[dropcap]The[/dropcap] excitement and leisure of a two-week honeymoon has virtually become a thing of the past. Though some couples can afford the expense and break from work that an extended, post-wedding vacation requires, more couples are opting for “mini-moons” – shorter trips that take less time and money. Though mini-moon destinations can be far-reaching, many locales in North America pack a great vacation into a short period of time.
Napa Valley, Calif.
A trip to Napa lets the romance from the wedding continue. Upscale hotels, resorts and bed-and-breakfast spots offer a range of amenities depending on the season during which a couple visits. Napa is a great place for hiking and biking and even hot-air ballooning, but the star of Napa Valley, of course, is the plethora of wineries. Hundreds of wineries dot the landscape of Napa Valley, ready to welcome guests on tastings tours. Restaurants serve a variety of cuisines and range from small cafés to Michelin-starred establishments. The area is also renowned for golf and tennis and for its upscale shopping opportunities.
Perfect for: Wine aficionados
Be sure to: Take a wine tour, whether it’s by plane, train or automobile.
Stay at: Auberge du Soleil, a five-star hotel located in Rutherford, Calif.
New Orleans offers varying experiences depending on the time of year: Mardi Gras, professional sports, festivals and art exhibits. But there are also some satsifying constants: food, drink and exciting nightlife. Traditional cuisine, including gumbo, po’ boys, muffalettas and beignets, can be found all around the city in small cafés. There’s also a wealth of five-star international cuisine for those who are looking for something a bit more adventurous. Tours of the city are available through various outlets, but perhaps the best way to take in New Orleans is by walking through the historic French Quarter. Soaking up the culture, music and nightlife of this great American icon provides entertainment, romance and a lifetime of memories.
Perfect for: Night owls
Be sure to: Stop into a French Quarter nightclub to hear the city’s music.
Stay at: The Roosevelt Hotel, just one block from the French Quarter.
An outdoor lover’s dream, Sugarloaf offers a wide variety of activities year round. It’s the largest ski resort and destination east of the Mississippi River, and the conditions are favorable for top-notch skiing from mid-November through May. It’s also a great place to people-watch; many notable Olympic skiers train at Sugarloaf. During summer months, the mountain provides hiking, golfing, zip lining and mountain climbing. Several restaurants occupy the mountainside, providing opportunities for both casual and upscale dining as well as hotspots for nightlife.
Perfect for: Outdoor enthusiasts
Be sure to: Try your hand at snowboarding in Sugarloaf’s newest expansion, Brackett Basin.
Stay at: Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, a quaint, upscale hotel located just yards from chairlifts in the heart of Sugarloaf Village.
The oldest city in the Pacific Northwest, Victoria is located just north of the Canadian border with Washington state. The city is famed for its rich culture and abundance of museums, art galleries, festivals and cultural events. Tours of various historical venues, including castles, churches, temples and museums, are available. The Butchart Gardens, renowned for its floral show garden that draws nearly one million visitors each year, is a favorite among tourists. The garden is built upon land that was once an old limestone quarry.
Perfect for: History buffs
Be sure to: Tour the Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum, a great example of Victorian architecture.
Stay at: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, an exclusive destination that combines luxury with traditional camping.