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Hit the Road

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The stresses of planning the modern wedding may have the happy couple so frazzled, they feel tempted to walk off a cliff, rather than down the aisle, which could explain the continued popularity of Niagara Falls as a honeymoon destination.

Stresses and strains aside, global events have many couples choosing to stay closer to home for those first days or weeks of wedded bliss. Destinations that can be reached by automobile offer alternatives that manage costs, as well as security concerns. The drivable honeymoon may be attractive here because our region boasts two of the most enduring destinations, both of which rank in the top ten of domestic honeymoon destinations.

While Hawaii remains the number one option for honeymooners as reported at the website about.com, New York and Niagara Falls ranks second and Pennsylvania and the Poconos rank sixth. These regional icons have longstanding cultural traditions as honeymoon spots, but they aren’t the only places couples are flocking to. Many newlyweds are heading to New York City, Philadelphia and even New Jersey.

While just about any honeymoon locale seems to say “I love you,” few require the bankroll to back it up quite like a week in the world’s capital of New York City. But for those who’ve declared the sky’s the limit, there’s no place quite like the city that never sleeps, especially for honeymooners not expecting much in the way of sleep anyway.

Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt will greet the happy couple with a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, as honeymooners are led to the hotel’s VIP suite. Breakfast in bed, a couple’s massage and monogrammed bath robes promise a taste of the good life.

For couples with a sense of history, Philadelphia provides an opportunity to revisit our country’s marriage to the ideals of freedom and liberty. The Penn’s View Hotel, a boutique hotel located in Philadelphia’s Old City offers intimate luxury, plus the ability to walk to the Liberty Bell display, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and the Constitution Center. Live theater, top restaurants and art galleries are also just a stroll away, to say nothing of Penn’s Landing and the city’s waterfront.

But there are more pragmatic choices, too, ones that replace the sizzle of urban nightlife with the more rustic charms of an oceanside bed and breakfast. Glenn Kithcart, innkeeper and owner of Bay Head’s Bentley Inn near Atlantic City, says he books about four or five honeymoon couples per season.

“They come here for the charm and the beach,” he says of the couples that arrive from Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. And charm they find in spades: Located just blocks from the ocean, the Bentley features a second story with an ocean view, and five rooms above a 120-foot wraparound porch.

Just a short drive south, Cape May lists several similar lodgings that feature honeymoon suites, including the famed Virginia Hotel.

You may be surprised that Wildwood, the Jersey Shore’s party town, is home to a surprisingly sumptuous and inviting honeymoon location. The Candlelight Inn is a 10-bedroom B’n’B that features three carriage suites complete with whirlpool, wet bar and fireplace.

“We’ll greet the honeymooners with silk rose petals and a bottle of champagne upon their arrival,” says owner Bill Moncrief, who says Candlelight Inn books about 30 honeymoon couples per year.

“The carriage suites also feature private porches, a king-size bed and LCD TVs. And in the morning [honeymooners] sit down to a full, three-course breakfast with such delights as amaretto French toast.”

Moncrief bids farewell to all newlyweds with a pen and ink set as a memento of their stay.

If you’re into a surf-and-sand honeymoon and don’t care to leave Delaware, you don’t have to. In your search, look for the kinds of amenities that add to the romance of a honeymoon hideaway, such as hot tubs, fireplaces and swimming pools, along with the usual vacation rental amenities.

One such Rehoboth Beach rental is a townhouse that offers the above extras, plus a little more for honeymooners.

“When the happy new couple checks in, they will be welcomed with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne and chocolate covered strawberries,” says the townhome’s co-owner Joann Bavusa.

“They will be given a gift certificate for a couples massage at a local spa. We will also have fresh pastries and coffee sent to the house for breakfast everyday. As a special gift from us, the couple will receive personalized champagne flutes or a personalized monogrammed picture frame.”

There are some do’s and don’ts regarding your honeymoon planning, most of which are common sense: make sure your destination has something entertaining for both of you, choose a safe location, and decide on something that’s within your budget.

After all, you’ll have many happy and fulfilling years of being on opposite sides of that Continental Divide, so there’s no need to make the honeymoon part of that archive as well.

But there is one don’t that could be overlooked in the bliss of planning for that perfect getaway: Make sure your destination is geared for couples, rather than families, seniors or, worst of all—singles.

There’s no need for your version of “The Heartbreak Kidto occur before you close out your wedding album.

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