The month of February, including Valentine’s Day, is that time of year when we want to be with the special people in our lives. We arrange romantic dinners and resort stays, take rare excursions and buy special gifts. Some couples get engaged or married. Though this year’s celebrations are bound to be different, especially with COVID-19 as an ever-present threat, we can still make our celebrations special. Here are some suggestions for celebrating love in different ways.
- Prepare a dinner at home, using recipes found in classic cookbooks, on the internet or on television cooking shows hosted by celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsey, Rachel Ray or Jamie Oliver. Or try some new recipes you find by listening to radio shows such as “Splendid Table,” which airs on FM stations and is available as a podcast.
- Watch some of your favorite shows and movies with someone you love via Netflix, Amazon Prime or BroadwayHD.
- Go for a scenic drive through the country, along the coast or in the mountains. Check the weather and make sure your vehicle is in good running condition. Wear warm clothing and shoes. Carry water, snacks, blankets, flash lights and road maps in case your cell phone or GPS dies.
- Adventure outdoors. Go hiking, camping, fishing, skiing or ATV touring. Dress appropriately, and make sure you have a first-aid kit and other necessities. Be prepared for any weather conditions you might encounter.
- Spend a night at a historic inn in the city or in the country. Baltimore, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Richmond, Charleston, Norfolk and other cities have much to offer — not only great accommodations but good restaurants, museums and other attractions. If the rural setting is your forte, seek out inns in remote areas. Be sure to check out the hours of operation, refund policy and COVID restrictions before you go anywhere. You will find information on different properties, availability, activities and more on a variety of websites such as historichotels.org, preferredhotels.com, selectregistry.com, bbonline.com and airbnb.com.
A number of hotels and resorts offering impeccable accommodations, fine dining, planned social events and an array of activities have packages that celebrate love this year:
- The Jefferson Hotel, built in downtown Richmond in 1885, has several options for people traveling Sunday through Thursday through Mar. 31. Premier rooms start at $225 and include parking in the Winter Getaway and Bed & Breakfast packages. The Romance Package, starting at $395, includes accommodations, wine upon arrival, breakfast for two in the room and gratuities, a floral arrangement and parking (101 W. Franklin St., Richmond, Va. 23220, 888-918-1894 or jeffersonhotel.com).
- The Omni Homestead, which dates to 1766 and sits amid 1,000 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, offers the Select Guest Experience which gives patrons a 20-percent discount through Feb. 28; Escape & Save Package, a 15-percent discount when you stay two or more nights; Adventure Package, which includes accommodations, parking and one activity per day for guests 6 years and older, plus a 15-percent discount on additional activities. Activity choices are a lift ticket, ice skating, 30-minute group trail ride, archery, skeet or trap shooting, miniature golf and s’mores express. Falconry and ammo are an additional charge (7696 Sam Snead Hwy., Hot Springs, Va. 24445, 800-838-1766 or omnihotels.com).
- Primland Resort, originally a 12,000-acre private retreat off the Blue Ridge Parkway, offers several attractive packages for guests. The Plan as You Adventure Package includes 10 activities such as trail rides, sporting clays, fly fishing, and horseback riding for $1,200. The Sunrise Bed & Breakfast Package includes lodging and breakfast for $340-$365 and up. Spa lovers may like the Herbal Winter Foot Renewal featuring wax paraffin for the feet, a complimentary gift and tea. The 45-minute package is $90 per person. Starwalk in the resort’s observatory is offered every night for $35 per person. Golf and hunting packages are also available at Primland. (2000 Busted Rock Rd., Meadows of Dan, Va., 24120, 866-218-2320 or primland.com.
- Colonial Williamsburg Resorts has numerous packages, with pricing dependent upon accommodations at The Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg Woodlands, The Griffin Hotel and Colonial Homes. The Winter Getaway packages, available through Mar. 26, include two tickets to Colonial Williamsburg and $200 in credit. Glide into Winter, available through Feb. 15, features ice skating. Other packages, offered through Mar. 31, are the Romance Package for Two, which includes a welcome gift, two tickets, daily breakfast, and a carriage ride; the Couples Spa Retreat featuring a couple’s massage at the Forbes four-star retreat and Spa Escape, which includes a 60-minute massage (Colonial Williamsburg, Va., 855-231-7240 or colonialwilliamsburghotels.com).
- Surrounded by 1,100 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier has been welcoming guests since 1778. The resort’s Wintertime Package, available weekends through Mar. 13, includes accommodations, early check-in at 12 noon, late check-out at 3 p.m., $100 spending credit, breakfast in the Main Dining Room and four hours in the Adventure Zone for children, ages 3-12, with options for carriage riding, horseback riding, ice skating, off-road touring, bowling and arcade games. The three-night package costs $999. The Bed-and-Breakfast Package, requiring a two-night minimum, is $119 per person, per night (excluding Feb. 14) and includes access to the private Casino Club. The Spa Package includes two nights between Sunday and Thursday and a $1,000 spa credit for $1,000. (101 Main St., White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. 24986, 855-453-4858 or greenbrier.com).
- Since opening in 1933, the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, Pa., has been considered the premier place to stay at the “Sweetest Place on Earth.” The hotel’s Family Fun Package, available through May 26, includes accommodations, breakfast, tickets to Hershey’s Great Chocolate Mystery in 3D, tickets to Zoo America or the Antique Auto Museum at Hershey, seasonal tickets to Hershey Gardens and admission to the Hershey Story’s Museum Experience. Several packages are available through Dec. 2021: Romance in Hershey Park includes accommodations with a rose petal turndown, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, a full breakfast, seasonal tickets to Hershey Gardens and admission to the Hershey Story’s Museum Experience; the Bed and Breakfast Package features accommodations, breakfast, gardens, and museum admission; Hotel Hershey’s Signature Package, available nightly except Saturday, includes accommodations, breakfast, dinner at a Hershey Hotel restaurant, gardens and museum admission. Spa packages for one, two and three nights are also available. Call the hotel for prices. (100 Hotel Rd., Hershey, Pa. 17033, 844-330-1711 or thehotelhershey.com).
- Built in 1913 and renovated in 1991, the luxurious Hotel Dupont in Wilmington, Del., has attracted world dignitaries throughout its history. The downtown property has styled several packages for celebrating love this season: The Romance Package includes accommodations, plus a bottle of Prosecco and sweet treats upon arrival; the Bed & Breakfast Package, breakfast and valet parking with an overnight stay; and the Green Room Dinner Package, four courses from the French dinner menu and gratuities. Several hotel packages include visits to museums in the Brandywine Valley. Contact the hotel for package prices (42 West 11th St., Wilmington, Del. 19801, 302-594-3100).
Other travel news
According to a recent article in Afar, there’s a brand new 1,374-mile cycling route called “Parks, Peaks, and Prairies Bicycle Route,” which connects bike-friendly towns in the Midwest and winds through spectacular scenery, including Yellowstone National Park, the plains of Wyoming, Devils Tower National Monument, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands of South Dakota. Maybe it’s time to plan that special summer trip?
Carol Timblin welcomes travel news at firstname.lastname@example.org.