It’s still risky to travel far as coronavirus persists beyond an entire calendar year and the death toll continues to mount.
Safety restrictions and common sense have curbed what people have been able to do during this time — vacations put on hold, plane tickets rebooked seemingly endlessly, and months mostly in the house spent trying to stave off boredom while keeping others safe.
Yet newlyweds still want a way to honeymoon.
Now comes the rise of the “nanomoon” — a trip to nearby places, in the car, as isolated as possible. Though it’s not a far-flung trip to a foreign country or a distant state, it’s still something to shake off cabin fever without inviting much risk.
Leslie Jefferson, president of Wedding Savvy Wedding Consulting in Annapolis, said most couples she’s worked with these days are choosing weekends to weeks in secluded locations, especially as planning a wedding becomes even more challenging in pandemic times.
“COVID-19 on top of it adds a whole other layer of stress and anxiety. Clients are definitely looking for something a little bit more remote, where they can really kind of decompress and detach from the hustle and bustle of normal life,” Jefferson said.
Bed-and-breakfasts, inns and short-term rentals such as Airbnb and VRBO are all options, according to Jefferson.
“The bed-and-breakfasts are definitely more appealing because it does kind of give that comfort,” Jefferson said.
Check local coronavirus restrictions before traveling. Jefferson also suggests travel insurance, in case things change — as they continue to do.
Where to go?
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia: A quiet town surrounded by nature, good for a relaxed weekend. Hike around scenic trails and visit historical sites. nps.gov/hafe/index.htm
Harpers Ferry Brewing: The brewery in Purcellville, Virginia, has views of the Potomac River from a cliffside. Enjoy a beer list offering hop-forward ales, stouts, IPA’s and seasonal favorites. 571-310-2543. visitloudoun.org/listing/harpers-ferry-brewing/3982/
Loudoun: Loudoun has more than 30 craft breweries, inspiring the “LoCo Ale Trail,” or brewery trail, as well as 40 award-winning wineries and wine tasting rooms. visitloudoun.org/drink
Shenandoah National Park: Either picnic or hike (or both) in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are 500 miles of trail to choose from, and 101 are on the Appalachian Trail. If you go in the summer, there are fresh blackberries growing all season. However, it is less crowded in the spring. Face masks are required on federal lands. nps.gov/shen/index.htm
Luray Caverns: Dive deep into the earth within Eastern America’s largest cavern, with 10-story-high ceilings. luraycaverns.com/
Bear’s Chase Brewing Co.: A former homestead turned lodge and brewery with mountain views and farm-to-table hops. The brewery is doing outdoor seating and features live music on Thursdays through Sundays. bearchasebrew.com
Glass House Winery: The eco-friendly “boutique winery” nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia includes a wine greenhouse, a 15-acre vineyard and a bed-and-breakfast with five en-suite bedrooms. Guests are invited to do picnics as tastings and wine by the glass are currently unavailable because of the pandemic. It also makes its own chocolate in-house. Masks are required inside, and social distancing is necessary. 434-975-0094. glasshousewinery.com/visit/
Where to stay:
Bryce Resort: About two hours west of Washington, D.C., is Bryce Resort, where you can ski on blue mountains to your heart’s content (for as long as winter continues). Face masks are required for everyone over the age of 5. Staff can help connect you with lodging. bryceresort.com
Bear’s Den: The Bear’s Den is a stone mansion sitting on 66 acres overlooking the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains and just yards from the Appalachian Trail. It’s used predominantly by hikers, for good reason. Private rooms start at $60 a night, while cottages can be booked at the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club website. bearsdencenter.org
Goodstone Inn and Restaurant: Private cottage rentals on 265 acres in Virginia wine country in Middleburg. Rentals range from French-style to barn to Dutch. You can eat at the Bistro and Conservatory, which offers farm-to-table eating and over 800-label cellar wines. Restaurant “experience” prices range $25 to $150. The establishment includes strict coronavirus protocols on its website. goodstone.com
The Greenbrier: The luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, has hosted 27 U.S. presidents and is a National Historic Landmark. It offers spa, golf, a casino and dress-code dining. Temperature screenings and face masks are required. greenbrier.com
Getaway Shenandoah: To escape the daily trap of doom scrolling, social media and connection to the modern world, you can head to a cabin in the woods near Shenandoah National Park in Stanardsville, Virginia. Each cabin is spaced apart about 50 to 150 feet, are heavily deep-cleaned and there’s no in-person interaction with staff, to avoid possible spread. Prices range around $200-$400 a night. getaway.house/
Deep Creek Lake: You can do water sports and other activities on the state’s biggest freshwater lake, or ski or golf on land. There are numerous places to hike, but Swallow Falls State Park is arguably the most picturesque, with Maryland’s tallest free-falling waterfall. deepcreeklake.com
