Mini-moon Adventures

How to Honeymoon Close to Home

Story by Tania Meek

Twenty two years ago I said “I do” to my best friend in a beautiful outdoor setting on the step of a historical Greek-Revival Mansion. The day was magical and all I’d ever dreamed of as a young girl. Truth be told though, we were exhausted and financially tight when it was all said and done. Our honeymoon of choice was to hop into a car and head a few hours away to the Blue Ridge Mountains taking a few days to recoup and discover life together as a couple. It was the perfect, peaceful end to the picture-perfect union, especially with a shoestring budget.

Recently I learned of a contemporary trend among newlyweds called mini-moons – shorter honeymoons, closer to home and less stress on the budget. Since my love for exploring local places has never waned, I was as excited as a young bride to discover the ideal mini-moon setting close to Southeast Ohio.

Here was my quandary – there were too many. Our region and surrounding areas are packed full of amazing options for every bride and groom. Allow me to escort you on a quick and enticing journey through six distinct locations, permitting you to dream and choose which one might tempt you to take your next adventure, closer to home.

Photo courtesy of Gervasi Vineyards

A Tuscan Getaway, Winery Style

Gervasi Vineyards

A visit to the 55-acre Gervasi Vineyards will impress upon you the sensation that you somehow managed to slip away to Italy. As you pull up an Adirondack chair and take a seat lakeside overlooking the estate, you can almost envision the rolling hills of Tuscany. This is truly a gem tucked away in the heart of Canton, Ohio.

The ideal Mini-moon stay would not be complete without booking one of six Gervasi Villas, each comprising of four individual suites. This upscale boutique Inn offers guests the option of reserving an individual suite or an entire Villa. With extravagance and the feel of Tuscany in mind, each room includes a welcoming fireplace, a generous bathroom with walk-in shower, luxury linens, a flat-screen television and refrigerator.

The estate offers activities galore. Spend an afternoon at the spa enjoying a relaxing massage. Take a yoga class, held outside in the pavilion in the summertime. Plan a golf outing at the Glenmoor Jack Nicklause Signature Golf Course – an exclusive access offering to Gervasi Vineyard guests. Take pleasure in a delectable meal at several select dining options available on site. And of course, your visit wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the winery, offered free to the public every Saturday. For a more in depth peek, paired tastings of popular Gervasi wines, you may purchase a private tour of the state-of-the-art winery facilities. It’s a luxury Tuscany adventure – vineyard style!


Stress-Free Stay on the Water, Lakeside Style

Historic Lakeside Chautauqua welcomes all who enters its gate an opportunity to set aside past cares and discover a gentler pace – ideal for nurturing mind, body and spirit. This alluring town, on the shores of Lake Erie, offers a feeling of what the world should be like – beautiful, loving, kind, captivating and full of memories to be made.

Whether you choose to rent a quaint cottage, stay in a charming bed and breakfast or book a waterfront room in the historic Hotel Lakeside, you are guaranteed to awake feeling refreshed and renewed, ready to explore the picturesque surroundings of this community. The options are endless: from enjoying a diverse selection of concerts to partaking in a variety of art classes; stretching mind and body in a yoga classes to kayaking the lake’s shoreline; spending an afternoon perusing locally owned shops to savoring a bite at a mouthwatering restaurant. With as many options as this approximately one square mile town provides, you may never wish to leave its gate. Yet, if you decide to venture outside and explore the region, there is an abundance of options. Visit the local islands, explore a lighthouse, tour a winery, rent a fishing boat, or head over to Cedar Point and ride the newest hyper-hybrid steel rollercoaster debuting this upcoming season. A stress-free adventure awaits, lake style!


Photo courtesy of Nomad Ridge

Adventure Glamping at Nomad Ridge, Yurt Style

Photo courtesy of Nomad Ridge

I am not exactly an outdoor adventurist. Yet when I discovered the yurts at The Wilds’ Nomad Ridge in Columbus, Ohio I was ready to purchase a backpack, hit the open road and find my inner adventuring spirit among the animal pastures.

