Honeymoon is to wedding as ________ is to childbirth. Stumped? The correct answer is babymoon, the latest staple of pregnancy, and a much more agreeable notion than morning sickness, varicose veins, and prenatal vitamins. According to a recent survey by the Liberty Travel agency and babycen
ter.com, nearly 60 percent of expectant parents take an overnight trip before the baby arrives, adding up to more than 2 million babymooners in the United States each year. From Kate and William to Kanye and Kim, babymooning is a trend that the travel industry is taking seriously. And you don't have to be uber-wealthy to hop on the babymoon bandwagon. On average, babymoons last two to four nights, and packages range from all-out luxury to smaller indulgences, such as pedicures and massages for the woman.
My husband and I recently took a babymoon to that most adult, most romantic of places: New York. With two children, and generous grandparents willing to hold down the fort for a few days, we decided we wanted a cosmopolitan experience, filled with shopping, museums, and a dizzying selection of restaurants, and that was not too far from home. While we did not go the babymoon package route, there are many great babymoon deals , with at least 20 resorts catering to soon-to-be (or repeating) parents in New England alone.
It's hard to pull yourself away from being a parent. During our babymoon, I kept thinking about our kids' schedules back home, and what they'd be doing at that particular moment. But I also knew how important the brief escape was, a chance to remember who we are as a couple and how we got there in the first place. And, as we listened to the director's tour (highly recommended) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it hit me: No way were our kids ready to take on this behemoth. The beleaguered parents I saw there looked like the "before" shot in an energy-drink commercial. I was giddy that I could linger in front of a Degas and not be pulled on by four grubby little hands. Although I admit, I did at times miss those hands — and everything else. But we'd reunite soon.
Here are five babymoon getaways within a four-hour drive of Boston:
VILLAGE INN OF WOODSTOCK — This lovely inn in the heart of Woodstock, Vt., offers a Babymoon Over Vermont package (from $230 per night with a two-night minimum, plus $370 for the package) that includes two nights' accommodations with a three-course breakfast, in-room massages for parents-to-be, a keepsake teddy bear, and a $100 gift certificate to Simon Pearce. (800-722 -4571, www.villageinnof
INN AT ELLIS RIVER —This romantic inn in Jackson, N.H., in the heart of the White Mountains, offers a babymoon package (from $119 a night, package is an additional $159), including nonalcoholic sparkling cider, fruit, and chocolates (or pickles and ice cream), a prenatal massage, a rubber duckie, and dinner for two at a local restaurant or a gourmet picnic packed in a cooler bag. (800-233-8309, www.innatellisriver.com)
VANDERBILT GRACE — This Relais & Châteaux property in Newport, R.I., a restored mansion built by the namesake Vanderbilts, offers a mommy-to-be getaway package from $800 that includes two nights' accommodation and daily breakfast, samples of Apivita natural beauty products, a blanket and cuddly toy for baby, and in-room amenities (think herbal teas and fresh fruit), along with daily prenatal yoga and a prenatal massage. Bonus: You can get a butler-drawn bath upon request. (401-846-6200, www.gracehotels.com/vanderbilt)
WHITE ELEPHANT — Book this venerable, plush Nantucket resort's two-night babymoon package for $600, choosing from a room, suite, or garden cottage, and receive a prenatal massage, an on-the-house cigar for dad, a $25 spa voucher, and a signature stuffed elephant toy. Afternoon cheeses and morning pastries are included, as is a courtesy car shuttle for an evening on the town. (508-228-2500, www.whiteelephanthotel.com)
BUTTERMILK FALLS INN & SPA — In Milton, N.Y., on this 75-acre Hudson Valley estate, you'll find a farm-to-table restaurant, spa, and 10-room inn (there are also a dozen private cottages). Wake up to a power plate (quinoa, avocado, vegetables, and eggs sourced from the inn's chickens), relax by the indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lawn, and book a prenatal massage at the eco-friendly spa for mama-to-be bliss. From $350 per night, including a hearty country breakfast. (845-795-1310, www.buttermilkfallsinn.com)
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Check in with your obstetrician Before you book, talk to your doctor about your plans to ensure that you are fit to travel based on your medical history and the stage and risk level of your pregnancy.
When to go According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the second trimester is the safest time for pregnant women to travel. And according to the survey by Liberty Travel and babycenter.com, the typical babymoon is taken then. This is when women should have the greatest amount of energy and still feel comfortable. Morning sickness tends to lessen at this point, energy levels peak, and you aren't close to your due date. I was 20 weeks when we took our babymoon, and I was happy that I wasn't any bigger, given the amount of walking and sightseeing we did. While I had to forego bungy jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, I was still agile enough to weave my way through New York's throngs of pedestrians and had enough endurance to tackle the Met and walks through Central Park.
Flying Each airline has its own rules regarding pregnant passengers. Most airlines will require a doctor's letter from 28 weeks on, stating your due date and that you are fit to travel. Once you are 36 weeks, many airlines will not let you fly due to increased risk of delivery. Whenever you fly, make sure to get up and stretch your legs frequently, as the risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis increases during pregnancy.
Cruising Most cruise lines don't allow women passengers beginning around their third trimester. To sail with Carnival, women cannot be more than 24 weeks pregnant, while Royal Caribbean sets its limit at 27 weeks. Bring a letter from your doctor, and check with your health insurance to make sure you are covered. Cruise ships carrying fewer than 100 passengers may not have medical personnel on board.
Where to go While we decided to stay relatively close to home, many couples see the babymoon as a last fling and choose an exotic locale. Choose a place that you and your partner feel you will miss in those first exhausting months of parenthood and plan your trip around that. A comfortable climate and a hotel or resort with a lot of amenities will make your trip more relaxing. When researching locations, find out if they have near access to quality medical facilities . Write down the contact info for nearby hospitals to keep on hand as you travel, along with a number for your obstetrician.
For inspiration, visit www.babymoonfinder.com, www.bnbfinder.com/babymoon, www.babymoonguide.com, www.baby-moon.eu, or www.babymoonblog.com.
Caitlin Hurley can be reached at caitlinhurley @yahoo.com.