Any engaged couples out there have a short engagement, a tight budget, and the desire to do a huge honeymoon when you can afford it? Allow us to persuade you to embark on the mini-moon! Our mini-moon was a 4-night roadtrip up the California coast, and it was perfect. (Later that summer did our “real” honeymoon in Panama - so we basically had two honeymoons!) We thought we were being so original, but have since learned that a lot of millennials take the mini-moon route these days. (Hey, we’re working people here!) But not everyone knows where to go on such a tight time frame. Here’s our top 10 favorite mini-moon destinations that are romantic, relaxing, pampering, bustling, accessible and DO-ABLE! Heck, visit them all!
Have you heard the news? B&B’s are making a comeback.
What for so long has been considered “outdated” and “old school” is being reinvented. For awhile it seemed as though millennials (ourselves included) had moved away from traditional B&B’s - as boutique hotels, larger chains where we can use our points and “status”, all-inclusives, and even Airbnb’s had taken the lead… But friends, the tide is beginning to turn.
We just returned from a stay at The Inn at English Meadows, a charming B&B in the seaside town of Kennebunk, Maine. From the friendly Innkeeper, to the attention to detail, to the seemingly endless amenities… this experience has completely changed the way we view B&B’s. Here’s why:
1. The Experience
Now, this is the first time we’ve ever stayed in a B&B together. We’ve always had this perception that it would feel like we’re sleeping in a stranger's home, and that just sounded weird. We were SO FAR OFF.
We checked in with Elizabeth, the innkeeper, who offered us some cookies and a tour of the property. It was something out of a movie. Fireplaces crackling, freshly baked cookies, cozy sitting rooms, and lush grounds complete with comfy places to sit and relax. We could’ve easily spent our entire trip at the Inn - and never need to leave!
Elizabeth was amazingly attentive - making sure that our every need was met. Restaurant recommendations? She sent us to the best spots in town. Best drive to find fall foliage? Done. Looking for lighthouses? Here’s a list of the closest ones to town. She was like our private concierge, and we truly wouldn’t have done and seen all that we had if it wasn’t for her!
We often stay at hotels that include breakfast. Which typically means it’s a standard continental buffet, nothing fancy. Not at The Inn at English Meadows! Included with your stay is a 3 course breakfast - and it all looks (and tastes!) as though Martha Stewart herself made it just for you! Fresh baked scones, scrambled eggs with goat cheese and asparagus, pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon butter… these were honestly our favorite meals of the entire trip! Oh, and did we mention we dined in their garden patio? It was a dream!
2. The Amenities
The Inn at English Meadows has 13 rooms - all of which are beautifully decorated. They feature Vera Wang and FRETTE bedding, flat screen TV’s, fluffy towels and robes, Malin+Goetz toiletries (our favorite!), and so much more. These rooms have more amenities than most nice hotels would!
There were multiple mini fridges around the home, stocked with water bottles and seltzer water for guests to enjoy. They had a station for hot coffee and tea, available 24/7, and had freshly baked cookies for guests to enjoy every afternoon. If guests were in the mood for a cocktail or a glass of wine, Elizabeth and her team were happy to serve. Like we said earlier - our every need was met here!
3. The Affordability
When you factor in all of the amenities (three course breakfast, coffee and tea, cookies, etc.), a B&B like the Inn At English Meadows can be extremely affordable. There aren’t any added “resort fees”, and all of the little added costs like water bottles are taken care of! That may sound little - but those things add up over time. Add to that the convenience of having it all at your disposal, and it’s truly an amazing value!
Have we convinced you to try a B&B yet? We hope so. And we hope you’ll start with the Inn At English Meadows… we can’t wait to return!
Every couple of years we find ourselves in a place where we truly wish we could stop time. Where everything we see, eat, do, is pure magic. Where we repeatedly turn to each other and say “Is this real?” Where we text our family and friends and say “Take good care of the dog, we’re never coming home.” Where we plot and plan the milestone opportunities to one day return, “Maybe for our ten year anniversary? Should we renew our vows here?” Where the hotel staff feels like family, and where some of our favorite memories are made.
Cavas Wine Lodge, we never wanted to leave you!
Those of you that follow us closely know that we’re right in the thick of the hustle.
