Shopping. Wrapping. Sending. Stressing. That's what the winter holidays are all about. But what if things were different this year? What if you said no to the frenetic rush and took the time to enjoy the holidays with your significant other? It's easier than you think — all you have to do is schedule one of these romantic weekend getaways.
First, decide what kind of winter escape you and your sweetheart would enjoy most. Do you want to ski, snowboard and snowmobile? Or would you prefer the traditional, romantic bed-and-breakfast vacation with rose petals and a roaring fire? Do you like to socialize when you're vacationing, or do you envision a secluded cabin with no one else around? And most importantly, do you want a winter-wonderland experience, or would you rather leave the snow and ice behind? For some ideas, take a look at these ten romantic winter getaways.
Imagine snow falling gently as garlands of lights twinkle on the columns: The Arlington Inn in Arlington, Vermont looks the part of a perfect romantic winter getaway. This 1847 bed and breakfast has it all: roaring fireplaces and woodstoves, Jacuzzi tubs, hearty country breakfasts and candlelight dinners served at the inn's own restaurant. On Christmas Eve, guests are encouraged to leave out cookies and eggnog for Santa. There are abundant skiing, snowboarding, tubing and snowmobiling opportunities in the area.
Few bed-and-breakfasts get into the holiday spirit more than the Middlebury Inn in Middlebury, Vermont. The historic brick hotel decorates with model trains, wreaths galore and tins of festive cookies. The inn's Romance in New England package includes everything you're looking for in romantic weekend getaways: champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival, rose petals on the bed, breakfast in bed, a couple's massage and a candlelight dinner for two.
The Old Faithful Snow Lodge, nestled within Yellowstone National Park's Upper Geyser Basin, can only be accessed by snowmobiles and snowcoaches in the winter months. This seclusion creates a memorable getaway for the intrepid. Wildlife-watching packages offer the chance to see bison, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, coyotes and even wolves. Take a snowmobile to see Old Faithful erupt and have the show all to yourself.
And if you think most romantic winter getaways sound dull, seek out a heartracing experience at the Winterlake Lodge in Alaska. Learn how to mush in a four-day dog-sledding program or cheer on the competitors in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. You can also cross-country ski, snowshoe in the backcountry or watch the Northern Lights from the hot tub on the back deck.
Perched on the edge of Wisconsin's Mirror Lake, not far from Madison, is a tiny wood-and-stone cottage with an unusual story. Built in 1958, The Seth Peterson Cottage was one of the last buildings designed by notable architect Frank Lloyd Wright, known for landmark houses such as Fallingwater. The Seth Peterson Cottage is one of just a handful of Wright houses available to rent — and its history and setting make it ideal for secluded, romantic weekend getaways. Winter activities include snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
Minnesota's Loon Lake Lodge resort rents a 1940s log cabin called "The Shack" to couples looking for a romantic winter weekend (or longer). While it's not fancy, this cabin is anything but a shack: There's an enormous stone fireplace, satellite TV, high-speed Internet and a modern kitchen. Try your hand at ice fishing for trout, dog sledding or snowshoeing.
The Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana offers every winter sport you can think of and a selection of cozy private cabins for couples and families. The cabins feature log furniture, patchwork quilts and woodstoves. Winter packages include all meals and snacks, access to Nordic skiing and snowshoe trails, yoga and an old-fashioned sleigh ride dinner. Visit during the holidays and enjoy caroling, cookie decorating and your very own Christmas tree.
Tired of shivering? Consider flying south. The Turtle Beach Resort in Siesta Key, Florida (just outside of Sarasota) offers private bayfront cottages with hot tubs and patios where you and your sweetie can sit and watch the sunset and frolicking dolphins. While the weather isn't quite tropical, hovering in the low 70s in December,1 you can leave your mittens at home. Bike, kayak, canoe, fish or explore Sarasota's urban attractions.
Romantic winter getaways at the Green Palm Inn in Savannah, Georgia, combine Southern hospitality with holiday festivities. You'll be welcomed with an afternoon dessert bar, complimentary wine and appetizers in the early evening and bountiful home-cooked breakfasts. In the surrounding historic city, you can shop, dine, take tours of decorated homes or in late December, tour downtown by candlelight. For a memorable holiday experience, drive through the Savannah Harbor Festival of Lights and top it off with a romantic Ferris wheel ride.2