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Romantic Escapes

by Suzanne Fluhr on January 24, 2017 · 17 comments

February has many people thinking about romance. Young lovers may find themselves feeling romantic pretty much all the time, but for those of us who are older in more mature relationships, it’s often the approach of Valentine’s Day or an anniversary that reminds us to reconnect with our loves in some way other than a quick peck on the cheek between work and errands.

Although there can be something comforting about falling asleep in bed with the light on while your love of thirty-five years conks out in front of the TV in another room because one of you refuses to watch Game of Thrones, the approach of February 14th reminds us that it’s nice to dedicate some special time and effort to our coupledom. One of the easiest ways to do that is to step out of our everyday milieus with a change of scene.

For Mr. and Mrs. Excitement, ever since our first trip together in 1981, travel of some sort or another has been a way to stoke some romance.

Local Staycations

When we were responsible for the everyday health and well-being of our offspring, a romantic getaway often involved staying somewhere in Philadelphia, our hometown.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

A romantic getaway can be found close to home. Historic Old City Philadelphia works for us.

Grandma and Grandpa would move into our house for a day or two and off we would go all of six miles to the Thomas Bond House, an historic bed and breakfast inn in Old City Philadelphia. We’d make a reservation for a dinner experience that would be wasted on the chicken fingers crowd, picking somewhere in walking distance so we could linger over a bottle of wine.

Travel Can Be is Romantic

Some couples in happy marriages learn the hard way that travel does nothing to enhance their loving bond. They have such disparate travel styles and interests that travel strains, rather than enhances, their relationships. We are not one of those couples. We took our first trip together in 1981 and we are always looking forward to our next one.

Wine and Romance

Romance and wine seem to go together. Even for those of us who are not accomplished oenophiles (really, you taste hints of currants and vanilla?), wine regions all over the world have inns ranging from cozy rustic to elegant, and if you drink just the right amount of wine, it’s difficult not to feel romantic.

Sunrise on the Andes, Mendoza Argentina, Cavas Wine Lodge

Sunrise over the Andes from our casita at the Cavas Wine Lodge, outside Mendoza, Argentina.

Some places just ooze romance. Probably the most romantic place we’ve ever stayed was the Cavas Wine Lodge outside Mendoza, Argentina, located in a vineyard up against the snow covered Andes Mountains. We had our own casita with a plunge pool, a fireplace, and a roof for star gazing. We either looked love-crossed or like we needed help achieving a romantic vibe because one night, unbidden, the owner set us up with a private table in our own little dining room.

Couples Adventure Travel

MacKinnon-Pass, Milford Track, New Zealand

The view from an outhouse on the Milford Track, South Island, New Zealand.

In our experience, stepping way out of our comfort zone and having what feels like an adventure together is a romantic, bonding experience. As some would imagine, Mr. and Mrs. Excitement don’t have to do anything too wild and crazy to be out of their comfort zone. One of our favorite and most romantic experiences was a four day guided hike on the Milford Track on the South Island of New Zealand. Springing for a private room at the “huts” on the trail no doubt contributed to the romance.

Machu Picchu, Peru

In 1982, we had Machu Picchu pretty much to ourselves after the tourist train left.

Traveling to exotic, relatively untouristed places can also provide a romantic experience. We visited Peru for our honeymoon in 1982, before Machu Picchu was such a popular tourist destination. There was one 40 room hotel up at the ruins and Aguascalientes was little more than a ramshackle train depot without the plethora of hotels that abound today. That year, tourism was further depressed by an uprising by the Shining Path, a Maoist revolutionary group. We stayed overnight and when the tourist train left to return to Cuzco at 3:00 p.m., we had the experience of sitting side by side at the Sun Gate, looking down and feeling alone in that magical place.

Cruises

Cruises, even on some of the behemoth cruise ships that ply the seas today can be romantic. While some passengers are enjoying belly flop contests at the pool, we’ve never had trouble finding secluded, quiet places to read side by side on deck.

Reading aboard a cruise ship

We can usually find a quiet place to read even on large cruise ships.

You can enjoy a meal while having eyes only for each other by requesting a table for two in one of the smaller on board specialty restaurants or by ordering readily available cabin meal service. Cruises also provide some opportunity for serendipity. If you and your love want to sip a cocktail and listen to a pianist there is usually somewhere on board where you can do that. Have another if you want to because the ship’s captain is the designated driver. You can also dance the night away secure in the knowledge that you will probably never see any of your fellow dancers again. While others are partying inside, there’s always a chance to channel that romantic scene from the film, Titanic, out on deck, usually safe from judgmental eyes.

Road Trips

There are beautiful places to explore by car. We have used work conferences to determine where to begin our explorations. San Francisco has been a starting point for road trips both north and south on the memorably scenic coastal Highway 1. Mr. Excitement doesn’t share my fantasy for RV camping, so we are forced to stay in romantic bed and breakfast accommodations instead.

Kinsale, Ireland, restored house

Charm and romance often go hand and hand. This restored home in Kinsale, Ireland had charm to spare.

