Okay, the wedding is a fait accompli. Now it’s time to do something folks have been doing since the fifth century – enjoy a moon (month) of fun, adventure and the drinking of fermented honey. But where does one do this? Well, here’s a quintet of suggestions for your consideration.
La Paz, Mexico
The city of peace is in the state of Baja California Sur, Mexico, 95 miles north of Los Cabos. The Pacific Ocean on one side, the Sea of Cortez on the other.
Down along the waterfront, a wide promenade called the Malecon bustles with shops, bars, restaurants and laughing children.
When you’re not taking in spectacular sunsets, swim with whale sharks. They’re big but gentle and friendly. Hike the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains and discover hot springs, waterfalls and hidden lakes.
The calm, turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez are perfect for sea kayaking, while sport fishing enthusiasts go after sailfish, tuna and marlin.
Modern Mexican cuisine reigns supreme in La Paz, with dishes like grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with cheese served with cilantro dressing. Shoppers note: Several fine art galleries dot the city, and the handmade pottery is exquisite. Stay at the Costa Baja Resort in La Paz, Baja Sur.
It’s safe to say this tiny island in the Cyclades of Greece has a reputation for all-night partying, which is understandable given the clubs don’t really get going until 1 a.m.
But save some daylight for exploring. Pack up towels, sunblock and water, rent a moped and take a good look at the island’s 33 square miles of gorgeous rolling terrain, native vegetation and, in the south, sandy beaches.
In Mykonos Town, the isle’s largest community, narrow streets and inviting walkways are lined with small shops and curious eateries. The occasional church is all Greek, with blue domes and white-washed walls.
On the opposite shore, the 18th century Venetian-style homes and shops of Little Venice were built right up to the waterfront with balconies stretching out above the sea. The area’s restaurants and taverns do a brisk business, especially around sundown when the western sky glows red and orange. Stay at Tharroe of Mykonos Boutique Hotel.
The Hamptons, New York
Romance seems to grow, mature and blossom in the Hamptons. For escaping couples, there’s so much to do: ride bikes along the coast, explore windmills and lighthouses, attend wine tastings, visit adorable 1800s villages and check out the beaches.
The Hamptons may only be two hours east of NYC on the eastern end of Long Island, but the vibe does a 180 from Manhattan hustle to Gatsby.
Slip off your shoes on Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, where large stretches of soft sand invite leisurely walks. Main Beach in East Hampton is another good one. Hikers will gravitate to Montauk Point State Park and lighthouse, whose 860 acres offer terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean and Block Island Sound.
East Hampton has some good shopping, as does Southampton, but in truth, intriguing shops and art galleries seem to pop up unexpectedly even in rural areas. Stay at Gurney’s Inn Resort and Spa.
The original moat has been filled in, but 14th century fortified walls and nine towers still surround this Beauty and the Beast village in northeast France, enclosing a cobbled main street, thriving marketplace and brightly painted, half-timbered, flower-bedecked houses. Walk the ramparts for panoramic views of the undulating countryside, expansive vineyards and the medieval Chateau de Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle.
History buffs will love the Place d’Arme, a charming square lined with the church, town hall and well-kept homes. Shop for chocolates, woodcrafts and wine.
Outside the town walls are the vines, the source of Bergheim’s notoriety as one of the best wine-producing regions in France. It’s often visited as part of a tour of the Alsace Wine Route, a 105-mile trek that traces a line from north to south, broadly following the eastern edge of the Vosges mountains through picturesque towns and wonderful vineyards. Stay at La Cour du Bailli Suites and Spa, Bergheim.
Bamboo Forests of Japan
They’ve been described as serene, magical and other-worldly. Eighty feet tall and ramrod straight, natural Moso bamboo stalks tower over trails through the Sagano Arashiyama forest in western Kyoto along the Katsura River at the base of the Storm Mountains. It’s a feast for the senses. Even the sound of the often-photographed bamboo swaying in the wind has been declared an official Japanese soundscape. Walk or grab a rickshaw.
The entrance to the forest is adjacent to the Tenryu-ji Temple, a vast Zen temple with superb gardens and ponds. If you’re feeling hungry, sample the yudofu (boiled tofu), conger eel, matcha or Japanese pickles.
Nearby, the Iwatayama Monkey Park on Mt. Iwata is home to more than 100 wild macaque monkeys, which visitors can feed via an enclosed observation hut. The views of Kyoto from the mountain are splendid. Stay at Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Kadensho (Kyoritsu Resort).