)
MINI-MOON: Become one with the desert in Joshua Tree National Park.
THE ACCOMMODATIONS: Joshua Tree is not short on hip, affordable places to stay—from modern cabins that cost less than $100 a night to this dome house that kind of reminds me of a desert igloo. But for honeymooning, you just can’t beat a private hot tub overlooking the desert mountains.
THINGS TO DO AND SEE: The brilliant thing about Joshua Tree is that you’ve got nature at your doorstep—hiking, biking, camping and climbing, take your pick. Not to mention, the whole place got achingly hip in the past handful of years. (I mean, check out artist Lily Stockman’s ponderings on Joshua Tree.) We asked Jamie Street of Rad + In Love (who got married in Joshua Tree before it was achingly hip) for her best insider tips on where all the cool kids are hanging out. She says you can’t go wrong with a tour of Keys Ranch (bring your camera, it’s like traveling back in time). For highbrow exploration, try the Noah Purifoy Sculpture Garden or Integration (which describes itself as “kindergarten naptime for grown ups in a sound sphere”). Lowbrow: shop for vintage western wear at Ricochet Vintage Wears, handmade ceramics at bkb ceramics, and a combination of new and old at The End. At night, hop over to Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, where there’s live music every night and everyone is welcome: “Cowboys, bikers, Marines, desert rats, two-steppers, rock climbers, tourists and kids.” Joshua Tree is also less than an hour away from Palm Springs, which means more amazing shopping: clothes, vintage furniture, don’t mind if I do. Plus, it gives you your pick of hotel pools (without, you know, having to actually stay in a hotel). The Ace Swim Club gives you all-day pool access for $30… and more importantly, all day boozy slushy access. And hit up the excellent restaurant scene, before heading back to your lush desert oasis… and hot tub, all for a fraction of the price, and way more cool power and living space, than any of those expensive hotels.
airbnb is giving away a $500 mini-moon credit to one lucky apw reader! enter to win below.
Note: Travel must be booked by June 30, 2015. Actual dates of travel can be anytime after this date. Airbnb credit is open to all APW readers (not just US residents), and travel can be anywhere that Airbnb offers rentals (domestic, international, tree house, you name it).