Our Fall Getaway

Last week my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a fall getaway to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Our wedding was the weekend before the Presidential election and rather than honeymoon we stayed home to vote and then get depressed. It wasn’t great. I read somewhere recently that couples should honeymoon every year and I have to say I like that idea. This year we decided to take a short trip to celebrate our anniversary. While it didn’t turn out to be a magical, dream vacation, it was a great learning experience for us as a couple. All of our previous trips together have been for a purpose such as house hunting or to attend a wedding or funeral. This was our first trip together with no purpose other than to relax. Here are two lessons we learned together.
Lesson #1: We are not resort people.

I booked a room for us at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa here in Western PA. If you watch the Bachelorette you might remember it from JoJo’s season. (Remember Chad walking through the woods like a crazy person? That was at Nemacolin!) The resort is beautiful, especially the Chateau pictured above, and we received great service, but we both felt a little uncomfortable. We’re not used to valet service and bellhops when we stay at hotels.

The resort was both luxurious and eccentric. It is filled with artwork, paintings, sculptures, and rare items like original Tiffany lamps and stained glass displays. The owner likes to purchase complete art collections and display them together. Can you imagine walking into a fine art show and saying, “I’ll take it all!”? There is even a seashell collection and a floor to ceiling aquarium. We spent a lot of time walking the halls and found something new to gawk at every night.

In addition to prestigious amenities, such as a 5 star formal restaurant and a wood clad cigar room, Nemacolin also has a wildlife center. I was expecting to see butterflies and deer. Instead, we stumbled across lions and tigers and buffalo and then more lions. Did I mention the private air strip you can land your private plane on? Yeah. We felt out of place. We are not fancy resort people.
Lesson #2: We need structure.
We are both introverted and fairly laid back. We spend a lot of our time alone in separate corners doing our own thing. It’s one of the reasons our marriage works. So when we found ourselves with nothing to do but hang out with each other we weren’t sure how to fill our time. We walked around and explored the resort, drove to nearby Fort Necessity for a brief history lesson, then settled into a nice anniversary dinner at the Tavern.
Thankfully our second day had a little structure to it. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Braddock’s and then made the short drive to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. We had tickets for a 2:00 tour so we spent some time in Ohiopyle on the way. It was a perfect fall day, a little rainy and a little gray, just the way I like it. After spending a few hours at Fallingwater we stopped at a local cafe for coffee and a late lunch. (Yes, we split a sandwich. It’s our thing!) Our day outside surrounded by nature with a little bit of structure was lovely and suited us much better than the more luxurious activities available at the resort.

Our next getaway will be more casual with a little more structure and I can’t wait! Where should we go?



  1. Erinn on November 16, 2017 at 10:35 am

    We’re not resort people either…I really prefer quaint bread and breakfast-y places instead of fancy resorts!
    You and your husband sound like a perfect match. 🙂

    • Courtney A. Casto on November 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Yes! We actually talked about trying a B&B next time. Or going to NYC which is the opposite of a B&B. Ha! Thanks Erinn!

  2. Rachel on November 19, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I love the idea of honeymooning every year! That resort looks nice and I’ve never been to an “all-inclusive” type place, but I don’t think I’d fit in great either.
    We took a trip to Vermont this year and stayed at an Airbnb. Lots of hiking and food, but also some quiet alone time. It was kind of perfect! I’d definitely recommend it.
    And if you decide to take a trip to NYC, I’d definitely recommend Airbnb as well. I really think it’s the best way to travel these days if you’re a low-key gal like me 🙂

    • Courtney A. Casto on November 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

      I’ve never used Airbnb but I’ve heard that people have had good experiences. I love Vermont and definitely want to get back to New England soon. I haven’t been there in years!

  3. Susie @ Mile High Dreamers on November 19, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I love the idea of honeymooning every year! Ben and I are total AirBnb addicts, and it definitely takes the weirdness out of staying at fancy resorts. While we love an all inclusive in Mexico, we also love staying smack in the middle of a city in an apartment!
    We’re pretty partial to CO since we live here 🙂 but if you like adventuring, Boulder is great, and so are the mountain towns!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

    • Courtney A. Casto on November 19, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      Hi Susie! Thanks for your thoughts on AirBnB! I love Colorado and I’ve heard great things about Boulder. My husband has never been to Colorado so we just might have to make a trip!

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