- Gardens & Art in Brandywine Valley
- Equestrian Charm in Middleburg, VA
- Hikes & History in Harpers Ferry, WV
- Sweet Escape to Hershey, PA
By Katie Riley
After a year of closures and social distancing, one pursuit families look forward to the most is resuming travel. With declining Covid-19 numbers, and eased restrictions, there’s no better time to plan a trip with the ones we love, and a mother-daughter getaway is just the remedy to reconnect.
Mother-daughter getaways create new memories, nourish relationships and celebrate the special bond between mother and daughter. Turns out, they are also good for your health. According to a 2019 Harvard Medical School study, mother-daughter trips taken once a year can help increase immune responses, relieve stress and even prevent heart disease. Researchers also found that strong familial relationships can also help you live longer.
While most of us are not ready to travel to exotic locales, these mother-daughter getaways within driving distance can rejuvenate and refresh, while also safely testing the post-pandemic travel waters.
Culture, gardens and art in the Brandywine Valley
The Brandywine Valley lies nestled between the border of Pennsylvania and Delaware. The area is rich in cultural history, botanical wonders and world-class art attractions. Much of the area’s unique history is owed to the storied DuPont family, who established themselves in the 1800s as one of America’s richest families.
You can experience the family’s opulent grandeur by booking a room at the Hotel DuPont, a historic hotel in the heart of Wilmington. Start the weekend by visiting Winterthur, one of the nation’s premier decorative arts museums. Once a former home of the DuPont family, this 175-room mansion offers a Downton Abbey-like look into a decadent lifestyle. Spend the afternoon outdoors at one of America’s most spectacular public gardens, Longwood Gardens, which boasts a sprawling indoor conservatory and fountain garden with daily fountain shows.
In nearby Chadds Ford, the Brandywine River Museum of Art houses art from painters N.C. Wyeth, his son Andrew and grandson Jamie Wyeth, a contemporary of Andy Warhol. Chadds Ford offers excellent antiquing at the Pennsbury-Chadds Ford Antique Market or the Brandywine River Antiques Market. Grab a casual bite at Antica Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar in Chadds Ford, or end the evening with a meal at one of Wilmington’s lively restaurants on the city’s Riverfront.
Equestrian Charm in Middleburg
For a luxurious escape close to home, head to Middleburg, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Middleburg’s small town charm, great shopping and outdoor activities make it the ideal escape for mothers and daughters of all ages. Check in to the area’s best accommodation, The Salamander Resort and Spa, a Forbes-5-star property owned by entrepreneur and BET founder, Sheila Johnson. Surrounded by 340 acres of lush rolling hills, the resort offers an endless menu of activities for moms who want to stay active, or an award-winning spa to relax and indulge in a bit of pampering. With an indoor and outdoor pool, tennis, basketball, biking, and a heart-stopping zipline course, it’s hard to choose what to do next. The equestrian themed resort is heaven for horse lovers and the resort’s 14,000-square-foot stables and outdoor riding ring offers daily lessons and trail rides for all levels of ability. For those who don’t want to saddle up, guests can visit with the horses, help with grooming, or say hello to Cupcake, the Salamander’s resident mini pony who visits the lobby each afternoon.
Don’t miss Middleburg’s charming shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of the resort. Grab a casual bite at the popular King Street Oyster Bar, a gastropub specializing in seafood, or enjoy a cozy candlelit dinner at the historic Red Fox Inn. To learn more about the area’s rich history, visit The National Sporting Library and Museum, a museum dedicated to the history of country pursuits like foxhunting, polo, and horsemanship. Moms and daughters over 21 can while away the afternoon at one the area’s renowned wineries. Just a few miles from town, Greenhill Vineyards is Middleburg’s most beautiful vineyard, with a large tasting room, outdoor fire pits and lounge chairs overlooking a nearby mountain range.
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Hikes and history in Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry and the surrounding area is a great choice for an action-packed mother-daughter getaway. Check off a bucket list item by hiking the Appalachian Trail or head to nearby Antietam for Civil War history. Accommodations in Harper’s Ferry range from affordable chain hotels like the top-rated Clarion to charming bed and breakfasts like the Ledge House Inn or the historic Town’s Inn, an 1840’s hotel located steps from the C&O towpath.
Harpers Ferry Historical National Park, which encompasses downtown Harpers Ferry, is a must-do. See John Brown’s Fort, take a history tour with the Harper’s Ferry Park Association or take some Instagram-worthy photos from the CSX railroad bridge. Downtown features casual dining restaurants like The Rabbit Hole gastropub, a favorite for outdoor dining, or Battle Grounds Bakery and Coffee, known for its tasty sandwiches and baked goods. The area’s most picturesque hike, Split Rock Overlook, easily accessed through town, provides stunning views of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. On a warm day, laze away the afternoon on a flatwater tubing trip or, for the more adventurous, a white water trip that ventures through Class I–III rapids down the Potomac. Both can be booked through River Riders.
Sweet Escape to Hershey
What teen wouldn’t love a chocolate-dipped coconut manicure? At the Hotel Hershey and Spa, moms and daughters can indulge their shared love of chocolate through chocolate-infused spa treatments, decadent desserts, and culinary classes. With an indoor pool, hiking trails, sports complex and massive outdoor pool with splash park, the Hotel Hershey is a destination unto itself. Add to that Hersheypark and its many attractions, including free tours at Chocolate World, and you have one sweet mother-daughter getaway.
At Chocolate World, take in the 4-D Chocolate Movie or sign up for the Create a Candy Bar class, where you can create your own concoction, including a custom label design. With 23 acres of lush botanic beauty, seasonal displays, and a tropical butterfly atrium, The Gardens at Hershey is always worth a visit. Relax after a day at the park with a cocoa massage or chocolate hydrating body wrap at The Spa at Hotel Hershey. At the end of a long day, unwind with a craft cocktail or small plate at The Circular, the hotel’s signature restaurant. In town, The Mill in Hershey offers farm-to-table favorites in a historic setting, while Troegs Brewery serves up family-friendly fare like sandwiches, pretzels and fondue.