Where Couples Honeymooned in the 1950s Might Surprise You

The word "honeymoon" conjures up images of a romantic getaway a deux, created for lovebirds who have just tied the knot and are ready to enjoy some time one-on-one. But that wasn't always the case. Though it was first coined back in the 16th century, honeymoon took on (a version of) its current meaning in the early 1800s, when Brits used it to refer to a post-wedding tour in which newlyweds (and their families) visited relatives throughout the country who had not been able to attended the nuptials. 

Fortunately, by the time the 1950s rolled around, honeymoons only had room for two. But they were still quite different from what they are today. While the most popular destinations for honeymooners these days include Hawaii, Mexico, and the Bahamas, back then honeymooners from the U.S. and U.K. had their sights set elsewhere. Four of the most popular honeymoon destinations of the '50s just may surprise you -- so take a look.

1. Verona, Italy

When newlyweds in the United Kingdom decided they deserved a post-nuptials getaway, thereby starting one of the most significant tourism movements to date, most headed to romantic destinations in Europe. Rome, the French Riviera, and Venice were all popular locales, but so was -- somewhat more surprisingly -- Verona. We shouldn't be too surprised, though. The setting of three of Shakespeare's plays (including the ultimate romance "Romeo and Juliet" -- you can even visit her famous balcony at Casa di Giulietta), this Italian town is filled with beautiful churches, cobblestone streets, and cafes selling delicious pastas and gelato.

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2. The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Shortly after World War II, the Poconos became a hot spot for romantic getaways; couples were attracted to the relative seclusion and natural beauty the mountainous region provided, and by the 1960s the destination had adopted the moniker "The Honeymoon Capital of the World." Inexpensive inns and hotels catered to the newlywed crowd with features such as heart-shaped hot tubs and round beds. For better or worse, not much has changed since then. Some honeymooners still choose the destination today; for those who prefer their romance with a side of cheese, this is the spot.

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3. Jersey, United Kingdom

While American newlyweds were heading to the mountains, their British counterparts were beach-bound. Part of the Channel Islands, Jersey, a U.K. dependency, sits off the coast of Normandy and attracted honeymooners with its beautiful beaches, French flair, and stunning coastal drives. It gets a good amount of rain, but couples in particular don't seem to mind -- especially since the island is dotted by quaint inns and bed-and-breakfasts. Just nine by five miles, Jersey became known as "Honeymoon Island" in the 1950s.

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4. Niagara Falls, New York

Like the Poconos, Niagara Falls also claimed to be "The Honeymoon Capital of the World." After all, even though the current concept of honeymooning is less than a century old, newlyweds have been traveling here for over 200 years. The falls, of course, are the destination's piece de resistance; it also didn't hurt that Niagara Falls was relatively easy to reach by train back in the day (a scenic ride, too) and nearby Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario is home to several theaters, art shops, and wineries.

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