Balancing our full-time jobs, moonlighting as content creators, doing our best as puppy paw-rents, and still finding ways to fill our social calendar… it can be exhausting!! Weekend trips are one of the ways we decompress, spend quality time together, and enjoy a new destination. As Southern California natives, we normally think of Catalina Island as a quick day trip and nothing more. But after spending a weekend there recently, we’ve realized the PARADISE we’ve been overlooking. Catalina Island is probably the best weekend getaway for So-Cal residents. It’s easy to get to, beautifully tropical, and boasts some incredible restaurants. Here’s our “Top 5” must-do’s on a weekend trip to Catalina:
This was a thrill in every sense of the word - and arguably the BEST way to see the island! Think the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland meets Soaring Over California. You’re off-roading with views so magnificent you feel as though you’re flying! The East End Adventure team takes groups daily on a Hummer tour around Catalina. You scale mountains you didn’t even know you could climb! We saw wildlife, stunning viewpoints, and at one point we could even see both sides of the island at once!
2. Lunch at Mt. Ada
This might possibly be the best-kept secret of Catalina Island. The famous Mt. Ada (formerly the Wrigley mansion) is known for their historic B&B and picture-perfect views of the island… but what many people don’t know, is that they offer a 3-course lunch that the public can enjoy! Included in the price is beer, wine, and the most epic view of Catalina. Not to mention the food is delicious! Reservations are required, so keep that in mind as you plan your weekend.
We’ll be honest, Alli did everything she could to try and get out of this. We’re both afraid of heights, and the aerial adventure seemed absolutely daunting. But, being the adventurers that we are, we did it. And we survived. And it might just be our favorite memory of the trip!! The adventure staff encouraged us through every challenge, and towards the end we REALLY felt like we’d bonded with them. We ended up doing 3 courses, two of which were level 2 (out of 3)!
4. Island Spa Catalina
After our Aerial Adventure tour, nothing sounded better than a morning at the spa! The Island Spa Catalina is brand new, located inside the historic El Encanto building and has luxurious lounge spaces, soaking pools, and a vista deck where you can take in the view of the coast. We indulged in a couples massage and then spoiled ourselves with champagne and snacks while enjoying the views. It was one of our highlights of the trip!
Raise your hand if you’ve traveled to Catalina Island several times, but have never gone inside the world-famous Casino! Us too! This charming tour is a MUST in our book, and here’s why. It’s led by a man named "Frankie from Avalon" (look him up, he’s famous on Trip Advisor!), and he might very well be the most precious man we’ve ever met. Frankie grew up on the island and created this tour himself. His knowledge of the casino’s history, the musicians and celebrities that have graced the stage, the events that have taken place, etc., is incredible. After he’s whisked you around the casino, through the dressing rooms, and hidden passageways, he’ll bring you to the dance floor on the top level. There you’re served wine and given the chance to learn to swing dance with him!
So, there’s our top five must-do’s on a weekend trip to Catalina. Other important details to mention:
Getting There: Hop aboard the Catalina Express. With ports in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point, there are plenty of options for all SoCal natives. It takes about 60 minutes, is a smooth ride, and beautiful views at sunset. We opted to spend the extra $15 to upgrade to the Commodore's Lounge, where you have priority boarding, more comfortable seating, and a complimentary beverage with packaged snacks. It was a great experience!
Stay: Book a room at the Pavilion Hotel - you won’t regret it. The hotel has comfortable rooms, a delicious complimentary hot breakfast, and prime location. The rooms face an expertly manicured tropical garden that will instantly set your watch to island time (hehe). Spend the afternoon relaxing in a chaise lounge, watch the sun set over the ocean during their complimentary wine and cheese reception each day, or sit around the fire pit and make new friends.
All that to say, Catalina is the real deal. The Pavilion is rejuvenating, the food is delicious, and there are all kinds of adventures to be had. We will be sure to hustle back.
Thank you to Visit Catalina Island for sponsoring this post!
Bobby and Alli here from Traveling Newlyweds, letting you in on a little secret. We may talk about how we came to Sun Valley to ski… but we really came to eat. The food in this little romantic town is absolutely incredible, and every place has a story and an ambiance that’s out of a movie!! While it’s nearly impossible to narrow down our favorites, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten favorite places to dine in Sun Valley!