Great Allegheny Passage: For those wanting to go on a grand adventure, the Great Allegheny Passage is 150 miles of biking and hiking trails through valleys, mountains, parks and riversides, starting in Cumberland and going up to Pittsburgh. gaptrail.org
Charis Winery: The winery in downtown Cumberland is Allegany County’s first. Tastings are happening currently; the winery gives disposable cups for tasting, and all staff will be masked. Private tastings are available by appointment. chariswinery.com
Dig Deep Brewing Co.: Located in a historic industrial building in Cumberland, the brewery uses local ingredients for its brews, including such surprises as coffee and honey. 301-338-1013. digdeepbrewingco.com
1812 Brewery: The family-owned brewery is said to be the only farm brewery in Allegany County, on 190 acres of land. There is also a flea market on the first Sunday of every month. 301-338-2490. 1812brewery.com
Rocky Gap State Park: The 3,000 acres of public land in Flintstone include a 243-acre lake, Habeeb, considered “the bluest water in the state.” Good for hiking, camping and boating. Plan for “filled capacity” closures. dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/rockygap.aspx
Where to stay:
Savage River Lodge: What’s called “forest-bathing” is a welcome escape from gloomy pandemic life, and here you have 700 acres of state forest in which to do it. At the lodge near Frostburg, there’s contactless check-in, masks are required indoors and gathering indoors is discouraged. Dining is served by room delivery Wednesdays through Sundays, and the lodge’s sister restaurant, The Cornucopia Café, is open daily with delivery to the lodge Monday and Tuesday. savageriverlodge.com
Virginia Beach Oceanfront: soak in the summer on Virginia Beach’s three-mile, 28-foot-wide boardwalk, which includes tons of restaurants, a wildfowl museum and even a statue of King Neptune. visitvirginiabeach.com/explore/attractions/boardwalk
The Virginia Beach Beer Trail: For India pale ale and craft beer enthusiasts, you can divide this “beer trail” by sections — oceanfront, Chesapeake Bay or inland — or do the whole 13-plus local brewery crawl all over Virginia Beach, provided you have a designated driver in tow. https://assets.simpleviewinc.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/virginiabeachva/GD_LSR21_Beer_Trail_Redesign_3__42d64daa-533d-4277-97a3-e3ab81dba3e6.pdf
First Landing State Park: The 2,888-acre park with 1 ¼ miles of Chesapeake beach and 19 miles of trails offers swimming in wild waters, biking, hiking, boating, fishing and so on. You can stay overnight in cabins or at a campsite. Admission is $4 per car on weekdays and $5 on weekends. first-landing-state-park.org
Norfolk Botanical Garden: The 175-acre garden has 60 themed gardens and an “ever-changing” landscape of flowers and plant life. Face masks are required for those over 5. norfolkbotanicalgarden.org
Mermaid Winery: The first urban winery in Virginia sources wines from local and Californian grapes. The winery makes its own limited-production wines and offers 800 international wines. mermaidwinery.com
Virginia Beach National: The former Tournament Players club offers “challenging courses” in a “natural setting.” vbnational.com
Where to stay:
Barclay Cottage Bed and Breakfast: Built in 1895, Barclay Cottage Bed and Breakfast is one of the two remaining original beach cottages in Virginia Beach and the oldest lodging in the Tidewater region still seeing guests. Just two blocks from the oceanfront and boardwalk and within walking distance to many restaurants and activities, the cottage features five guest rooms. 757-422-1956. barclaycottage.com
Wedmore Place Hotel: A “European-style country hotel” with rooms modeled after different parts of Europe, king-size beds and wood-burning fireplaces. Rates start around $300. 757-941-0310. williamsburgwinery.com/wedmoreplace
The Morning Sun
Assateague: It might be a little cliché for Maryland, but watching the ponies roam on Assateague in the summer and spending time in nearby Chincoteague is a good way to go somewhere new without going too far. You can also explore the Life of the Dunes Trail and Life of the Forest Trail for a little hiking. The 95th Chincoteague Pony Swim and Auction is on July 28 and 29. assateagueisland.com
Rock Hall: Take time in the scenic outdoors of the Chesapeake Bay — sail, fish, kayak, hunt, horseback ride or hike. You can dine on local seafood, see local Kent County art or live music. huntingfield.com/rock-hall-md-things-to-do
Where to stay:
St. Michaels/Inn at Perry Cabin Resort: A historic inn that dates to the 1800s, its rooms offer views of the Miles River and Eastern Shore nature. Good spot to sail, play tennis or rest while exploring St. Michaels. Rates start around $515. innatperrycabin.com
Kent Manor Inn: The 200-year-old Stevensville waterfront property is nestled on 220 acres of quiet garden and nature along the Chesapeake. Rooms are styled in 19th-century fashion. Offers kayaking and swimming. Closed for renovations until April 1. kentmanor.com
Mansion Farm Inn: Set in the storied David Robbins Homestead, which dates from around 1850, this refined guesthouse in Milton, Delaware, is 5 miles from Broadkill Beach. mansionfarminn.com
River House Inn Bed and Breakfast: The riverfront National Register Victorian home, converted into a bed & breakfast, is located in Snow Hill. Here, you can enjoy boating, biking and canoeing. Close to Assateague National Seashore and Ocean City. riverhouseinn.com