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East Coast Hound Honeymoon

My fiance and I are wrapping up a very pleasant overall but disappointing meal-wise extended weekend to a B&B in Staunton, VA. (We live in DC.) Of the last three nights of meals, only a few dishes are memorable. We're planning our wedding and honeymoon for late June, and would like to be wowed on that trip!

We're thinking a B&B in a pretty, scenic location (not in a downtown area) with reasonable proximity to a week's worth of truly great, hound-approved restaurants would be an awesome honeymoon. We're not vegetarians and ethnic food is A-OK. Beaches not required. We will travel anywhere on the East Coast, from Maine to Florida. DC, obviously, is home and thus out of the question. :)

Any suggestions for where to look?

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  1. Consider Providence, RI. There is a wonderful historic B&B called The Old Court (www.oldcourt.com). There are wonderful old neighborhoods to explore, including Portuguese, Asian and Italian, as well as all sorts of interesting new cuisines with lots of outdoor places from formal to very casual. They have Waterfire at that time of the year (google it to see exactly what it is and when) and it is just an easy city to spend time in. It was recently named one of the undiscovered/underrated cities by Travel and Leisure magazine and is well worth a long visit. I moved away 13 years ago and still miss it.

      1. re: shaebones

        Throw on a ferry trip to Vinalhaven and you're talkin'.

        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          Thanks for the suggestion. I've posted a couple inquiries in the Northern and Southern NE boards. I've been to coastal Maine once before - scenery was just amazing!

          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

            North Haven has more class. Check out the Nebo Lodge.
            Bar Harbor, too many tourists.
            Portland, lots of facilities.
            By the 3rd week in June, many Maine coastal tourists spots will be crowded.
            Rent a cabin on a lake?

          1. re: Sue in Mt P

            Charleston was my first thought as well, and other than the heat I think it would be perfect.

            Asheville, NC and Savanah, GA would also be nice.

            1. re: mpjmph

              Asheville, NC is also a good suggestion. Biltmore is the main attraction and its gardens are extensive and beautiful--when I was there one spring I remarked the only thing missing while I sat on a bench was a pina colada (it was hot). We got up, and 100 yards later was a refreshment stand offering pina coladas, daquiris, etc ;)

              You can easily spend 2 days at this estate alone, between the mansion, gardens, winery and special tours (check out the rooftop tour, the scenery is amazing.) There are several reastaurants on the estate and they were all excellent. Also, don't miss Rezaz in Asheville for its excellent seafood Paella and the Chocolate Fetish in town for, well, chocolate.

              1. re: mpjmph

                North Carolina is generally stunningly beautiful, IME. A great choice.

                Charleston and Savannah are also lovely but I'd think the heat might be an issue for some. Wouldn't bother me but most of my family would melt down into puddles -- grumpy, sticky puddles! ;)

                1. re: LauraGrace

                  Yep, I'm one of those grumpy, sticky puddles, which is why my visits south are in April, October or even December.

                  On a different note, tripadvisor.com voted Cape May, NJ the second best beach destination in the US after Myrtle Beach.

                  1. re: gaffk

                    Yeah....after thinking about it I doubt we'll want to go south. Fiance likes heat but I'm firmly in the grumpy sticky puddle category during humid summers! :) Also we'll be on the Outer Banks later in the summer so will already be getting some Carolina this year. That reminds me, I'll need to check back to get BBQ recs!

                2. re: mpjmph

                  Charleston was my first thought as well.
                  It might be a little toasty, be anywhere in the deep south would be. They could just dress light, dig in and enjoy :) I lived there for 6 years and didn't melt.

                1. if you like mountains, take a look at woodstock, vt and some places in the hudson river valley (new paltz ny).

                  1. I would second Cape May--fabulous restaurants and B&Bs in a Victorian seaside town (as far south in NJ as you can get). I have had some of my most memorable meals in this town.

                    Also, look into Newport, RI. A very scenic, walkable town with some fantastic dining. Touring the "summer cottages" of the 19th century magnates is a great way to spend a day and they have a cliff walk that's spectacular.

                    You can take escondido's suggestion and stay in Providence and take the ferry to Newport or, stay in Newport and take the ferry to Providence. Since you're looking for more of a non-urban vibe, I'd lean towards Newport.

                    My final suggestion would be to check out the Brandywine Valley area of Del/PA. Again, good B&Bs and restaurants with plenty of other things to do (wineries, Longwood Gardens, etc).

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: gaffk

                      I missed the "not downtown" part, but noted the "beaches not required." Newport is a lovely city, but I'd be hard-pressed to spend a week there--there's only so many mansions you want to visit-- and I don't think the breadth or depth of restaurants compares with Providence. Providence really has a small-town feel and lots of interesting neighborhoods, and since it is home to Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, it also is very arty.

