Our Low-Key Honeymoon

The honeymoon is over.  Literally.

Even though it's now over, it was exactly what we needed!  We got married about 14 months ago, but Danny and I postponed our honeymoon until last week.  We took my first week after the second semester (read about our crazy journey here) and his week long vacation from work to reconnect, relax, recharge, and rejoice.  I am so grateful for the time we were able to spend together and spend on ourselves; it felt like the first time either of us has taken for ourselves in a while.  Because of his rugby schedule (game Saturday and practice Thursday), we decided to get away from Sunday through Wednesday and still have a few days at home together with our dogs before he returned to work.

Like our impromptu snow day wedding ended up being, this honeymoon was pretty low-key.  A few months ago, when Danny began looking into locations, he was drawn to commercials and information from out West.  When he watched the Colorado tourism commercial, he was struck by the idyllic scenery.  Take a look:

Source: YouTube

The mountains and waterfalls are breathtakingly beautiful.  But, after a few minutes of reading things to do in the state, he was surprised that many of the tourist attractions resembled those available in our own state.  Virginia, also home to mountains and waterfalls, also boasts proximity to the nation's capital, ocean beaches, and Civil War history.  After contemplating all of this, he confirmed these notions with advertisements to inspire Virginia travel.  Here is a Virginia is for Lovers commercial:

Source: YouTube

After making this realization, we decided it would be wisest, cheapest, and the best use of our time to begin to explore the many places surrounding our home before flying across the country.  This is something we could also progressively continue in the coming years as well.  Because, as you might well guess,  my husband is intense, he spent weeks scouring websites, reading reviews, and scanning pictures.  Eventually, he found an intriguing resort--The Tides Inn--a beautiful possibility for our short honeymoon together (they even host weddings!).  Though I have been in Richmond for seven years, and he his whole life, neither of us knew anything about the resort.  With promising reviews and gorgeous pictures, the Tides Inn fit into our parameters for a nearby vacation, with a maxim perfect for us: "close by, but a world away."  Exactly what we wanted!  And exactly what we got.

Image Source: Google Search
The Tides Inn

The resort, which seemed to be historically home-away-from-home to a retired population, was enormously inviting to us, despite our baby faces.  We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, after a leisurely and beautiful drive (in under two hours) through winding country roads and rustic scenes.

drive to The Tides selfie

We had reserved our suite online and confirmed with staff prior to arrival.  We checked in, checked out our room, and unpacked (well, I didn't unpack, because I don't believe in moving in while traveling, but Danny does and he did).  We were excited to have a balcony with a view of the calm, clear water and most of the resort.

After taking a walk and relaxing briefly, we hungrily made our way to the elegant Chesapeake Club restaurant.  The Tides Inn Executive Chef, TV Flynn, brings local ingredients and Virginia flavors together to create mouthwatering and delicious combinations.  We truly enjoyed [read: devoured] our meals.  Danny ordered the filet mignon (with a Carbernet reduction and wild mushroom ragout), asparagus, broccolini, and carrots.  I had local fish, mashed potatoes, and broccolini, but though my meal was fantastic, the picture didn't turn out quite as well.

Danny's first meal at The Tides Inn

The Chesapeake Club, both grand and comfortable, provided us with a relaxing and intimate evening.  We left satisfied and impressed.  (Danny said it had been the best steak he had ever eaten, which I can only imagine, judging by how delicious my meal had been.)  After that first meal, however, we were concerned that the rest of the resort might not provide many viable options in terms of our subsequent meals, especially considering Danny's gluten intolerance. The kitchen and room service staff we were able to work with us to modify the menu to accommodate his gluten-free needs.  I ate a regular (GASP!) vegetarian option--a roasted portabella sandwich--a few times; Danny ordered at least one cheeseburger with a lettuce wrap with French fries a day.

by now you know I love to eat, right?
roasted portabella sandwich

We hope that The Tides Inn might consider developing some gluten-free menu items in the future, but overall, we were able to make the food options work (and we will return even if they don't!). 

