February is upon us and inevitably our minds turn not to Presidents’ Day, but that other holiday, Valentine’s Day. If flowers, a card, and candy just aren’t enough, consider taking that special someone to one of these romantic places in North America.
Located on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel is known for its roaring waves, sandy beaches and unparalleled views of the famed California coast. This secluded village offers quintessential romance in the way of strolls on the beach, gourmet restaurants, fine art galleries, boutique shopping, spas and wine tastings. Carmel exudes romance which is evident by all the honeymooners and weddings that take place in this picturesque piece of California.
The white sands of Carmel Beach beg for a private picnic complimented by a local wine. And a trip to Carmel wouldn’t be complete without making one of the most scenic drives in the country, the 17-Mile Drive. This route hugs the Pacific coastline and passes by the world-famous Pebble Beach golf courses.
Whether an inn, B & B, or boutique hotel is preferred, Carmel offers a variety of accommodations. For those seeking the ultimate in luxury, try the Bernardus Lodge. Located in the heart of Carmel, the Carriage House Inn is a traditional favorite. A short walk to town, but just steps from Carmel Bay is the Colonial Terrace, a B & B style inn.
Charleston, South Carolina
With its old, Southern charm that features moss-draped oaks, colonial mansions, and plantations, Charleston delivers for those desiring romance with the tradition of a by-gone era.
Sophisticated, yet relaxing, Charleston is the perfect place to live life at a slower pace. Whether taking a carriage ride through the historical streets of downtown or strolling through Waterfront Park, there’s plenty of beautiful sights to take in. The White Point Gardens and monuments to Charleston’s past can be seen in the picnic-perfect Battery Park. A sunset cruise around South Carolina’s coast is especially romantic as is the Magnolia Plantation. A day-trip to Kiawah Island, just 20 miles from Charleston, offers 10 miles of beautiful beaches and is the perfect place to relax.
When heading to Charleston, refined luxury can be found in the historical district of Charleston at Planters Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property. At the French Quarter Inn, the newly redesigned rooms offer Parisian old-world elegance overlooking City Market. The Vendue Inn is located in the city’s French Quarter and a short walk to the waterfront.
There’s just something about this Canadian city. Perhaps it’s Montreal’s French influence that attracts those looking for romance. Wandering around Old Montreal’s narrow cobblestone rues and leisurely enjoying a glass of wine or a café au lait in any of the terrace cafes is an ideal way to spend an afternoon or evening. Board a horse-drawn carriage, known locally as a caliche, at the Palace Jacques-Cartier for an unforgettable tour around Old Montreal. For fabulous views of the city head to the lookout at the top of Mount Royal or La Tour de l’Horloge, a clock tower located in Old Town. On a nice day, a walk through Jardin Botanique, the world’s third largest garden, is lovely.
Found in the center of Old Montreal, the all-suite Le Saint-Sulpice is next to the Notre Dame Basilica and near the Old Port. The award-winning and historical Hotel Le St-James resides in a former bank building dating back to 1870. With its traditional European charm, Hotel Le St-James is conveniently located in Old Montreal near shopping and restaurant areas. Contemporary art lovers will enjoy the eclectic LHotel. It boasts an impressive collection that includes artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
There’s nothing like the sight of brilliant blue waters rolling onto a pristine, sandy shore. Warm temperatures, a salty sea breeze and the sounds of Spanish being spoken make Mexico truly a romantic place. Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is nestled between the Sierra Madres and Bahía de Banderas, one of the world’s largest bays. Beyond the miles of golden beaches, the colonial Old Town features cobblestone streets, historical cathedrals, a vibrant art scene and some of the best restaurants in town. A sunset walk along the Malecón, a pedestrian-friendly boardwalk that hugs the coastline is a perfect pre-dinner activity.
An adults-only hotel located about 15 minutes from Old Town, Casa Velas Hotel is laid back and luxurious. Garza Blanca Preserve Resort and Spa lies on a secluded, private beach and is surrounded by jungle-covered hills. And for classic luxury with a Mexican twist, the Four Seasons Punta Mita offers beachfront and ocean views, a full-service spa and typical Four Seasons service.
Deep in the heart of the Texas Hill Country lies Austin, arguably the most picturesque of all Texas cities. An eclectic place, Austin combines a hipster vibe with Texas tradition, which results in a culture all its own. A walk through the Zilker Botanical Garden, around Lady Bird Lake or through the Barton Creek Greenbelt provides a calming oasis in an urban setting. One of the most romantic spots in the city is atop Mount Bonnell. There, the best views of the city and Lake Austin can be found. The Oasis Restaurant is a favorite among locals for the sunset view over Lake Travis. An overlooked spot for a picnic is on the grounds of the famed pink granite Texas capitol building.
The beautifully restored Driskill Hotel is one of Austin’s most historical. With its prime downtown location, the Driskill is the perfect combination of location and luxury. Also downtown, the Inter-Continental Stephen F. Austin Hotel offers refined and modern Texas décor as well as a fabulous view of the capitol building from the Stephen F’s Bar & Terrace. For modern and upscale, the W Austin Hotel is located in the hot 2nd Street District. Located next to the famous Austin City Limits music venue, the W is the perfect place stay for live music or specialty cocktails in a hip setting.
Whether it’s sun and surf, a winter wonderland, or bit of Southern hospitality, these locales will certainly provide a special setting for a romantic get-a-way.