When many of us think of a romantic getaway, we often envision a far off place – a centuries-old castle in the mountains or a beachside villa on a private island. But these seemingly out-of-reach destinations represent a small portion of what the world has to offer. A romantic escape is far more attainable than we might think. In fact, there are several places in the southeast that are perfect for building memories and spending quality time with someone special.
Located in Braselton, Georgia is the Château Élan, an elegant winery and resort emulating the style of a French country estate. When you first enter Château Élan, you are engulfed in a panoramic view of the 3,500-acre vineyard, with the winery overlooking its estate from the top of the hill. The resort is nestled further back, with access to tennis courts, swimming pools, golf courses, and a European health spa. At the winery Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet & Riesling are grown and can be tasted on daily wine tours. Château Élan describes itself as a place where “French provincial and Southern hospitality combine,” an elegant balance of fantasy and familiarity.
In Savannah, Georgia, cozy but luxurious bed and breakfast inns like The Gastonian and the Hamilton-Turner Inn are within walking distance of River Street and the City Market. River Street offers a scenic view of the Savannah River and is lined with antique shops, galleries, pubs and restaurants. The Olde House, located in the heart of the Historic District, is known for its gourmet menu and warm atmosphere. In its cellar is Planters Tavern, a slightly more casual bar featuring live jazz music two days a week. For dessert, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar creates delicious cheesecakes, frozen mousse, key lime pies and a trademark romantic snack – chocolate-covered strawberries. Savannah offers a perfect balance of relaxation and excitement. You can take a lazy walk along the river or explore the historic buildings around every corner, all at your own pace.
About sixty miles south of Savannah is one of Georgia’s hidden gems. Sapelo is a beautiful and well-preserved island. It is home to the Hog Hammock community, whose West African heritage and Geechee culture is celebrated through historic tours and traditions such as sweet grass basket weaving. The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve and the University of Georgia Marine Institute are also located on the island, where research is done to manage and protect Georgia’s coastal researches. It speaks to the pristine quality of Sapelo’s environment. Spend your days exploring Sapelo’s peaceful forests and blissful beaches, and take shelter at night in the spacious luxury cottages of Sapelo Island Birdhouses. Each cottage celebrates the wildlife of Sapelo and is named after a bird you may find living on the island.
The legacy of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina speaks for itself. The Inn is living proof that you don’t have to travel far for a fairytale escape. Biltmore’s historic chateau is surrounded by the sprawling Blue Ridge Mountains and its grounds are decorated with ornate gardens. The Antler Hill Village is also within the Estate grounds and guests can visit there to learn about the history of the estate, relax on the village green or sign up for an adventure at the Outdoor Adventure Center. The center offers Segway rentals, Land Rover excursions, bike trips, fly-fishing lessons, horseback rides, and a river float trip. After a few days of excitement, you can wind down at the Biltmore Spa with a massage or exfoliation.
Author: Olivia Varnson, regular contributor of great travel advice and tips. Olivia lives near Gainesville, GA