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Domestic foodie honeymoons?

I know the "proper" thing to do is to flit off to a foreign locale and eat one's way through several countries on a honeymoon. But doggone it, we like the USA! And we really feel like we haven't explored it enough, so I'm looking for domestic honeymoon spots.

First and foremost HAS to be food. I don't want to look back and not remember at least a few exquisite meals.

At the same time, it is a honeymoon, so the presence of a world class hotel is absolutely necessary as well. Where oh where?

Since it'll be January, I was thinking Aspen. A winter wonderland honeymoon? But how's the food? Snow and food don't necessarily go hand in hand for me.

New Orleans? We've been and loved it, but were hoping to go somewhere new.

We have no shortage of international destinations we'd love to hit, and not necessarily immediately after the wedding (opt to wait a few months and do a spring/summer getaway).

But really, I'd love domestic options that combine food and romance.

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  1. NYC.

    Sure, it may not be the most exotic of places, even for a domestic destination, but the city has everything from great dining to top notch hotels. As a former native, Manhattan really can be a wonderland in winter.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Haha. I second NYC! Even though Pei just visited. Stay at the Four Seasons, Plaza Hotel, or Mandarin Oriental and this time you can do more low end food stuff. Plaza Hotel overlooks Central Park which is beautiful blanketed in snow. If you like molecular gastronomy, there's WD-50. It can get weird at times but if it floats your boat...

      Napa/Yountville but you've probably done that during your bay area stint.

      Portland based on this recent NYT review.


      1. re: Porthos

        Portland/wine country/Oregon coast is a great idea. The winter coast is uncrowded, great for stormwatching. Dungeness crab season. Pinot tasting. All manner of inventive artistic original tasty food in Portland.

        1. re: Leonardo

          Ditto to that. The Willamette Valley wine region is beautiful, full of interesting wineries and restaurants, and close to the romantic Oregon coast--and you will, of course, find plenty of great food and interesting things to do in Portland.

    2. What about the wine country in Northern CA then eat your way down the coastline?

      1. What about a wine tour of the PNW? Oregon and Washington are peppered with great little wineries.

        1 Reply
        1. re: odkaty

          Yeah! Right now we are planning to do Seattle and HOPEFULLY Vancouver (Kind domestic!) I can't wait! :)


        2. 1) Honolulu/Waikiki
          2) San Francisco
          3) New York
          4) Chicago
          5) Las Vegas

          We got married in Las Vegas, & our honeymoon was in Honolulu, we decided on that location because of the ammount of quality dining options compared to the other islands. Hawaii is paradise, and probably the best destination for a honeymoon in my humble opinion. I also wouldnt want to be driving all over the place, not enought time to relax, and enjoy each others company if you are trekking all over the place.

          I am also a spoiled American, and didnt want to put up with some of the issues that can pop up in a foreign country(poor service, crime, tourist traps, beggars, etc). Like we had to endure in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and other Carribean islands. For my money I will take Hawaii, Florida, and Hilton Head, SC. over pretty much anywhere I've been. The one exception being the 2 weeks I spent in England, what a great country, and people.

          1. 11 years ago we did the very same thing. We toured northern & north central California. We flew into San Francisco, stayed a night there, rented a car. Drove to Napa and toured some wineries and ate, ate, ate. Drove back to San Fran for a few more days and again, ate, museums, etc. Then drove down the coast to Monteterey and spent the night (it was Halloween) at a beautiful inn in Carmel, The Normandy Inn. Then we headed over to Yosemite National Park and spent a night there before heading back to the city. It was a fantastic time... probably the best trip I've ever taken. We planned everything in advance but left room for leisure. So easy!

            NYC is obviously a great choice too. The food options there are practically endless.

            Which ever you chose... I think it's a great alternative to a random beach trip. Have a fabulous time!

            1. Thanks, everyone! I guess I was hoping someone would know of a snow-covered hamlet in the middle of nowhere (with really great food, ha).

              Barring that, aren't there "come vacation and cook with us" programs in Napa? We do love Nor Cal, and the sappy sentimentalist in me thinks it would be nice to have a honeymoon location accessible enough that we can go back throughout our lives. Relax, eat, buy some wine, spend a day in a kitchen together learning a few trick from some pros--I think for us it would be very memorable.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Pei

                Hi Pei:

                We honeymooned in Napa (Carneros actually) 3 yrs ago in December because we could not get away for a longer trip. I am so glad we did! We do go back every year to the same hotel, the same room even. We eat at diffferent places and tour different wineries with a few return visits to our favourites, with less anxiety about having to cram everything in as we know we will be back next year....I am actually planning this years trip.

                The CIA is nearby and there are others places that probably offer the cooking holiday thing, although on your honeymoon, maybe you want to consider spending more time eating and "napping" .

                I think it is a GREAT idea!

                1. re: Pei

                  You just missed a "snow-covered hamlet in the middle of nowhere (with really great food)" by one year. In Ellsworth, Michigan, there is a restaurant of renown called Tapawingo. Sadly, this is the first winter that they will be shutting down for the season. There is another destination restaurant, The Rowe Inn, in the same town. Both are wonderful with good reputations. Nearby is the Grand Traverse Resort, which is excellent, but perhaps not "world class." Oh well, maybe put it in the back of your mind for a foodie anniversary trip?

