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Planning a honeymoon? You don’t have to go too far

If you want to be frugal on your honeymoon and still have a fun, romantic getaway, you don’t have to get away at all, according to Honeymoon Always, a travel website.

Dan and Michele Bagby, who run, said their survey of 3,000 couples showed that the Finger Lakes ranked 49th and Seneca Falls 66th on the list of top 150 budget-friendly honeymoon destinations in America.

About Seneca Falls, they wrote: “Seneca Falls offers a unique blend of historical significance and romantic allure without breaking the bank. Couples can explore historic sites like the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame, immersing themselves in the stories of pioneering women, all at minimal cost.”

Seneca Falls Canal Harbor

Jeff Shipley, president of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, said he was delighted that Seneca Falls was recognized by being included so high in’s list.

“It’s just another accolade in a long list of accolades,” Shipley said about honeymoon destinations. “We do get those calls from time to time, and we pass them on to our members and tourism partners.”

He also noted that a new section about weddings, and wedding and engagement destinations, within Seneca County was added to the chamber’s website recently, so it’s not really a surprise that people would be choosing to have their honeymoons in Seneca Falls too.

As for the Finger Lakes, the Bagbys wrote: “(it) captivates with its stunning landscapes, charming towns, and affordable activities. Nestled amidst rolling hills and pristine lakes, this region offers a wealth of low-cost adventures for a romantic escape.”

“We have grown into a great place for honeymoons, and for people who are looking for spaces for other special occasions,” said Valerie Knoblauch, president and CEO of

She said people who want to experience a different sort of getaway, with attractions like vineyards and barns, waterfalls and the outdoors — as well as unusual hotels like Belhurst in Geneva and The Lake House on Canandaigua — can find no better place than the Finger Lakes.

“And they are right about it being affordable,” Knoblauch added.

The Bagbys say their website is there to help plan travel experiences that can bring couples closer together, whether they are planning a honeymoon, destination wedding, or a couples trip. The honeymoon, they said, doesn’t ever have to be over.

The Finger Lakes region extends south into Penn Yan, which is also enjoying a boost from young couples coming to the area, according to tourism experts there.

“Our personal experience here in Yates County is more weddings than honeymoons. However, many people seek the Finger Lakes for ‘mini-moons’ or anniversary trips,” said Chelsea Race, director of marketing for the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. “With all the bed-and-breakfasts, luxury waterfront rentals, lakes, outdoor recreation, wineries, and restaurants, honeymooning in the Finger Lakes is an ideal spot for folks looking to stay in the country or to escape the city.”

The affordability of the area, in relation to more pricey destinations, counts too, all three local tourism experts agree — as do the Bagbys.

“America is bursting with under-the-radar beautiful destinations that don’t require going into debt (or selling grandmother’s antique brooch),” according to the Bagbys.

The average honeymoon, they found, cost about $4,500, which is difficult because they say most couples start their wedded adventure with a “something borrowed” bank balance. So, they added it’s no surprise that couples want to make every cent count without sacrificing an unforgettable experience.

The only other location in New York that made the list was Cooperstown, which was ninth.

Cedar Key in Florida emerged as the top honeymoon destination, with Hawaii’s Molokai second and Edisto Island in South Carolina third. Rounding out the top 10: Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Kentucky; Apalachicola, Fla.; Soagway, Alaska; Williamsburg, Va.; St. Lewish, Miss.; Cooperstown, which is “nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of New York, this idyllic town is known for its historic architecture, serene lakes, and scenic beauty;” and Solvang, Calif.

What did the survey show was most captivating about the Finger Lakes?

“Couples can explore picturesque hiking trails with breathtaking views, indulge in leisurely boat rides across the serene lakes, or have a romantic picnic by the water’s edge without breaking the bank,” Honeymoon Always’ press release read. “The Finger Lakes’ charming towns, each with its unique character, provide affordable accommodations, from cozy bed and breakfasts to affordable inns, ensuring a comfortable and intimate stay within budget. The region’s burgeoning wine scene offers budget-conscious wine tastings and winery tours, allowing couples to savor local flavors without overspending.”

And what about Seneca Falls?

“The town’s picturesque setting along the Seneca-Cayuga Canal invites leisurely walks hand in hand, creating moments of intimacy amidst natural beauty. With a range of budget-conscious accommodations, including cozy bed and breakfasts and affordable inns, couples can find comfort without overspending. Seneca Falls’ charming Main Street features local boutiques, antique shops, and affordable eateries, offering couples an opportunity to explore and dine on a budget,” according to the release.

The whole region enjoys the reputation of having inviting accommodations and interesting places to explore without, comparatively speaking, spending a lot of money.

Steve O’Malley, who owns Chapman House Bed and Breakfast at 562 S. Main St. in Geneva with his wife, Julie, said they have a lot of people stay with them for honeymoons. They have operated their B&B for 20 years, also hosting countless wedding parties.

“The Finger Lakes are so different from other venues,” he said, also noting that proximity to places like New York City and Washington makes this area popular. “We are very small and everything is pretty close by. There is a lot you can do here, from wine trails to waterfalls.”

These top 150 budget-friendly destinations show, Dan Bagby said, “You can have your wedding cake and eat it too!”

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