A bon vivant journalist who believes travel is the ultimate celebration of life, full of lessons waiting to be learned, widely published, Texas-based, Becca Hensley covers honeymoons and wedding related travel for New Orleans Bride. Her work has appeared in hundreds of newspapers and journals in a career that spans nearly three decades. An expert on spas, wellness, cuisine, wine and worldliness of all kinds, she’s on a relentless magic carpet ride in search of stories. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @beccahensley
You know what they say about oysters — that’s right, they’re delicious. OK, and let’s be frank, they’re sexy too. So, what better theme to pursue for a honeymoon than a quest for zinc-rich, sex-drive boosting, bivalve heaven. We don’t know if it’s the fact that many drink champagne with them, or if it’s the sounds we make when we slurp them down, or if it’s where we are and what we’re doing and who we’re with when we munch them, but oysters have an amorous reputation. Casanova purportedly ate 50 for breakfast a day. At any rate, we love them fried, grilled, raw and baked — and so countless people.
So, shuck your way into a honeymoon of oyster delights at the Tides Inn, a quintessential Southern hideaway in Virginia’s historic Northern Neck, a peninsula on the northern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, known for is blue crab, oysters and rock fish. Luxuriously ensconced in this resort, which began indulging guests in 1947, you can become students for the day at the Tides Inn’s revered Virginia Oyster Academy. There you’ll be schooled by an authentic waterman (a specific, ancient term for only those who harvest seafood from the Chesapeake Bay — or, wait for it — the River Thames in England), who teaches you everything about his storied profession while you bob along in his boat. You’ll use ropes, pulls, and tongs to get your oysters, and finally a knife, when you learn to shuck from an oyster virtuoso. Later, you’ll eat what you’ve foraged from the sea, likely with small cuts on your hands, because, let’s face it, shucking is an art that takes years to master. You won’t mind, though, as the oysters are worth the effort, and that wine you quaff with them dulls some of the pain. Oh, didn’t we tell you? The Tides Inn doesn’t just lie along the Virginia Oyster Trail, it also sits adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail. That makes the whole experience a tremendous two-fer for foodie-loving honeymooners.
But, that’s not all. The Tides Inn, poised on a bluff above the wide-as-a-lake Carter’s Creek (a tributary of the Rappahannock River, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay), offers celebration-worthy activities galore for lovers. Sign up for sunset cruises, enhanced by a bay-to-basket picnic packed by the notable chef, play croquet on the lawn, or join the premier Sailing School, which will turn you into a mariner. Walk amid the azalea, dogwood and crepe myrtle gardens, make s’mores at night on the beach, or have a splash fight in the pool. Under the tutelage of the chef, you can learn to make cocktails, whiskey taste, get wine pairing advice or take a cooking class. Pedal the complimentary bikes across the 450-acre property to burn calories — or, forget that plan, and aim your two wheelers in the direction of The Dog and Oyster Vineyard, a nearby winery, to sample their productions. You can play tennis, go to the spa, pilot an electric boat, canoe or paddleboat, fish or explore the adorable town of Irvington, chockablock with shops and galleries. Just talking with the tremendously affable and coddling staff is a heart-warming experience in itself. All they want to do is spoil you — and they’ll succeed. When you’re tired, relax in your room, one of the four, recently refurbished Ashburn Suites, commodious sanctums with moan-worthy water views and soaking tubs, set apart from the main building.
And, for room service while you watch the sunset? Oysters, of course. Because, you know what they say about oysters.