Sweet Escapes: Virginia Honeymoons

Discover honeymoon destinations right here in Central and Southwest Virginia.

You’ll never forget how it felt to walk down the aisle, the emotion of declaring your love to your special someone in front of friends and family, and the excitement when you officially become someone’s husband or wife. By the end of the evening, as you wave goodbye to your guests, it will all seem like a wonderful, cake-filled dream. Fortunately, for most newlywed couples, the dream doesn’t end when the tablecloths are cleared and the DJ packs up his equipment. For some, the best part is just beginning.

In most cases, your wedding day is your opportunity to celebrate one of life’s great joys with those closest to you, especially your family. The honeymoon, on the other hand, is just for you and your new spouse. Those few days—or few weeks—are a respite from the stress of wedding planning, time to enjoy being married before returning to the real world of conference calls and doctor’s appointments and car payments. Honeymoons come in all shapes and sizes: all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, cozy log cabins in the mountains, cross-country road trips and river cruises.

Here in Central and Southwest Virginia, newlywed couples can find a honeymoon destination that suits their taste and budget, from mountain getaways to romantic wine tours, luxury spas and water sports.

Wine And Unwind

The Shenandoah Valley is home to more than 20 vineyards and wineries along the 170-mile Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, which stretches from Eagle Rock in the south to Winchester in the north. For couples looking to discover the amazing and unique wines produced right here in the valley, look no further than a romantic honeymoon full of wine tours, exceptional food, antique shopping and luxury inns.

Private, intimate, and very romantic. That’s how Janice Fitzgerald, one of the innkeepers at By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages in Harrisonburg describes the luxury accommodations on the nine-acre property. She and her husband Dennis are dedicated to ensuring guests, and especially newlyweds, have a relaxing and romantic experience when they stay at any one of the private cottages. Oversized whirlpool tubs, wood-burning fireplaces, homemade breakfast delivered right to your cabin door, and complimentary wine upon arrival…these are just a few things you can expect when you choose By the Side of the Road for your honeymoon.

“People are very hard working and don’t always have a lot of time to spend together,” says Fitzgerald. “The easier we can make it for them when they’re at the inn, the better it. We want to make the experience romantic and memorable without having them spend a lot of effort planning the trip.”

Janice and Dennis certainly go above and beyond to ensure guests feel welcome and comfortable during their stay, be it a couple of days or a full week. A hot, gourmet breakfast is delivered to the doors of the cottages daily, and they never repeat the same breakfast twice. “Every day is different,” says Fitzgerald, “and we can accommodate dietary restrictions.”

Couples can also enjoy a romantic picnic lunch of bread, cheese and dessert by the pond or in town at one of the wineries. And, as guests of By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages, you can partake in free wine tastings at several local vineyards, as well as special offers when you visit all four of the nearby breweries.

Mountain Escape

If you think you have to pay hundreds of dollars for plane tickets in order to bask in the refined glow of an all-inclusive luxury resort, you’d be mistaken. The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to a sprawling 12,000-acre retreat with world-class dining, deluxe spa services, endless scenic trails for hiking and mountain biking…what more could you want?

At Primland you feel transported to another time and place entirely. “The resort is surrounded by natural beauty that lends itself to unique privacy but with all of the amenities of a luxury resort,” says Primland director of marketing Julee Midden. “The location is an easy one to travel to from most of the eastern coast. You feel as though you are away from everything without having to travel far to do so.”

Picture this: You wake up to the sun rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains and the smell of freshly brewed coffee right in your suite…or tree house, if you prefer. “A lot of couples tend to book the Treehouses,” says Midden. “They are very private and very cozy with an amazing deck.”
You spend the morning on the links of the Highland Course, mountain biking,  paddle boarding or horseback riding. And of course a honeymoon is not complete with a trip to the Spa at the Lodge where they offer couples treatments.

You end your day with dinner at elements, sampling menu items made from local, organic and sustainable ingredients. “We are firm believers in supporting our local community, and we have a wide variety of foods in our own ‘backyard,'” says Midden. “We have our own chef’s garden on property, and our chef will also offer foraging through the forest as he gathers items for that day’s menus that our guests can join in as well as cooking classes.”

No matter how you choose to fill your days at Primland, you can be certain that they will do everything to make your honeymoon special and romantic. “The staff are all aware of the purpose of your visit and make sure they have a romantic experience,” says Midden. “During their dinner we offer champagne and/or dessert. We also offer private dinner on their deck, at our chef’s table or in a private area of the resort if the weather permits.”

The many destinations throughout Central and Southwest Virginia offer myriad different views, accommodations, activities, and amenities. But one thing they all have in common: You are guaranteed to have a memorable honeymoon you’ll want to revisit for years to come.

Real Sweet Escapes

Every couple is different, and when it comes to planning a honeymoon, there is something for every taste and budget. Here’s what several local couples had to say about their post-nuptial getaways:

“For our honeymoon our idea was to combine our love of entertainment with our active lifestyle. So we came up with the idea to do a tour of Nevada, Utah and Arizona. Each location provided us with something different to do and kept us engaged the whole trip.” –Dustin and Eric Cupp-Thompson, married in Vinton on May 1, 2015 (In our 4th issue, page 42.)

“We went to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. We decided not to fly so we could spend more one-on-one time with each other. We talked a lot during the 13-hour drive.” –Derek and Ashlee Hurt, married in Vinton on May 2, 2015

“We went to Couples Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Secret best thing: Having our first 10 days as a married couple totally away from email, phone, and work to just be together.” –Tom and Emily Hartka, married in Charlottesville on June 27, 2015

“We traveled to Riviera Maya, Mexico. We felt for what the resort offered and the price it was the best deal, and we were not disappointed. It was peaceful and relaxing, and that’s exactly what we wanted in a honeymoon.” –Matt and Laura Sams, married in Roanoke on August 22, 2015 (In our 4th issue, page 80.)