                2. Great idea to honeymoon on this side of pond. We just got back fom both UK & Europe and the exchange rate is so crappy that it was hard to choke down my dinner. We arent poor but paying $24 or 12 pounds for spaghetti in London was hard to swallow. Add a glass of wine and you're at another $16 or 8 pounds.

                  sorry for the rant! We saved a long time for our trip and we LOVE to try new foods but the exchange was bad for us.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stellamystar

                    One more thought...

                    Vermont is lovely-rolling hills, old barns, sugar shacks, frozen waterfalls. Lake Champlain. The food is really good-at least in Burlington and around the villages of Topsham. Maple syrup! Nothing like fresh syrup from a local producer.

                    Also-the area around the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is spectacular. There are little hamlets along the Niagara River, some wineries too and I remember the food was spectacular. I love Canadians too!

                    1. re: Densible

                      Yes, I was going to suggest Vermont also. Depending on how far north you go,you can also then nip over the border to the Eastern Townships of Quebec for a day trip (or overnight). No shortage of good food there.

                  2. Well, for my money I think going somewhere neither of you has been before is cool. Explore a new place together.

                    I also happen to like driving so a trip that does that for me is great. I am born, bred, raised, East Coast, so to me a start at Oregon and driving (eating my way) south woudl be awesome.
                    And I have been to B&B that have made more a fuss over me than any world class place, so I like those too, great local flavor.

                    Might you consider southwest? Arizona, into Texas to Baja?

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Quine

                      For some reason, my fiance has always wanted to go to New Mexico. No knock against NM, I just don't know where he got the idea from. It's very persistent and without reason. It's not like he can pinpoint that there's a particular thing about it that appeals to him. Anyway... are there many good eats in Santa Fe? I've always heard it's a great place, lots of local flavor what with all the artists who live there. And Texas? Well, I love beef so you've got me there.

                      1. re: Pei

                        Great food is found everywhere. And the desert and canyons I hear are awesome. Sedona Az also looks fantastic.

                        What a great way to start your life together than to explore that wish to see it, new horizons?

                        I grew up and have always lived within a short distance from the eastern coast. I know ocean, so to me it would be wonderous to see an ocean of desert.

                        1. re: Pei

                          Yes, Santa Fe has some great food. I have had memorable meals at SantaCafe and Geronimo. Lots to explore of Native culture, art, etc.

                          However, I don't think of it as a January destination. Best time, for me, is late Summer/September.

                          1. re: Pei

                            My first thought was northern CA wine country plus San Francisco. For January, though, that's not what I would recommend.

                            Santa Fe could really work well for you - tons of great food, a beautiful place, and depending on how you arrange your trip and where you stay it can be quite romantic. it's a favorite place for me and my wife - i'd be glad to correspond with you offline if you're seriously considering it. geofflaredo@hotmail.com

                            1. re: Geoff

                              I would love to! Seriously, Santa Fe would be very new and interesting for us. We used to live in SF, so while we love wine country that's kind of our backup. Give me some time to think about questions for you. I'll keep your e-mail handy. Thank you so much!

                              1. re: Pei

                                Sante Fe is beautiful in winter especially if it snows. We used to stay at the Inn of the Anasazi and this other place with Pink Adobe walls around it-very lovely and private. The tops of the buildings are lit by luminaria (sp-the paper bags with candles) at night. The food is great and the atmosphere is magical. Very spiritual and restorative to the soul. From there you can easily drive to Taos and to Albuquerque (sp). Both are lovely and have excellent foodie resources.

                            2. re: Pei

                              I never thought of Texas as a food destination, but maybe that's because I grew up there. You'll likely have a hard time finding upscale eating outside Houston, Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth, but you can find amazing tacos and bbq almost anywhere. Check the Texas board for suggestions if you decide to go that way. And the weather's nice this time of year!

                          2. Portland/Seattle; SF, north to Sonoma/Mendecino coast and for something entirely different--Washington DC: good to great ethnic (the last time i had great pad thai in the US was 15 years ago at a Thai resto in Silver Spring just no. of DC) and American food (Citronelle is fantastic) in all price ranges, uncrowded museums, theatre and the usual monuments. Not too far south near the Gettysburg battle field is the Inn at Little Washington, very pricey but oh so special food and accomodations.

                            1. What about the Low Country? Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA, with lots of excellent food and relatively mild weather.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                Damnit, you beat me to the punch. I was going to recommend both! Both are sultry, historic places with good culinary history. Though I do have to also say that Chicago is heads and shoulders better a honeymoon city for foodies than NYC. Reason Number 1: no dodging garbage piles outside your romantic restaurant...

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  I love Chicago, but January in NYC might be a tad more comfortable than January when the wind comes whipping around those corners !