                      On a totally different vibe, I absolutely love Key West and spent a wonderfully relaxed week there without ever putting on a bathing suit. Great architecture/neighborhoods and all sorts of wonderful restaurants. I would go there in a heartbeat and there is a great hotel called the Marquise, with its own great restaurant, that offers very nice accommodations with private porches and the best cafe au lait and croissants delivered to your suite for breakfast.

                      PS If you find some spots that look interesting, you might want to go onto those geographic specific boards to get up-to-date info from the locals.

                      1. re: escondido123

                        Actually, I've never been to the beaches of Newport (as a sunburn-in-a-second gal, I'm not big on beaches). I usually do Newport on 4 day long weekends and have never been bored or run out of dining options--it's just a beautiful, mellow place to relax and I find myself spending much more time on the grounds and gardens of the "cottages" than in the houses themselves.

                        I loved Providence and its restaurants, neighborhoods and shops as well. (But then I'm a city girl.) That's why I thought a stay in one, ferry to the other, was a perfect trip. Since I'm not familiar with B&Bs in Providence, but know lots of great ones exist in Newport, and Newport is much less urban . . .Both offer nice choices, ocean outings, cultural attractions.

                        In fact, I am now ready to schedule my next Providence\Newport get away. This time, I'll stay in Providence :)

                        1. re: gaffk

                          Both great towns, but always thought Newport's restaurants were a little more tourist oriented. I think it also matters why you are going. Providence is a more serious food place, but certainly not as mellow as Newport. Be sure to go to Al Forno in Providence, world renowned, don't take reservations, but their grilled pizza and baked pasta are amazing.

                          1. re: escondido123

                            I'll check out Providence and Newport - thanks! Would never have thought to look in Rhode Island - never been there. Any other places besides Al Forno that you like in Providence?

                            1. re: Aravisea

                              I second the Al Forno rec. When I'm in Providence for work, I always get a sandwich for lunch from Farmstead, and they are delicious. The same group runs a bistro called La Laiterie that I have not been to, but that I believe has received very good reviews. Check it out.

                              I think Providence is a great rec in general but my vote goes to Portland ME, which is also a great food city. Both are kind of urban, but they are small cities so I think they won't necessarily feel that way to bigger-city-dwellers.

                      2. re: gaffk

                        I have a hard time getting excited about New Jersey. Guess I always picture the shore crowded with tourists and boardwalks etc. - not quite the vibe we're looking for on this trip. Or are there parts of the shore that are genuinely quiet and more isolated?

                        1. re: Aravisea

                          Cape May is not what you think of when you think MTV's Jersey Shore. Very small, non-commercial boardwalk (no amusement piers, carny games, rowdy bars). Lots of great restaurants and charming Victorian B&Bs. The main shopping\strolling area is actually a pedestrian outdoor mall. AC or Wildwood it is not. It is, unfortunately, crowded in summer; but not to the extent of many East coast resort areas.

                          You can check restaurants and B&Bs here:

                          From TripAdvisor: ,“Yes, Cape May is, technically, on the Jersey Shore. But it’s the antithesis of the Jersey Shore you’ll see on TV—instead of nightclubs and tanning parlors, you’ll find Victorian mansions and a famous lighthouse.”

                      3. Providence, Portland, Charleston, and Savannah are all great choices! Since you want a full week's worth of meals, I'd lean toward Providence, which is the biggest of the four (plus Newport). Look for B&Bs in towns like East Greenwich and Bristol. Actually, you should stay in Wickford (the basis for Eastwick as in Witches of Eastwick), an incredibly beautiful colonial-era village right on Narragansett Bay. The Southern New England board has tons of recs for RI. Have fun!

                        1. If you are seriously considering Providence, you will want to be there for WaterFire (waterfire.org) if possible. If it is on when you will be there, make reservations now to eat at Cafe Nuovo and reserve a table outside. The food will be good though things will be hectic but you'll be watching this amazing event and will be so glad you did it. Also, I would suggest splitting your trip between Providence and Newport rather than driving around from place to place. Both of them are really great walking towns and it means you can have a nightcap without worrying about getting pulled over for a DUI on your honeymoon.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: escondido123

                            Yes, the walkability factor is very important :)

                          2. Providence, Portland and Charleston are all great suggestions. I will also suggest Hyde Park and Rhinebeck, New York. You have the CIA there and the Beekman Arms is the oldest inn in America. There is lots to do - wineries, the Roosevelt home and some hiking. You could spend a few days there and then go to the Berkshires where you will find some charming B&Bs and Tanglewood. A gourmet picnic at Tanglewood sounds wonderful.

                            1. The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts is a dream to visit. Full of wonderful B&Bs you can day trip through towns in the Berkshires visiting wonderful museums, picnics at Tanglewood, and very close the wineries in the Hudson Valley, the CIA. So much to do..... a little driving but well worth it!!