My husband and I don’t agree on everything. But when it comes to vacations, we’re usually on the same page. If it includes good wine, thought-provoking activities, and a beautiful beach to relax on, we usually see eye-to-eye. That’s why our trip to New Smyrna Beach was such a success.
We stayed at the impressive Riverview Hotel, which we adored for its mix of Old World Victorian charm and modern amenities. Between the classic décor of our room and the French doors leading onto a stunning balcony, we felt like we were young and on our honeymoon again. The historic building sits on the Indian River, which makes for the perfect setting to wake up to.
We started the week off right with the couple’s package at the hotel spa. This included a couple’s massage, pedicure, and a healthy lunch afterward, topped with a complimentary glass of chardonnay of course. That surely took all the stress away. We then borrowed some of the hotel bicycles for a sweet ride throughout New Smyrna Beach. What a romantic way to get to know the city.
The next day, we got up real early to watch the sunrise on the beach. We headed to Canaveral National Seashore, which we heard was one of the more undisturbed beaches in the area. And they were right. No hotels, condos, or restaurants crowd this beach. Just white sand, blue water, plants, and birds. We even spotted a turtle laying her eggs, which I’ll never forget.
For dinner, we visited the SoNapa Grille for its glowing wine reviews. It’s a pretty chic little eatery with a Northern California feel to it. We knew immediately that these folks knew wines. The waiter told us the restaurant actually originated as a wine club among friends and later evolved into the business it is today. And we could feel that. The wines were paired perfectly with our dishes. I had the lobster bisque, which hit the spot. My husband had the seared sea scallops, which he wouldn’t stop raving about.
I love to check out the local art scene whenever we travel, so I dragged my husband to Arts on Douglas. The funny thing is that I basically had to drag him out when we were done. He enjoyed it so much. I was quite impressed with the variety of talent that was showcased in the gallery, which features rotating artists and a wide range of experimental styles. There was a digital media exhibit in the alt_space gallery that we probably got lost in for about an hour.
Another highlight of our trip was the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens. We took a short drive over to Port Orange to see these spectacular botanical gardens on the site of a 19th-century cane sugar plantation. The sugar mill was destroyed by the Seminoles during the Second Seminole War and was later revitalized as a natural oasis. Now, the combination of native plants, flowers, and trees amongst these old ruins truly takes your breath away. I’d recommend this to any lover of flora.
Another day we visited Lake Ashby Park, since my husband and I love to canoe together. It was the perfect setting to take the boat out on the water and watch the sunset. The park is huge, about 71 acres, and includes trails, campgrounds, a fishing pier, playgrounds, and more. This makes it easy to find a quiet area and bask in the peaceful surroundings.
We finished our last day off with some live music at Norwoods Treehouse. Not only is the food and drink here delicious, I just love their Treehouse Bar. It really gives you the feeling that you’re dancing in a treehouse in the Caribbean. So that’s what we did – danced the night away. This was the perfect ending to our romantic getaway. And yes, we both agreed on that!