Couples planning a last hurrah before the baby comes might jet off to Greece or Italy. But when you’re pregnant, it’s much more relaxing to vacation close by. Some romantic ideas a quick drive away. Distances are measured from the Washington Monument.
In the Country
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep in this part of western Maryland. So much so that you may be inspired to quote or read Robert Frost while in this cozy yet elegant lodge, tucked into 700 acres of dense forest. There are no televisions, and wi-fi is available only in the public areas of the main building. Relax in front of a gas fireplace in either a pet-friendly cabin or a sun-filled yurt (yes, it has plumbing). Schedule an in-room massage after a short hike on the lodge’s 14 miles of trails. Or raid the babymoon basket for its selection of teas and belly butter. Wild game might be on the menu at the lodge restaurant, but vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are also available.
Baby-bump photo op: Dan’s Rock Overlook—a 35-minute drive—with its far-reaching views of the Allegheny Mountains.
Rates: Starting at $250 a night. Add-ons include massage ($100), babymoon basket ($60), and nonalcoholic Champagne or wine ($10).
Distance from DC: 156 miles.
Apart from the occasional passing train, not much is happening in this small railroad town on the western fringe of the Shenandoah Valley, not far from the slightly more lively towns of Lexington, Staunton, and Hot Springs. That’s exactly the point at this romantic five-room inn and cabin, which still likes to boast about hosting Eleanor Roosevelt in 1935. Parents-to-be can enjoy massages and bedtime milk and cookies as part of a babymoon package. Soak in the Jacuzzi tub of the Alleghany or Stable View room, or opt for a private cabin and listen to the trickling sounds from Mill Creek.
Baby-bump photo op: Overlooking the Maury River from a wooden pedestrian bridge at Rockbridge Baths, a five-minute drive.
Rates: The two-night “Just Before the Ba-by” package costs $798 and includes a two-night stay, full breakfasts, two hourlong massages, a $50 gift card toward a restaurant of your choice, and other presents.
Distance from DC: 187 miles.
Some 45 minutes northwest of DC, Leesburg offers history, small-town character, rolling hills—and, because quaintness can go only so far, some stellar outlet shopping (Leesburg Outlets includes OshKosh B’Gosh and Tommy Hilfiger Kids). This refined 296-room resort sits on 500 acres on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River. Book a table for two at the property’s dress-code-enforced, play-zone-free restaurant, Piedmont’s. Sign up for a prenatal massage and body mask and zone out at the decadent Spa Minerale, with its 12 treatment rooms and relaxation lounges. Or you can chill by one of the indoor pools.
Baby-bump photo op: Take your virgin toddy to the fire pit on the back terrace and strike a pose.
Rates: The one-night babymoon package starts at $500 and includes accommodations, breakfast, valet parking, a $300 spa credit, and a baby onesie.
Distance from DC: 31 miles.
By the Water
Bethany Beach, Delaware
Of all the region’s beach towns, Bethany is especially quiet and low-key, even more so during fall and winter, when you can practically have the beach to yourselves. This 112-suite oceanfront property offers indoor and outdoor heated saltwater pools, suites with kitchenettes and private balconies, a spa, and free breakfast. You can stroll the boardwalk and dine in town or eat at the hotel’s restaurant. Plus, it’s a Marriott resort, so you can use points or collect them.
Baby-bump photo op: Standing barefoot at water’s edge during the golden hour just before sunset.
Rates: Starting at $169 a night. A $100 add-on romance package includes chocolate-covered strawberries, sparkling beverages (with or without alcohol), flowers, and a late checkout. A prenatal massage is $110 for 50 minutes.
Distance from DC: 130 miles.