                                  IMO, Charleston food is nowhere near the caliber of Chicago or NYC (hell, it's not even as good as Atlanta to me) , but the weather should be WAY better and it's a very romantic city. I envision a big, gorgeous rental house on the beach (cheap in January) , huddled by the fire and watching the surf roll in...then making the 15-20 minute drive into Charleston when the urge for history, shopping and dining strikes.

                              2. I was going to suggest Los Angeles until I saw who the OP was. Hi Pei.

                                I just got back from Portland with its great mountain views, lush landscape and great food, though I don't know what it would be like in the winter.

                                But another suggestion would be Santa Fe. Lots of art and sculpture and great food, as well as the mystique of the high desert (Albuquerque, also).

                                1. I second the above recommendation for Quebec. Montreal and Quebec City are beautiful in the winter, and have a lot of unique dining options.

                                  1. Just to add more options: Miami- particularly south beach has some very high end hotels, and some good food spots.

                                    Oh there was this hotel on Great Hotels on the travel channel in Colorado that looked very nice I think it is the Broadmoor, never been, but looked like it could be honeymoonish. Beaver Creek has some good restaurants and places to stay too?

                                    Also what about Hawaii? It is in the US, but very honeymoonish? And good food.

                                    Haha I watch too much travel channel, but on another great hotels episode there was a really nice romantic, hotel in New Mexico that bf had stayed at a conference and wants to take me back too, it is bookmarked on the home computer I will add it later.

                                    What about the Greenbrier? They have a lot of culinary classes, a great spa, good food, lots of activities.

                                    The Inn at Little Washington probably wouldn't have enough activities for a long honeymoon.

                                    I really loved Quebec City which is international, but not also... it is cold, but so beautiful in the winter, with excellent food options.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ktmoomau

                                      It's debatable whether or not Miami is a food destination--a lot of big names and overpriced entrees and unimaginative wine lists. The latin food is stellar though. Places like Michael's Genuine and Michy's may have legitimate cuisine but SF and LA do better versions of their type of cooking.

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        Yeah, but SF and LA just aren't all that romantic to me at all... Parts of Miami are. But if I was staying in the US for a honeymoon I would be going to Hawaii, but I am an international, see through blue water type of girl.

                                    2. Savannah
                                      Vancouver (N. America!)
                                      Montreal (NA)

                                      1. Hi Pei,

                                        You probably have everything planned, but if No Cal is on your itinerary, I would Highly recommend taking cooking classes at Ramekins Cooking School in Sonoma. It gets wonderful high profile chefs as well as very good local talent. They offer master classes from time to time which are amazing.

                                        I personally find the NoCal wine country to be especially romantic in the winter and it is my favorite time of the year to visit. There is no one around, the weather is gentle with no snow to deal with. The locals are very laid back and casual, but the quality of restaurants is superb.

                                        If you wind up in Sonoma, I hope you enjoy yourselves. Wherever you decide to honeymoon, you will have a wonderful time because you'll be with your new spouse!!

                                        1. Pei,
                                          I would definitely consider New Orleans. The most beautiful neighborhoods are still in great shape, the food is out of this world, there's a great culture all around you, and it is completely unique as an American city. You could also do excursions into Cajun country if needed. The area near Tulane is one of the most beautiful I've ever been to, the French Quarter like nothing I've seen in the U.S. (great during the day and great shopping for special things you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere) and all of these places are still vibrant and much larger than I would have thought. there's also live music everywhere, and if you do a little research some AMAZING jazz and blues can be found. not to mention the slow trolley that goes all through town and forces you into the slower pace of the other passengers if you decide to take it. there's also plenty of luxury, these people know what they're doing when it comes to indulgence and food. unfortunately i can't recommend a hotel but it should be easy enough to find one online.
                                          My impression from the news coverage after the storm is that the outer neighborhoods were the most effected, but check on the state of things first. have fun on your honey moon.
                                          btw, there's a hazy magic to New Orleans that would make it a very fun, very sexy honeymoon destination.

                                          1. Charleston South Carolina and stay at The Wentworth Mansion or The Market Pavillion.

                                            NYC and stay at The Pierre, The St. Regis, The Mandarin Oriental, The Carlyle, or The Four Seasons.

                                            1. The perfect two foodie honeymoon cities in my opinion would be San Francisco or New Orleans. Both are romantic and laid back but offer plenty of culture and unbelievable cuisine. Since you'd been to NOLA, I would do San Francisco. While New York City may be a great food city, I am not sure I'd want to deal with the hustle and bustle during my honeymoon. (Edited to add: Now I see that you live in California and have already been to SF!)

                                              Funny to see this topic; my fiancee and I decided against going to Spain this year for our honeymoon in March. We've decided instead to spend a few days hiking in the smokie's around Gatlinburg, then doing the Lowcountry food tour of Charlston and Savannah. We've already been to SF and NOLA (3 times) this past year.


                                              1. My SO and I had a wonderful time this summer in Mendocino. We stayed at the MacCallum House, a great little B&B with a wonderful chef. Anderson Valley wineries are right there, also. Don't know what the weather's like in the winter, but the food and wine are both great, and the village is very romantic.