Consider yourself lucky in love to live in one of the five most romantic cities in the South. It doesn’t have to be a holiday for these towns to turn on the charm and set the mood for love.
- Alexandria, Virginia Old Town Alexandria’s red brick sidewalks are a perfect pairing with the cobblestone streets of this historic city (photo courtesy of Ken Lund)As if a walk hand-in-hand down the cobblestone streets of the Old Town historic district wasn’t enough to make even the least romantic hearts go pitter-patter, the views of the Potomac and a candlelit dinner at one of the fine restaurants lining King Street’s red brick sidewalks might just soften the hardest of hearts.
Stay:The whimsy and vibrant decor of Hotel Monaco Alexandria aptly fit the energy and personality of Old Town. And if one of the loves of your life happens to walk on four legs and gives slobbery kisses, then bring old Fido along too. The Monaco always welcomes the furriest of guests.
Dine: Started by two French brothers, La Bergerie’s authentic French cuisine has won numerous awards, while the old world ambiance makes it one of the most romantic spots in town.
Drink: Bar PX will take you back to the Roaring Twenties, when a special knock on the door got you in, and the hand-crafted drinks made you stay.
- Charleston, South CarolinaThe Schooner Pride is just one of the ships offering sunset or moonlight cruises for two (photo courtesy of the Schooner Pride)It’s easy to get lost in the beauty and romance Charleston so easily presents. The city has it all from strolls along the beach on Sullivan’s Island to a moonlight sail on the Schooner Pride. Or enjoy a little help from Mother Nature, as centuries-old oak trees draped in Spanish moss offer the perfect shade for a picnic for two.
Stay: Belmond Charleston Place is a favorite among foreign dignitaries and U.S. Presidents. It is the epitome of Southern luxury and located in the city’s beautiful historic district. FYI: The saltwater pool is the best place in the city to take a dip with the one you love, gazing at the stars above thanks to the retractable glass roof.
Dine: Choosing one restaurant in Charleston is akin to naming a favorite child. But the Charleston Grille for romance won’t disappoint. Chef Michelle Weaver’s creations melding the best of French and Southern fare are sure to woo any palate.
Drink: The Gin Joint sets the standard for Charleston’s cocktail culture. The “bartender’s choice” is an unexpected pleasure. Choose your inclinations from a list (say, smoky and sweet), then sit back and let the pros mix up something special.
- Knoxville, Tennessee Often overlooked by its more popular neighbors, Knoxville’s location and hidden treasures make it worth of any romantic getaway (photo courtesy of Brian Stansberry)Often overlooked as a destination city in the Volunteer State, Knoxville’s location at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and small-town feel (although it probably isn’t as small as you think it is) make it the perfect place for a weekend to remember. Enjoy the view of Knoxville with your beloved from atop nearby House Mountain, or maybe catch your favorite Shakespeare play or just stroll the shops at Market on the Square, a popular Knoxville spot since the 1860’s.
Stay: The Oliver Hotel located on Market Square is housed in an 1876 building that once served as a bakery, soda fountain, and dance hall. The boutique hotel has a history of famous names, from actresses to rock stars, gracing its rooms for a night or two.
Dine: Downtown’s Knox Mason features contemporary Southern cuisine from only the best Southern farms and suppliers. Don’t be fooled by the facade, it’s upscale Southern done right.
Drink: For something a bit more cozy and mature, stick to the Oliver Hotel and have a drink at the Peter Kern Library, a “speakeasy” named for the German owner of the bakery that used to operate in the building.
- Asheville, North Carolina One of the most romantic spots in Asheville sits atop the Omni Grove Park Inn, offering sunset dinners during warmer seasons (photo courtesy of Explore Asheville)If Virginia is for lovers, then Asheville, North Carolina, is for the true romantics. Explore the grounds and castle that is the Biltmore Estate, and learn about the loves of the Vanderbilt family that built the sprawling mansion. Stroll through the gardens before relaxing at the winery to sample the more than twenty wines made within Antler Hill Village. While the estate could easily occupy all of your time, don’t miss the amazing mountain views and waterfalls with your loved one. And for the adventurous couples, Asheville is home to some of the best whitewater rafting in the country.
Stay: Originally the home of the Vanderbilt’s market gardener, the Cottage at Biltmore Estate is a two-bedroom, two-bath cottage. Guests of the Cottage can tour Biltmore’s grounds at their own leisure.
Dine: During the warmer seasons, the most romantic spot in the city might just be the Sunset Terrace at the Omni Grove Park Inn. Watch the sunset behind the Blue Ridge Mountains while enjoying some of the best and freshest food the region has to offer.
Drink: The Brewery District has several of Asheville’s craft breweries within walking distance. If you have time, take a tour of Asheville’s brew scene on the Amazing Pubcycle.
- Eureka Springs, Arkansas The chilling history and ghostly guests at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs make for a romantic evening you won’t soon forgetThis small town nestled in the Ozarks has long been known for its famous Thorncrown Chapel nestled back in its home in the woods, but Eureka Springs is a popular romantic getaway for couples married five months or fifty years. Bed and breakfasts abound in this “Victorian mountain village,” along with one place for a very haunted stay—The Crescent Hotel.
Stay: If you dare, stay at the Crescent. The 1886 building was built as a resort property but later served as a “hospital.” It’s chilling history and permanent guests will be sure to keep you snuggling close at night.
Dine: Located below the historic New Orleans Hotel, Le Stick Nouveau is a culinary experience unlike any other. The food is smokin’—literally—but in a really good way you have to see to believe.
Drink: If cheese and wine pairings are your thing, the Stone House is the place to enjoy an evening out. They offer meat and cheese trays along with an extensive wine and beer list. It’s also a great spot to hear local and regional musicians.
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