Nov 2, 2010 – Andrew
We got married!! Courtney and I tied the knot on Oct 16, 2010. It was a beautiful day, everything either of us could have hoped for. We departed for our honeymoon the next day. It’s traditional (and understandable) to throw caution – and budgets – to the wind for a honeymoon, but it wouldn’t have been who we are. We had a blast finding fun, low-cost ways to enjoy our first week as man and wife. I’m proud to say we kept our total expenditures (including travel, lodging, food, entertainment, and meals out) to just under $900, without skimping on fun! Here’s what we did…
Travel – For us, spending half the budget just getting someplace wasn’t ‘us’, and neither of us wanted to lie on the beach or hit a ski resort anyway (and we’ve both done Europe). Besides, with people all over the country flocking to Upstate NY in the fall, we had limitless beautiful destinations in our backyard. We hopped in Courtney’s gas-sipping Hyundai and hit the road for the Finger Lakes!
COST: $80 for gas and tolls
Lodging – Obviously, the biggest expense on any trip is where you stay. Hotels and B&Bs can cost big bucks, and timing is everything. We rented a small cabin on Keuka Lake, near Hammondsport, NY. By renting in October, it was less than half the cost of the same place during the summer season!
COST: $600 for 5 days and 4 nights.
Food and Dining – Next biggest budget buster while traveling is food. Restaurants (especially those in hotels) cost big money, and are usually a lot less healthy than home-cooked food. We saved a bundle (of cash and calories) with a little planning:
- Eat IN! Our lake house had a full kitchen, so we raided the fridge at home ahead of time and packed bread, cereal, granola, yogurt, nuts, grains and beans, and a ton of great leftovers we built up the week before. We bought only perishables locally – veggies, milk, juice, etc.
COST: $30 for all groceries
- Snack Smart! We packed lunches and snacks each day to take with us as we explored the region, and cooked dinner when we returned in the evening. Healthier and cheaper!
- “But what about nice meals out!?” Hey, we like indulging too! We had two meals out. We ate lunch at the Village Tavern, a cozy pub on the square in Hammondsport our first day. We split a bowl of soup and shared a tuna melt (subbing a side salad for fries, and split that too). Our last night in town, we splurged – for us – and hit a fancy Italian bistro called Union Block, sharing a large salad and each ordering an appetizer for our main course.
COST: $70 total for both meals out (with generous tips!)
FUN! – For those of you wondering; “Great, you saved money but did you have fun?” I’m happy to say we had an absolute blast! Besides the obvious (lakes), the Finger Lakes are home to beautiful small towns, state parks, vineyards and wineries, and are rich in history and Americana. Plus the mountains are gorgeous with the fall foliage.
Here’s a sample of our adventures:
- The night of our wedding (reception ended at 5:00), we saw Victor Wooten at the Egg in Albany, in full wedding garb and carrying a ‘Just Married’ sign!
- Before we left home, we hit our local library for books and movies and spent peaceful evenings in our cabin reading on the porch looking over the lake, or cuddled up with a blanket and a good film. COST: Free!
- Once we arrived at our cabin, we toured the lake region by foot and car all week, seeing Hammondsport, Penn Yan, Corning, Prattsburgh, Bath, and Watkins Glen. COST: Free!
- Even tho we don’t drink wine, you gotta hit wine country in the Finger Lakes! The Bully Hill Winery and Vineyard – with its own wine museum and art gallery (featuring the works of their controversial founder; William S. Taylor) – was a gorgeous and very cool stop. COST: Free! (skipping the tasting saves $$)
- We visited the Corning Glass Museum, the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum, and the Autumn Mist Alpaca Farm. COST: $40 for all admissions and tours.
- We browsed town squares, antique shops, farmers markets, second-hand stores, craft shops, road-side stands, bookstores, local art galleries and more!
- With our little house being tucked right next to Keuka Lake, we spent a lot of time exploring the shore and trails in our own backyard. COST: Free!
- Our last night in town, after our dinner at Union Block, we went downstairs to their cool basement taproom. They had great live music and, after chatting with the host, we wound up jamming with the house band for an hour!
After our lake days were over, we decided we were both ready to come home, but stay in honeymoon mode. So we didn’t let anyone know we were back, let the phone go to the machine, and spent a few joyously peaceful days settling in – opening presents (replacing old housewares with our new gifts), working on projects that had been put on hold with wedding planning, relaxing together, and generally enjoying our new life as wife and husband.
Obviously, everyone has different ideas of a perfect honeymoon, so if you want to go wild with yours do it! The point is to make it the honeymoon of your dreams, and in line with your values. But if you’re frugal lovebirds like us, maybe this will give you some good ideas for your own Honey “Low Money” Moon!
See more pix from the trip here!