A conference in Dublin, Ireland, provided the opportunity to do the same in southwest Ireland. As a bonus, you can find out if your loving relationship can weather having to drive on the wrong side.

Make the Best of the Worst

Even horrendous travel experiences can become romantic in retrospect. The passage of time has produced fond memories of the slimy sheets at Doña Pepa’s guest house in Seville, Spain in 1981. Now, we sigh with contentment when we luxuriate in 1,000 thread count sheets, happy to see how far we’ve come in our time together.

Add to your Pinterest Travel collection.

For more romantic travel suggestions, check out these recommendations by Boomeresque’s Travel Buzz Media collaborators:

Mary Jo Manzanares from Traveling with MJ shares her advice at her Recommendations for a Romantic Getaway.

Betsy and Pete Wuebker of Passing Thru share their recommendations at Top 5 Romantic Getaways: Our Picks.

Noel Morata of Travel Blog Discovery crowdsourced a variety of blogger recommendations for Romantic Getaways Around the World.

Kerwin McKenzie of Pass Rider has recommendations for adventurous romantics: 5 Romantic Adventures for 2017

What was your most romantic (or least romantic) travel experience?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Nan Loyd January 25, 2017 at 9:44 am

The most romantic? Candlelight dinners in our dining room, romantic oldies music and slow dancing in the kitchen. We travel from the kitchen to the dining room – that counts, right? We’ve been in some beautiful places, one of my favorites experiencing the Inns in Vermont and New Hampshire.

I LOVED this post – you guys have been on some amazing trips. Was that a literal outhouse?

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Suzanne Fluhr LopSuzanne Fluhr January 25, 2017 at 9:11 pm

Travel from the kitchen to the dining room definitely counts. Even a loving glance across a crowded room counts. And yes, that was the view from the outhouse atop MacKinnon Pass. They had cut a window into the door so you could see it.

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avatar Danielle January 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Hi Suzanne! Roughly 2 hours from us in Pittsburgh is a beautiful, historic resort called the Omni Bedford Springs. You & Dr. Excitement should add to your list someday if you are ever up for another getaway within driving distance. We love it so much, we eloped there. 🙂

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr January 28, 2017 at 3:24 am

Thanks, Danielle. I’m glad you found a romantic place close to home to elope to. There is some beautiful countryside between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. We made that trip quite often when my husband’s parents lived there.

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avatar Anda January 26, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Very nice ideas for romantic travel destinations. Valentine’s Day always finds us in Lake Tahoe for our annual ski trip, but I should check some of these romantic places on your list for a change. I had Peru on my radar for a while now, but somehow it never seems to be the right time for it. Would February be a good month to travel there?

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr January 28, 2017 at 3:22 am

Apparently, January through March, the Peruvian summer since it is in the southern hemisphere, is the wettest time of year, so February is not the best time of year to visit Machu Picchu and Cuzco in the Andes. We were there in late May and I don’t recall the weather being a problem.

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avatar noel January 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm

These are all great ideas on romantic getaways, I love doing many of these even when I’m a solo traveler most of the time 🙂

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avatar Carole Terwilliger Meyers January 30, 2017 at 7:43 pm

So many romantic places, so little time! I agree that historic inns are likely spots for romance, but really any place will do with the right person, and wine and delicious cuisine will cinch it.

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avatar Anita @ No Particular Place To Go January 31, 2017 at 9:04 am

You steered me off course a bit from romantic to wondering if we could weather the ferocious argument sure to result from driving on the left-hand side of the road… (That’s why we trade off between driving and navigating – it’s made us much kinder to each other!) However if there was a place like the pictured house in Kinsale, Ireland which really does look picturesque and romantic, we might just get that spark reignited … 🙂

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avatar Anne January 31, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Well we had amazing plans for this year’s Valentines Day…but have just learned that they will have to be postponed. So it will be a romantic cozy fireside and wine for us at home this year – not complaining, since we’re usually somewhere exciting and fabulous!

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avatar Patti January 31, 2017 at 4:31 pm

I find the destination doesn’t matter when it comes to romance in travel, but if it did I’d cast my vote for Aix en Provence in the spring and Paris in January. If you haven’t seen Paris under a blanket of snow, well then you just don’t know …

But really, what I find about travel/romance is that as soon as you arrive (after the hassle of travel days) it’s all about the freedom and the freedom equates to relaxing, which equates to togetherness.

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avatar jane canapini February 1, 2017 at 8:00 am

This is perfect and just in time for V-Day! I should add that Positano in Italy is a super romantic destination if anyone hasn’t mentioned it already!

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avatar Bola February 2, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Would love to explore beautiful places by car. It would be an amazing experience to travel by car In San Francisco. You’ve captured the scenery really well.

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avatar Doreen Pendgracs February 5, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Hi Suzanne. My husband can no longer travel. So romantic travel isn’t in my cards right now. But I do love every kind of travel you have mentioned and am always happy.nwhether I’m travelling solo or with a gal pal.

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