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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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