For couples who love to cook together and have a strong desire to hone their culinary skills, a weekend (or even a week) in beautiful St. Helena, Calif., at the Culinary Institute of America is a perfect getaway. The CIA offers an array of boot camp classes for couples on a variety of topics like French cuisine, Asian cuisine, and Mediterranean cuisine that explore the ingredients, flavor profiles, and cooking techniques of the different regions. Given that the CIA grounds are only minutes from wine country, couples have the options of staying in St. Helena, Napa, or neighboring Yountville. Southbridge Napa Valley is located right in St. Helena and offers a dining and wine package for two that includes an evening’s accommodations as well as a bottle of Merryvale Winery cabernet sauvignon and a box of chocolates upon arrival.
Luxury and romance can come in many forms, but tucked away in a small town in Vermont lies Twin Farms, a five-star luxury resort with 20 individually customized cabins and an incredible art collection coupled with some of the Northeast’s best cuisine. Twin Farms has a variety of activities that can be enjoyed no matter what time of year, ranging from snowshoeing to canoeing and downhill skiing. But what truly makes this oasis unique is the quality of the cuisine, where each menu can be tailored for specific dietary requirements and restrictions. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, and evening cocktails. A sample spring evening menu, crafted by chef Ted Ask, can include seasonal dishes such as grilled sirloin with paprika risotto, roasted cauliflower, baby patty pans, warm fiddlehead ferns, and frothed cabernet.
They say Virginia is for lovers. At the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va., the hotel knows the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach — which is exactly why it offers a wide array of romantic dining vacation packages. The aptly named packages include the Sweetheart Package, Shared Wines and Treasured Times, Bed and Breakfast, and For the Love of Food. Packages include a variety of activities, from visiting neighboring D.C. wineries to combining wine and chocolate truffles with a decadent spa experience. Additional dining options include five restaurants conveniently located on the Potomac where the culinary staff presents farm-to-fork concepts utilizing local products from Northern Virginia farms and wineries.
In beautiful Asheville, N.C., Culinary Vacations Inc. offers weekend getaways the include three demo cooking classes, two nights’ accommodations, and two breakfasts at the at The Sweet Biscuit Inn, located just blocks away from the famous Biltmore Village and the historic downtown area of Asheville. The classes vary from Rustic Italian to Foods of Spain to Country French, and in between cooking and eating, couples are encouraged to spend the day exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains for antiques or gallery-hopping.
Imagine sailing through ice-studded bays and pristine coastal waterways while enjoying a fine glass of wine and dining on a thoughtfully crafted meal. If this sounds like the intimate getaway perfect for you and your partner, check out the Southeast Alaska Cruise on American Cruise Lines. The eight-day, seven-night cruise departs from Juneau, Alaska, and has spacious state rooms and a dining room that fits all passengers on board. The dining room is a casual space for those looking to relax and menus can feature items like roasted red pepper bisque and traditional Maine lobster dinner served with drawn butter, fresh corn on the cob, and herb-roasted red potato.
Busy folks in the Tri-State area may often be looking for a romantic getaway that’s relatively close, but far enough away to truly experience something special. At Revel in Atlantic City, N.J., the "Breakfast in Bed" package is perfect for down time with a partner who may want to squeeze in a little gambling time. The package includes accommodations in an Ocean Room with breathtaking ocean views, complimentary in-room breakfast for two, complimentary welcome beverage for two at the 02 cocktail bar, and access to all resort amenities, including the InOut Pool, lush gardens, and upscale lounges.
The Big Easy, as New Orleans is affectionately called, is known for its rich cultural history, music, and of course, local cuisine. Situated right on the edge of the French Quarter on Canal Street, one block from Bourbon Street, the Ritz-Carlton offers traditional Southern ambience including interior design, furnishings, and art from the Garden District's antebellum mansions. If the mood strikes, the New Orleans Culinary History Tour visits two of the city’s most celebrated historic restaurants — Antoine’s and Tujague’s — and couples can learn the difference between Creole and Cajun cuisine, first hand.
Forget staying in a hotel or bed-and-breakfast for your romantic getaway and try upgrading to the Fort Marcy Condo Suites in Santa Fe, N.M., and taste your way through the engaging city. Couples can sign up for the Southwestern Foodie Fiesta, a three-day food adventure located in the foothills of the southern Rocky Mountains. The program includes a hands-on cooking class that discusses the local flavors and a gourmet dinner at Luminaria,which is famous for itscontemporary American cuisine accented by bold Southwest and Santa Fe influences. Beyond food, couples can experience the rich culture coupled with the beautiful weather of Santa Fe by exploring activities from the theater and the opera to the rodeo and geocaching adventures.
At the Auberge Edge of Seattle, French Country Inn, nothing could be more romantic than hand-crafting beautiful macarons and French pastries to warm the heart and stomach. The hotel offers several packages that include hands-on cooking classes and take advantage of culinary amenities that range from complimentary pastries and cookies to an on-site herb and vegetable garden. The entire inn only sleeps 10, so it’s an ultimate private getaway for couples looking to unwind. The cooking class is held in the inn’s "cuisine" kitchen, a spacious open concept design, with gas stovetop burners, surround chopping block, and extensive clean white Corian counter tops.
Chateau Chantal bed-and-breakfast is located 12 miles north of Traverse City, Mich., on the Old Mission Peninsula. Couples don’t just come to the picturesque hotel for views of vineyards and fresh water, though. They also visit for the array of cooking classes offered January through April by chef Perry Harmon. For the wine lovers, guests can explore local wineries located on the two peninsulas extending north from Traverse City — the Leelanau Peninsula and the Old Mission Peninsula. The region, famous for its chardonnay, riesling, and pinot grigio, is particularly attractive for couples looking to find up-and-coming wine regions. For die-hard winos, the B&B offers a wine boot camp.
The warmth of a cabin-style elite hotel can be quite alluring, and an extended stay at The Point in the Adirondacks is the quintessential backdrop for a romantic tryst. A private Adirondack estate built by William Avery Rockefeller a century ago as his family’s private home is now a sprawling hotel with an elite dining program headed up by chef Mark Levy. Guests at The Point often dine together with other couples in the Great Hall, forging bonds and a jovial atmosphere. Guests can also enjoy snow barbecues at the lean-to, luncheons on the terrace, island picnics, or cocktails on the Elco — as well as intimate dinners for two in the guest rooms.
For the health-conscious couple interested in beginning or continuing on a raw diet, the weeklong raw food Hawaii vacation could be just the ticket for a romantic vacation. On the Big Island of Hawaii couples can enjoy 100 percent organic, whole food catered meals in a sustainable Hawaiian home. While relaxing and enjoying the benefits of healthy living, activities such as hiking, visiting waterfalls and remote beaches, snorkeling, exploring the valleys on the island, touring the islands volcanoes, visiting the sea turtle sanctuary, shopping in local artisan markets, taking a tropical fruit tour, and horseback riding are all options.