The Last Getaway: Babymoons are just the ticket for many expecting parents
The Babymoon: One last hurrah for parents before the baby comes on board. It has become a novelty again for new parents-to-be, earning a place in the Parenting Rite of Passage Hall of Fame alongside other playfully titled traditions, such as "Chuggies and Huggies" or "Dad-chelor" parties.
Emily Glenn, a librarian at Ohio State University and mom of 1-year-old Julia, offers a simple babymoon planning strategy.
"Do as much as you can that you can only do without children," she said, laughing.
For Emily and her husband, James Eaton, this meant a Mega Bus trip to Chicago full of quiet museum visits, uninterrupted fine dining, CrossFit classes and taxi rides (no bueno with a stroller in tow or without a car seat).
In addition to offering a chance to try a world-renowned 16-course meal at Alinea Restaurant, the trip offered respite from the natural onslaught of concerns a future mom can face at home.
"I was worried I'd have the mothering instincts of a hamster," Emily said.
She didn't, of course, but the couple's babymoon marked a time of love, excitement and two-person solitude before a big life change.
Here are two itinerary outlines of nearby visits worthy of your own couple's retreat, and we have another two included in the online version of this story.
And, hey - congratulations!
Stay budget-friendly in the Buckeye State with a babymoon to the empyrean Hocking Hills in southeast Ohio. Map out a few hikes on HockingHills.com. Close to your due date? Try the quarter-mile, half-hour long Gorge Trail near Ash Cave for some views without any intense physical stress. Stop in to the secluded Liquid Light Center for a natural-remedies massage for couples, and sit down for a romantic meal at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. The inn also offers cooking classes where guests can learn to make recipes using Mother Nature's finest from the nearby garden. Take a pottery-throwing class at Nelsonville Emporium, and boot-scoot-and-boogie - cautiously, mama - at Uncle Buck's Riding Stable and Dance Barn.
Babymoon pro-tip: Cellphone service might be spotty in some cabin areas, so check with the rental company beforehand to map out the closest places to drive to for reception in case you need to make a call.
It's about time you started taking heed of those Tim Allen-narrated Pure Michigan commercials. Traverse City is near the northeast side of Lake Michigan and is beloved for its natural beauty and four-season-friendly tourist offerings. Go shopping in the downtown that spans a few blocks of Grand Traverse Bay, then peruse the historic preservation of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, which likely has a special music or festival event or two happening during your trip. Prepare a picnic for a hike or leisurely afternoon spent scoping out those awe-inspiring Lake Michigan views at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, or ride those majestic blue waters on a boat ride to the storied Beaver Island lighthouses.
Capture Americana cool with a host of activities that won't be so vacay-friendly with a new baby, like visits to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the Jim Beam American Stillhouse and the Kentucky Derby Museum. The 1800s-era Farmington Historic House, where Abraham Lincoln spent three weeks in 1841,offers tours of the 550-acre hemp plantation and impeccably preserved home. For some classic romantic relaxation, take a ride on the Belle of Louisville, the oldest operating steamboat in the country.
You'll definitely want to make hotspots such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis City Market bevy of local growers' shops a part of an Indy visit, but the capital also has some fun non-touristy gems you'll enjoy.
The Indianapolis Public Library in the heart of downtown features two magnificent architectural styles, the original Greek Doric in the front, with stone and carved marble, and a sprawling glass design in the back, which garners gorgeous views of the city on every floor. Looking to do some sightseeing? Hit up the Monon Trail, a popular asphalt-lined trail that runs through many of Indy's hottest neighborhoods. Connect at 10th Street to travel the Indianapolis Cultural Trail section; it spans five cultural districts that offer a bevy of museums, theaters, shops and restaurants. Indie art lovers should stop in Broad Ripple; in addition to being home of the Indianapolis Art Center, the progressive neighborhood has the cutest local restaurants and the buildings are decked out in unique street art.