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Romantic Escapes

Now that New Year’s Day is in the books, it’s time to start planning a romantic escape for Valentine’s Day. As some of you may know from rueful experience, the closer we get to February 14th, the harder it is to make a reservation for anything romantic.How to plan a romantic getaway, couples travel plans

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 lives 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.

Even a Local Staycation Can be a Romantic Escape

When we were responsible for the everyday health and well-being of our offspring (putting a raisin up your nose is never a good idea), a romantic getaway often involved staying somewhere in our hometown of Philadelphia.

Independence Hall in Old City, Philadelphia can be a romantic escape.

Independence Hall in Old City, Philadelphia.

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. We’d pick a restaurant somewhere in walking distance so we could linger over a bottle of wine.

Travel Can Be is a Romantic Escape

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.

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. The Lodge is 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.

Sunrise over the Andes at Cavas Wine Lodge

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

Couples Adventure Travel Can Be a Romantic Escape

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 might 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.

MacKinnon Pass - Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

The view from the outhouse atop MacKinnon Pass on the Milford Track, Fiordland National Park, South Island, New Zealand.

Traveling to exotic, relatively untouristed places can also provide a romantic experience. We visited Peru for our honeymoon in 1982, before Machu Picchu was as popular a tourist destination as it is now.

There was one 40 room hotel up at the ruins. 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.

Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

Looking down on Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.

We stayed overnight. 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, where the Inca Trail enters Machu Picchu, looking down, and feeling alone in that magical place.

Romantic Escapes on a Cruise Ship

Remember the Love Boat? Cruises can be romantic, even on some of the behemoth cruise ships that ply the seas today.

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.

If food is part of your foreplay we’re not judging, you can even order 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.

Deck of the Azamara Quest

We can usually find a secluded, quiet spot to read on a cruise ship.

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.

Romantic Escapes on the Road

There are beautiful places to explore by car. We have used work conference venues to determine where to begin our explorations.

From San Francisco, we’ve done 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.

Restored house in Kinsale, Ireland

Charm and romance often go together. We found this restored house in Kinsale, Ireland on our Irish road trip.

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 Romantic Escape (in Retrospect)

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.

Where was your most romantic escape? Can you share any ideas for romantic escapes with us?

Looking for more ideas related to romance?
Read Romantic Moments in Movies 

Valentine’s Day, Then and Now

Suzanne Fluhr, Travel Editor

Suzanne Fluhr, Midlife Boulevard's travel editor, is a recovering Philadelphia lawyer, empty nester, wanderer, dog person and Zentangle® enthusiast. She also writes about Baby Boomer travels for the body and mind on her personal blog, Boomeresque. Instagram: Boomeresque2

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Thursday 4th of January 2018

That is the hardest part of caregiving for me. I miss traveling with my husband. We had looked forward to our empty nest for so many years, but it was only a two short years before our nest was filled again with momma. I long to get into the car and just drive until we both get tired like we used to. No caring which direction we headed. I worry that I will be to old when that day does come.

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