If your idea of conversation with your spouse begins and ends with "Good night," leisurely dining means taking turns sitting down to eat, and the term "undivided attention" is an oxymoron on a par with "personal time," you two need to get away -- sans kids -- at least for a night. Resort or rustic, city or boonies, active or lazy, five stars or under the stars, it matters not. The key is for parents to make the time to reacquaint and reconnect. That said, romantic settings and scenery can't hurt when it comes time to plan a weekend escape. We discovered 10 getaway spots offering diverse attractions and plenty of great ways to relax -- just what every couple needs!
Architecture buffs will have a heavenly weekend in Newport, known for The Elms, Rosecliff, and other carefully restored mansions as well as a lively waterfront. Just a short stroll from historic Bellevue Avenue, this Victorian bed and breakfast offers the quintessential New England experience. Built in 1866 and completely remodeled last June, the inn is named for Newport's first female innkeeper and entrepreneur. Only two guest rooms and three suites are available, including the appropriately named Above and Beyond Suite, which occupies the third floor and comes complete with secret doors, hidden panels, and a concealed bathing salon. The Bath Menu -- featuring some two dozen different bath salts, soaps, and oils -- is an inviting amenity, as are the Bottled Water Menu (20 still and sparkling varieties from around the world) and the Pillow Menu, offering 17 styles, from a triple-down-feather to a buckwheat-hull pillow. The tiny Tea for Two dining nook is pure bliss for breakfast or afternoon tea. Rooms from $325; 800-845-1811.
The Midwest's only AAA Five Diamond resort was originally built as housing for immigrant workers of the Kohler plumbing company. Rededicated in 1981, it's the flagship hotel for Destination Kohler, a veritable Disneyland for outdoorsy adults: four world-class golf courses (including the venues for the 1998 U.S. Women's Open and the men's 2004 PGA Championship), the sparkling new Kohler Waters Spa, a 100,000-square-foot fitness and racquet club, and a 500-acre private wilderness preserve. Spend a peaceful afternoon hiking or horseback-riding among the animals, birds, and incredible flora in this protected sanctuary, or pack a picnic and take a tranquil canoe ride down the Sheboygan River. Afterward, exceptional dining awaits in the Immigrant Room, divided into six rooms decorated to celebrate the various European heritages of the area's early immigrants, with dessert in the Greenhouse solarium. Naturally, each spacious guest room features a luxurious whirlpool bath. Rooms from $209; 800-344-2838.
A favorite honeymoon spot for generations, the Cloister is part of the quietly ritzy Sea Island beach resort, set on 50 acres in south Georgia's Golden Isles. Fifty-four immaculate holes of golf are a big draw, as are the fine spa facilities, which offer a variety of massages and body treatments as well as early morning tai chi classes on the beach. A Spa Concierge will plan your itinerary, from salt marsh tours and horseback-riding to fitness programs and dinner reservations. (Fresh seafood is served at your assigned table in the resort's old-world dining room.) On your last day, set the alarm for dawn and watch the sun rise together. Rooms from $190; 800-732-4752.
If you'd rather hit a lively scene than a golf ball, Austin is the place to go to get your yah-yahs out. Known as the music capital of the world, the city boasts more than 100 music-oriented clubs, many of which are just a hop and a skip from the Driskill. A recent restoration returned the landmark hotel to the splendor that cattle baron Jesse Driskill envisioned when he erected his Frontier Palace in 1886. Each of the hotel's 188 rooms, suites, and marble or Art Deco bathrooms got a facelift. For both privacy and action, you can't beat the Heritage Suite, which boasts not only a comfy fireplace and sauna/shower with Jacuzzi but a balcony overlooking Austin's rocking Sixth Street. Downstairs, the Driskill's posh dining room was the site of a historic first date in 1934 between a young Lady Bird Taylor and her future husband, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Rooms from $215; 800-252-9367.
