The idea of a babymoon seemed funny and indulgent to my husband and me while still in the early weeks of pregnancy. We live in the Northeast and a beach vacation is always appealing during that seasonal transition after the pretty winter snow has melted and the spring blooms haven’t popped yet. However, after the first trimester, house updates and saving were more of a focus rather than flying or driving more than a few hours from our home. Once the third trimester was in sight, spending time relaxing and connecting away from home projects and to-do lists was highly desirable and needed. We opted to maximize the relaxation by selecting a location in the Finger Lakes, knowing we wanted to slow down our pace, eat well, and be outside. Ithaca was a perfect babymoon choice!
Babymoon Hotel Choice
Downtown Ithaca has many contemporary hotel and lodging options. For this getaway, we decided to stay just a few miles outside of downtown at LaTourelle Hotel, which has a resort setting that really helped to make the getaway feel special.
The staff of the family-owned LaTourelle was wonderfully attentive, yet casual. The unpretentious hospitality really puts you at ease and makes everything feel personal. The lobby offered a selection of locally roasted Ithaca Coffee Co, with a dark roast decaf that I especially appreciated. Although we missed the complimentary evening wine happy hour in the lobby while we were out exploring, my husband really enjoyed their Finger Lakes wine selection. It was a thoughtfully curated list with very reasonable by-the-glass options. To keep the easy-going feel in the morning, we opted for breakfast right at the Bistro. It’s a simple menu with well-executed breakfast favorites utilizing locally-made products.
We stayed in a fireplace suite. It was cozy yet spacious with just the vibe we wanted. The balcony room view allowed for observing both a sunset and sunrise. It was so enjoyable to stroll outside and wander down to the Buttermilk Falls Trail. This can be a more strenuous hike if you do the full loop, but I enjoyed the option to leisurely walk in the woods.
Babymoon Spa Treatment
What’s a babymoon without a spa treatment? A mother-daughter team manages August Moon Spa at LaTourelle. With expertise in herbs, they make most of the natural products used for the treatments onsite. The staff was very considerate of my pregnancy and suggested an indulgent NY maple syrup scrub to complement a massage. I also recommend during a babymoon spa treatment to allow yourself time to relax before and after the treatment. I settled right into the time to unplug, journal, and read the latest NY Times magazine.
Babymoon Cultural Experience
As part of our getaway, we definitely wanted to take advantage of the Ithaca music and arts scene by seeing a show. There were a few options, including a concert at The State Theatre but we opted for a performance at the Kitchen Theatre located in the West End neighborhood just a few blocks from the Ithaca Commons. Prior to the show, we had a few treat options within walking distance for enjoying a beverage - there is a wonderful tea and cocktail selection at The Watershed or creative lattes at Press Café in Press Bay Alley. The Kitchen is an intimate, in-the-round contemporary space with thought-provoking performances – this one happened to be from the perspective of a new mom and fighter pilot. The show was fully engaging and although neither of us are fighter pilots, the performance sparked some reflection on how our routines and partnership dynamics could change soon.
Babymoon Outdoor Adventure
To stretch our legs after the performance, we didn’t have to go far to check a waterfall off our must-do-list. Together we hiked Cascadilla Gorge, just a couple blocks from the Downtown Ithaca Commons with easy street parking anywhere in the Fall Creek neighborhood. The path is mixed terrain with stone bridges and is well managed by the Cornell Botanic Gardens. It was just the right amount of invigorating. We could not help but notice Cascadilla Park running alongside the gorge. This steep, winding storybook-like path is a collection of charming Arts & Crafts era homes.
After the hike and exploring downtown, we found it most appealing to bring take out back to our hotel room. On Sunday, brunch and the afternoon were bustling downtown, but restaurants on the Commons seemed quiet by Sunday evening. Our timing was perfect, as our hotel balcony allowed us to enjoy the sunset over the expansive rolling hills around us.
Here are a few tips for planning your own babymoon in Ithaca:
- Plan to take it slow and enjoy the details. Savor leisurely meals.
- Give yourself time to talk about parenting styles and to share questions with each other. It was fun to notice happy families of all styles throughout Ithaca.
- Take advantage of all the naturally-minded services in Ithaca, perfect for pampering a soon-to-be-mama. I loved finding Nora Bloom Beauty Lounge that uses seaweed-derived polish for all natural nail treatments. Another gem is Bramble herb shop in Press Bay Alley with a wonderful selection of teas appropriate for pregnant women.
- Enjoy creative non-alcoholic drinks and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. Ithaca’s a wonderfully accommodating place. In general, restaurant staff have above average food & beverage knowledge and were happy to answer ingredient questions and meet dietary preferences. Some of my favorite places with healthy food options and great NA beverage lists were Moosewood Restaurant and Northstar Pub in Ithaca, along with Atlas Bowl and Creekside Café in Trumansburg
- Buy something local to mark the significance of a babymoon retreat. There are so many sweet made-in-Ithaca options. We took home a handmade wooden bank to inspire our nursery decor. Visit any of these places an you won’t be able to resist buying something cute: Mama Goose or Jillian’s Drawers for a selection of new and consignment items; Alphabet Soup for toys; IthacaMade for handmade gifts & trinkets; or Ithaca’s renowned Farmers Market at the head of Cayuga Lake open late April through December.