Atlanta Journal Constitution....
AROUND THE SOUTHEAST,
12 DESTINATIONS FOR LOVE
Whether its a quiet country retreat, a sandy beach, a soothing spa, or a bustling city with a very southern accent, its easy to plan a romantic getaway within driving distance of Atlanta. The bouquet below includes a dozen ideas.
Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
Part of Alabamas renowned Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Ross Bridge is a full-service resort with rooms overlooking the golf course, fine dining, and a soothing spa. Golfers and golf widows and widowers have fallen in love with this and other resorts on the trail.
Get there: 2 ½ hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 4000 Grand Ave., Hoover; 1-800-593-6419; www.rossbridgeresort.com
Package: Starting at about $623 per night, the True Romance package includes deluxe accommodations, two rounds of golf on the championship layout, and two signature spa treatments.
Theres always something blooming at Callaway Gardens. This year-round getaway is better than ever and February is an ideal time to plan a getaway.
Get there: 1 hour, 20 minutes from downtown Atlanta
Details: 17800 U.S. 27; 1-800-225-5292; www.callawaygardens.com
Package: The monthlong (February) Romance Package starts at $499 a night and includes luxurious accommodations at the Lodge and Spa, a $150 spa credit, dinner in the Piedmont Dining Room, use of the large Lodge Fitness Center, and gardens admission (including Day Butterfly Center, Sibley Horticultural Center, and the Birds of Prey Show).
There is something incredibly romantic about being transported to a completely different world within an hour of downtown Atlanta. With 3,500 wooded acres, Chateau Elan seduces lucky guests with varied accommodations and dining options, world-class wine and a lakeside spa housed in a French chateau-style setting that includes 14 spa suites.
Get there: 40 minutes from downtown Atlanta
Details: 100 Rue Charlemagne, Braselton; 1-800-233-9463; www.chateauelan.com
Package: Stay in one of the themed spa suites (Daisy would have loved the Gatsby) and then indulge in the in-room couples massage for $250 an hour.
Mansion on Forsyth
Built adjacent to a renovated 1888 mansion, the Mansion on Forsyth features oversized guestrooms, award-winning dining, a hands-on cooking school, and a world-class art collection.
Get there: Four hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 700 Drayton St., Savannah; 1-888-711-5114; www.mansiononforsythpark.com
Package: The Romantic Bohemian Night package is about $431 and features a lavish Bohemian king room (with an open-air bathroom featuring a vintage soak tub or a whirlpool tub), complimentary wine, chilled champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries on arrival, a gift from Poseidon Spa, upgraded turndown service with a Mansion chocolate piano, gourmet breakfast, and late check-out when available.
Santa Rosa Beach
The Beaches of South Walton area of the Florida panhandle continues to lure Atlantans in search of romance. Watercolor Inn provides the perfect base.
Get there: 5 ½ hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 34 Goldenrod Circle, Santa Rosa; 1-866-426-2656; www.watercolorinn.com
Package: Starting at about $465 per night, the two-night Signature Romance Experience includes champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, 50-minute Swedish massages for two, breakfast each morning and dinner for two at Fish Out of Water (a $100 value).
The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Its easy to vacation like a Vanderbilt at The Inn on Biltmore Estate. On the sprawling 8,000-acre estate, this modern inn is an ideal Biltmore (and Asheville) hideaway.
Get there: 3 ½ hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 1 Antler Hill Road, Asheville; 1-800-411-3812; www.biltmore.com
Package: The Romantic Getaway starts at about $475 per night and includes a deluxe room, champagne upon arrival, estate admission and transportation for the entire stay, an audio tour of Biltmore House, breakfast daily and dinner nightly in The Dining Room at the Bistro.
Just a half-hour from Charleston, Woodlands Inn & Resort is in the charming town of Summerville. Luxurious accommodations and service, the cooking of star chef Tarver King, and the wine pairings of Stephane Peltier all serve to make The Woodlands one of the regions most romantic getaways.
Get there: 4 ½ hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 125 Parsons Road, Summerville; 1-800-433-9999; www.woodlandsinn.com
Package: The Celebrate the Stars package, running through Feb. 28 and starting at about $295 per night, features elegant accommodations and a three-course dinner. A walk under the stars in the resorts woodland park setting is priceless.
Opened on the ocean in 2004 to rave reviews, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort offers spacious rooms and suites, a luxurious spa, world-class dining, and Kiawahs renowned golf courses.
Get there: Six hours from dowtown Atlanta
Details: 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island; 1-800-654-2924; www.kiawahresort.com
Package: Ask about the Par for Pairs Couples Golf Retreat (February 14-17) or the Valentine package, which includes garden view accommodations, champagne and chocolates on arrival, rose petal turndown on first night, dinner one evening in the famed Ocean Room, breakfast buffet each morning, and a one-hour couples massage in the Spa (starting at about $1180 for two nights).
Set on a 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm is renowned as a retreat for two, including a romantic restaurant, spa, and varied accommodations options.
Get there: Three hours, 45 minutes from downtown Atlanta
Details: 1471 West Millers Cove Road, Walland; 800-648-4252; www.blackberryfarm.com
Package: The Perfect Pairing experience over Valentines Day weekend includes a three-night stay in a cottage suite, champagne and roses upon arrival, a choice of two spa services and two adventure activities (about $5,000).
The Jefferson Hotel
Opened in 1895 and in the heart of historic Richmond, the Jefferson is best known for a sweeping staircase reminiscent
of that seen in Gone With the Wind. Intimate Lemaire restaurant is named for Jeffersons maitre dhotel, Etienne Lemaire.
Get there: 8 ½ hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 101 W. Franklin St., Richmond; 1-800-424-8018; www.jeffersonhotel.com
Package: The Romance package features champagne and strawberries upon arrival, a dozen red roses, a full room- service breakfast, and more (starting at about $350 per night).
Set in 3,000 acres amidst the Alleghany mountains, the Homestead has been a home away from home since 1766. It started as a place to take the natural healing springs, but the 483-room resort now offers much more--including the regions first downhill ski area, 54 holes of championship golf, an equestrian center and a modern spa.
Get there: 8 ½ hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 1766 Homestead Drive, Hot Springs; 1-866-354-4653; www.thehomestead.com|
Package: Romantic packages are frequently offered, but the Feb 14-18 period is particularly appealing. The third night is free with two nights booked (started at about $300 per night). Dont miss the Chocolate Demo by the resorts pastry chef.
White Sulphur Springs
The wonderful Greenbrier has defined luxury since 1778, but a multi-million renovation made it better than ever.
Get there: Eight hours from downtown Atlanta
Details: 300 W. Main St., White Sulphur Springs; 1-800-453-4858; www.greenbrier.com
Package: The Great American Music Weekend features instructional classes dedicated to all levels of dance mastery, a cabaret dance and ballroom dance showcase, a Saturday evening Celebration Dinner Dance (additional fee), a Sunday finale and a wine tasting seminar. It starts at about $424 per night, with a two-night minimum.