Two hours north of Vancouver along the magnificent Sea-to-Sky Highway, the village of Whistler is surrounded by natural beauty. During warmer seasons, get a close-up look at the local black bears, courtesy of tour guide Michael Allen, or step out the back door of the Fairmont into the Adventure Zone, where your inner child can run free on a rock-climbing wall, a trampoline with bungee harness, a luge coaster, and a trapeze. For those feeling especially daring, there's a clothing-optional dock on Lost Lake, which is an easy walk or bike ride from the hotel. Whistler has been rated the top ski resort in North America eight years running, and the Fairmont's grand chateau is right at the base of the mountains. It doesn't get much more romantic than strolling together through the brightly lit village at night. Rates from $158 USD; 604-938-8000.
A century ago, oilman Clayton Glenville Dorn created a bucolic retreat for his family in northwest Pennsylvania on the edge of Allegheny National Forest. Five generations of Dorns grew up playing on the private 1,280-acre estate, and now you, too, can step back into the era of the great camps. The heart of Glendorn, a member of the exclusive Relais & Ch???teaux, is the Big House, made entirely of redwood and featuring a two-story sandstone fireplace. In fact, there are 41 working fireplaces at the resort, which accommodates 30 guests in four lodge rooms and 12 paneled cabins. Every room includes a jar of freshly baked cookies, refilled daily. Activities abound, including exceptional fly fishing, but don't be surprised if you get transfixed flipping through the Dorn family albums, which offer a glimpse of a simpler time. Rooms from $495; 800-843-8568.
Designed in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts style, the new Lodge at Torrey Pines resort features lots of dark polished wood, stained glass, and ceiling beams from which gorgeous handmade glass lanterns hang. You could spend a day admiring the craftsmanship, but just outside sit two golf courses (one of which will host the 2008 U.S. Open), as well as 2,000 acres of unspoiled coastline overlooking the Pacific. Ask the concierge to arrange a gourmet picnic lunch or simply provide a trail map. When the fog clears, watch the sun set from the outdoor whirlpool tucked among three pines. For a meal that redefines "fresh," try A.R. Valentien restaurant, where the chef uses ingredients culled that morning from local farmers' markets. Indeed, there is but one freezer in the kitchen: for the ice cream. Rooms from $450; 858-453-4420.
A visit to the Northern California wine country is guaranteed to add a little kick to any marriage. In the heart of Sonoma, just four blocks from the historic plaza, is a renovated garden spot that would give Eden a run for its money. Interspersed among the vibrant flowers, mature trees, fountains, and sculptures are 64 individually appointed guest rooms and suites, each boasting delicious amenities. This homegrown goodness is infused in many of the Garden Spa's treatments, like the Sonoma Olive Oil Body Polish and the Red Wine Grapeseed Massage. Splurge and reserve the outdoor garden's teahouse treatment areas for Hers & His massages. Afterward, savor a steak and a martini at Saddles restaurant. The atmosphere around MacArthur Place is so tranquil that you rarely hear a voice raised above a whisper. Rooms from $269; 800-722-1866.
The unparalleled charm of the Adirondack wilderness makes this year-round retreat stunning in autumn, picture-perfect in spring and summer, and a wonderland come winter. To celebrate Valentine's Day, couples can skate on a private ice rink, take a cross-country trek on a 26-mile trail, or ski and snowboard at nearby Whiteface Mountain. Built in 1883 and opened as an inn in 1926, the seven-acre, 128-room property was rented in its entirety for the 1932 Winter Olympics by the Norwegian contingent. Guest rooms boast lake views, private balconies, fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, and other extras. Meals are served in the mahogany paneled dining room, and an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna welcome visitors in any season. If the spa sounds good, try a Moor Mud wrap or the inn's uniquely indigenous Maple Sugar Body Scrub. Rooms from $160; 518-523-2544.
Scott Gummer writes for Vanity Fair and Travel & Leisure Golf. He lives with his wife and four children in Santa Rosa, CA.
Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with permission from the February 2003 issue of Child magazine.