Because we are so in the habit of drinking our fresh-made organic vegetable and fruit juice, we brought enough for our stay.  Unfortunately, we did not plan for no available fridge and they remained unrefrigerated the first night.  The results were utterly disturbing.

Prior to our day spa appointments on Monday morning, we slept in, relaxed, laughed, and got ready for the day.  Normally, at home, this includes juice, so it wasn't until we located it that we discovered what had become of it overnight.  Danny described it as "prision alcohol" and the spoiled smell and taste made me gag.  He then went on to explain what "pruno" is and disgust me further with both the content as well as his knowledge of it.  [Take a look at a Google image search here.]  And we laughed so much!

Ugh. (Gag.)
This was not going to work for us. 

We made a trip later that day into town to get some sealed juice that did not have to be refrigerated and all was good again in our lives.

Before venturing into town, however, we spent the morning relaxing; we each got a massage at the Journey Spa on the resort.  As my mom is a massage therapist, we both knew what to expect overall.  Our experiences, though completely different than one another, were perfectly selected and aligned with the needs of our bodies. 

Danny opted for a Deep Tissue Massage to help with tension and sport needs, while I chose a Ginger Essence Hot Stone Massage for relaxation. 

Danny, in dire need of a massage

Both of our massage therapists were friendly, professional, and excellent at massage.  Holly, the sweet and skilled therapist giving me mine, made me feel completely at ease.  She was comforting and calming.  (She even let me bring the camera in so I could blog about it.)

Body shot at the conclusion of my massage
Ahhhhh : )

As you might imagine, my massage was glorious.  I didn't realize how much tension I had been carrying until it was over and I saw how amazing I felt.  And Danny, when I rejoined him in the waiting area, looked like his life had changed.  He was even smiling for the camera!  (And he raved for days about how sore he was--in a good way.)

relaxed post massage picture
(our ONLY picture together)

As I have already gone on and on regarding many small details of our stay, suffice it to say we had a marvelous time.  The resort offers a number of fun activities, including: a full disc golf course, bikes, boats, a large yard chess set, corn hole, croquet, free movie rentals, an exercise facility and classes, a cove cruise, as well as yoga on the lawn.  (Yay!)  The on-site pool looked great, but was a little chilly for our tastes.  And though neither is gluten-free, they even offer s'mores on the terrace and cookies and milk nightly.

bikes with baskets (and others without)

outdoor chess
check out that fish helmet!

We were even able to attend a short evening meditation.  It was prescheduled and concentrated on relaxation and self-esteem.  It, like everything else we experienced at the Tides Inn, was wonderful. 

The staff was approachable, professional, and welcoming.  The facilities, though the resort was built in the 1940s, were well-maintained.  They even found out that it was our honeymoon--I had mentioned it to the Journey Spa staff--and surprised us with treats in our room upon returning!  Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

wow! how nice!

Danny is excited, too!

We are delighted to have discovered our love for resorts like this one at such an early age.  There were not many people on the grounds during our stay, but apparently the week prior had been quite busy.  The staff told us that the summer months are bustling and that families have come more and more frequently in the last few years.  We feel thankful that we could spend our time and money in such a welcoming, relaxing, and uplifting environment--and right in our own backyard! 

boat slips at The Tides Inn

It was the perfect opportunity to be mindful and take time away from our lives, our home, and our dogs to reconnect, relax, recharge, and rejoice.  In just four days our lives have been refocused.  (Remember, you deserve some re time, too!)  We loved our entire experience at The Tides Inn, we would recommend it for anyone who needs a quick getaway (also see this blog post called "East to Oysters") or a long vacation, and we will most definitely return. 

Virginia certainly is for lovers.  And a low-key honeymoon was exactly what these Virginia lovers needed.

relaxed, recharged, and rejoicing!
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