Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s just too forced and commercial for my liking. But for many, the dilemma of a Valentine’s Day gift can be stressful.
Dinner? Too impersonal. Diamonds? Too committal. Roses? Meh.
But what about… DESTINATION? Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Why not create a perfect Valentine’s Day memory that will last long after the indigestion of an overpriced dinner or extra pounds from eating that box of chocolates kick in? A memory can last a lifetime, long after the sparkle of diamonds fade into oblivion.
The stress is removed, because you can come up with where to go, how long to stay, and how much to spend together.
It could be an exotic, luxury resort, or a simple weekend a short drive away. The choices are virtually limitless and can be catered to fit the personalities of the couple.
Here are ten places to consider for your romantic Valentine’s Day interlude:
1. Bora Bora
Dubbed by James Michener as “the most beautiful island in the world,” Bora Bora’s aqua lagoon is fringed by coconut palms swaying in the tropical breeze. The pièce de résistance here is staying in a private overwater bungalow, where the glass inlaid floor allows for viewing of tropical fish right beneath your feet. This pricey faraway paradise is that once-in-a-lifetime special splurge.
2. Charleston, South Carolina
Bubbling over with southern charm, and rich history, Charleston’s romantic restaurants and boutique hotels beckon those with romance on their minds. Amble along the cobblestone streets or enjoy the ambiance of a horse-drawn carriage. Sights include Battery Park, Charleston City Market, Rainbow Row, and area beaches.
3. Venice, Italy
Everyone should visit Venice once in their lifetime, and it’s especially appealing and romantic on Valentine’s Day. The history of the port city, the allure of an evening gondola ride through the canals and under the bridges, exploring ornate ancient buildings, strolling around Piazza San Marco, and the mouth-watering cuisine make for a magical memory.
4. Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Less than two hours from San Diego, the Valle de Guadalupe contains Baja Mexico’s up-and-coming wineries. There are some 50+ wineries, but for a romantic escape, stay at Adobe Guadalupe. This sprawling 6-room hacienda, set against the mountains, has well-appointed, cozy rooms, pool, spa, and stables. Rooms include a fun, made-to-order breakfast in the big kitchen with other guests. Adobe Guadalupe is the largest breeder of Azteca horses which are available for riding through the countryside. Guests can tour the winery and taste some of their award-winning wines, each of which is named after an archangel.
5. Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is a picturesque New England 200-year-old village with Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. The landscape imbues Stowe with a character reminiscent of great European mountain resorts. There are many hiking trails on and around Mount Mansfield and Smugglers’ Notch State Park, and the Trapp Family Lodge. Sneak a smooch if you dare on the covered “Kissing Bridge” which according to local lore is haunted by a young woman who hanged herself from the rafters after being spurned by her lover.
Who can resist the castle allegedly used as the model for the famed HBO series “Game of Thrones?” Gaze down from the city’s old walls overlooking the sea below and quintessential terracotta-roofed residences. The streets are lined paved with marble and lead past the city squares, cathedrals, mansions, and finally down to the Adriatic beaches. The charm of days-gone-by has been preserved to fairytale degree.
7. Buenos Aires
As they say, it takes two to tango… — what better place to test your mad tango skills than on a romantic escape to Buenos Aires, where this sensuous dance originated. Add to that the ambiance of the diverse neighborhoods, enticing restaurants, and colorful nightlife options and you have the recipe for an incredibly tantalizing getaway.
8. Kyoto, Japan
It’s hard to resist the lure of this city with so many fascinating ancient temples and shogun palaces. Take a romantic boat ride along the canal, shop for curious local food in the Nishiki Market, or go to the Gion District and try to catch an elusive glimpse of a real-life geisha lightly scampering down the cobblestone alleys.
9. Quebec City, Canada
If you don’t mind frosty weather and look forward to a cozy winter retreat, look no further than Quebec City. Bundle up and take a brisk walk on the snow-covered streets in this delightful French-Canadian city. There are plenty of cafes, pubs and bistros to warm up as you cuddle by their fireplaces.
Take your pick of the dozens of islands offering shimmering turquoise surf lapping onto white sand beaches dotted with swaying palms. The Caribbean is made up of hundreds of islands, but the 36 major islands are found on the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east including the West Indies grouping, which also includes the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as the Windward and Leeward groupings. Have some fun in the sun as you swim, snorkel, or sail in the bathwater-warm sea and then watch the sun set over a fresh seafood dinner.
With so many fabulous options for a Valentine’s Day getaway, what could be better?
Hmmmm. Maybe dinner at the destination with a gift of diamonds….