South of Washington on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s Northern Neck prides itself on its relaxed pace. Avoid the highway and take the more scenic drive there via Route 3—along the way, you’ll come to small towns and historic sites such as George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument. At the end of the drive and at the tip of a private peninsula, the Tides Inn offers 106 rooms, most with balconies or patios. You can rent a boat and cruise Carter’s Creek or take complimentary bikes into the village—it’s less than a mile—for green smoothies and avocado toast at the Local. Don’t miss Merroir, the tasting room of the Rappahannock Oyster Company, a short drive across the river. (It has plenty of non-raw options.) Or maybe you want to take it easy and roast s’mores on the beach.
Baby-bump photo op: Playing croquet, bocce, or cornhole on the Croquet Lawn overlooking the beach and the bay.
Rates: Starting at $215 a night. The hourlong “Mother to Be Massage” is $120 for 60 minutes.
Distance from DC: 125 miles.
This affordable B&B sits on the picturesque island of Solomons, on the Patuxent River at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. You can walk out the back deck of the seven-room inn to an expanse of lawn, plop onto Adirondack chairs, sip tea, and watch sailboats glide by. Stroll around the village—the fried-oyster Benedicts at Zahniser’s Dry Dock are a lure. Or retire to the privacy of your room, which might have a gas fireplace or a private screened porch. Breakfast is big here: Both an early continental version and a hot breakfast are included daily. Mention that you’re on a babymoon and the resort will provide cake, a nonalcoholic beverage, and breakfast sent to the room.
Baby-bump photo op: Along the town’s boardwalk, with the Patuxent River as the backdrop.
Rates: Starting at $120 nightly, including the special babymoon offerings; $35 to add fresh flowers and some fruit.
Distance from DC: 62 miles.
In the City
In Charm City’s romantic harborside neighborhood of Fells Point, shops selling everything from vintage posters to Italian gelato line the cobblestone streets. With its prime location in a former warehouse on Recreation Pier, Sagamore Pendry’s 128 über-luxe rooms feature leather couches, nautical touches, minibars filled with local delicacies, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water or the courtyard. The hotel partners with a spa, a block away, where trained prenatal-massage therapists will not only help relax muscles but also teach pregnant partners how to reduce swelling and leg cramps.
Baby-bump photo op: With any one of the city’s 20 “Love” murals by local artist Michael Owen—the closest is at 3429 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown, a ten-minute cab ride away.
Rates: Starting at $325 a night, with the prenatal massage starting at $105.
Distance from DC: 45 miles.
If you’re like most people, you take your hometown for granted. Strollable Georgetown makes a perfect base for a staycation; check out the boutiques (don’t miss Little Birdies and Tugooh Toys) and have a decaf coffee at Café Georgetown. Back at the hotel—an intimate 86-room former industrial property full of exposed brick and steel beams and with an oversize lobby fireplace—luxuriate in an 80-minute couples massage and the evening rose-petal turndown service while you pore over a list of popular baby names provided with the babymoon package. You’ll also take home a children’s book about Washington for the little one.
Baby-bump photo op: Amid the beech trees and boxwood bushes in the gardens of Dumbarton Oaks, a 15-minute walk.
Rates: The one-night babymoon package, which also includes breakfast for two and valet parking, starts at $799.
One of Philly’s most exclusive neighborhoods, Rittenhouse Square offers ample sidewalks, old mansions to admire, spas, and boutiques, all centered around the tree-lined square. Some of the city’s best restaurants are also here—try Friday Saturday Sunday for its shareable plates or Barclay Prime if it’s steak you crave. You’ll find cocktails and mocktails at V Street, Vernick Food & Drink, or any one of many trendy bars. The 301-room Warwick Rittenhouse Square—Greek Revival on the outside, sleek and edgy on the inside—is also pet-friendly. The hotel offers an in-room “Mother-to-Be Harmony Massage,” which uses soothing Chinese geranium-infused oil to relax tired muscles.
Baby-bump photo op: In front of the “Love” sculpture in aptly named Love Park, a 15-minute walk away.
Rates: Starting at about $200 a night, with prenatal massages $145 for 50 minutes.
Distance from DC: 137 miles.
This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Washingtonian.