A yurt is described as “a nomadic-style structure made of canvas stretched over a wooden frame” but in layman’s terms yurts have become a trendy way to explore the great outdoors in a unique setting. The yurts at Nomad Ridge come complete with bamboo flooring, screened windows, ceiling fans, solid wood doors and private bathrooms (and other amenities if you choose to purchase a deluxe or premium version). As you step outside of your lodging, you may venture onto your personal deck to take in the view or find your way to the observation deck to scan the horizon for animals both large and small. Breakfast, dinner and an open air safari ride are included with your stay. Of course, “glamping” wouldn’t be complete without free wi-fi. There are also extra amenities available for purchase that will surely add to your adventure making memories such as fishing safaris, sunset horseback rides or an evening at the Safari Outpost to include a Wildside truck scenic tour, drinks and desserts.

At Nomad Ridge an exhilarating adventure awaits, yurt style!


Photo courtesy of Amish Country Lodging

A Cabin Stay in the Sky, Treehouse Style

A journey into Berlin’s Amish Country, the world’s largest Amish settlement, is a delight no matter the reason or season. But booking a stay in an Amish built house, nestled among the trees, is a bit like finding heaven.

There are six treehouses to choose from, each featuring a 2 person stone jacuzzi tub, fireplace, flat screen TV with DVD, living room, kitchenette, and comfy beds. The Amish are known for their fine craftsmanship and the treehouses will not disappoint. If you decide to venture outside, you can delight in local area attractions that include touring the Amish community; shopping for high-quality furniture, all-natural cheeses and handmade quilts; Amish family-style dining; or simply meandering through the countryside. Catch a glimpse of a slower, serene lifestyle – Amish style.

Photo courtesy of Ravenwood Castle

Unplugged Glimpse of Castle Life, Medieval Style

Cushioned between state and national forests, the Ravenwood Castle is a unique country inn nestled in a remote and peaceful location. Experience the opportunity to disconnect from life and embrace valuable quiet time away. With lodging accommodations appropriately named such as King Author Suite, Cinderella’s Couch House, Rapunzel’s Tower, and The Duke’s Dungeon, you can almost hear the whispers of legendary days gone by.

Breakfast is included with your stay and I’ve heard you won’t want to miss the Sunday morning treat – Linda’s cinnamon rolls. Dinner is served in the Great Hall, buffet style, most Friday and Saturday evenings. Or meander into Raven’s Roost Pub which offers a limited pub fare and a selection of hand crafted beers, fine wines and mixed drinks. Dip your spoon into a mouthwatering beer and cheddar soup or bite into a burger aptly named, Excaliburger.

Surprisingly, you won’t find yourself bored in medieval times without television or wi-fi. Ravenwood Castle has you more than covered with activities, such as a library boasting more than 150 board games and regularly scheduled events such as murder mysteries and beer tastings. You’ll find yourself longing to stay another night – castle style!

Hocking Hills’ Glenlaurel Inn offers a variety of lodging accommodations from guest rooms in the lodge to luxurious crofts and cottages, such as the one seen here.

A Scottish Hideway, Inn Style

Tucked in the heart of the Hocking Hills on 140 lush acres, the Glen Laurel Inn offers a getaway reminiscent of old-world elegance. A variety of lodging accommodations allows you to select the type of vacation you desire. From romantic rooms to luxurious crofts and cottages, many offering private hot tubs, whirlpool tubs and cozy fireplaces, you are ensured an elegant and tranquil hideaway.

After a morning of hiking, horseback riding or ziplining, find a secluded spot to enjoy a packed picnic lunch filled with tasty morsels. Spend the afternoon unwinding with a soothing in-room couple’s massage. Close out the evening with a fine dining experience that combines traditional Scottish cooking with flavorful modern cuisine.

With such an Inn-viting stay, “ye may raist yer weary haid” and walk away revitalized and refreshed – Scottish style!

Tania Meek spends her days as many of us do – endeavoring to balance family, faith, community and friendship, only to feel as if she might be getting it right just a sprinkling of the time.