Aspen is just one of several romantic destinations in Colorado, particularly during the magical winter season. Visiting couples have a seemingly endless collection of romantic lodging, such as The Innsbruck, St. Regis Aspen and The Little Nell and intimate dining at celebrated places like the Pine Creek Cookhouse, Cache Cache and L’Hostaria. Winter sports are prevalent in Aspen but not required to have an unforgettable visit here, although couples can choose from four different world-class ski resorts. What may be more romantic for most visitors is a chance to dash through the snow on a one horse open sleigh or simply roasting chestnuts on an open fire with some traditional mistletoe close by.
Related: Best Ski Resorts In America
View from Post Ranch Inn (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Big Sur, California
Big Sur is widely considered as one of the most romantic places on Earth as well as as one of the most beautiful. And during the winter months, crowds are sparse, the air is crisp and the breathtaking views along the spectacular California coast are beyond comparison. For the ultimate Big Sur experience, couples can indulge themselves in one of two heated infinity spas overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the award-winning Post Ranch Inn, regarded as one of the world’s best hotels and the recipient of Andrew Harper’s top ranked Best U.S. Hideaway for seven consecutive years. Other notable overnight accommodations especially appealing to couples include Ventana Inn and Spa and Glen Oaks Big Sur, selected as one of the world’s most romantic hotels by Travel+Leisure.
Embracing upon a secluded beach on the island of Kauai, couples can create their own romantic beach scene much like “From Here to Eternity.” Yet due to winter temperatures averaging in the mid to high 70s and the notion of escaping cold weather from other parts of the country, it’s the high season here and the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Still, crowds are much smaller on The Garden Island, yet offer some of the most enchanting views of all of Hawaii.
Winter is the low season for Napa Valley, which translates into the perfect romantic winter getaway. Although the weather can be unpredictable during the winter months and all of the grapes have been harvested, it’s cabernet season where red wine reigns supreme and world famous chefs prepare heartier meals. It’s also a time where much of the valley is aglow with staggered shades of yellow from the mustard blossoms that dominate the dormant vineyards. Many of the region’s top hotels, inns and bed-and-breakfasts offer great bargains for couples, such as a Wine Country Romance Package at the Shady Oaks Country Inn in St. Helena, the Winter Escape Package at the world class Silverado Resort and Spa and steep discounts at the Doubletree Hilton in American Canyon. No visit is complete without a visit to some of the 400 wineries operating in Napa Valley. Top choices for visitors include Beaulieu Vineyard and Domaine Chandon in Yountville, Calistoga’s Castello di Amorosa (Castle of Love), Robert Mondavi in St. Helena and the stunningly beautiful Domaine Carneros in Napa.
With snow-covered mountains and white-steepled churches, New England is truly a winter wonderland. Stowe is just one of many communities in the Northeast known for world-class winter activities, food and culture and intimate overnight accommodations. Among the best lodging recommended for couples in the area known as the “Ski Capital of the East” are the Stowe Mountain Lodge, listed as among the top five resorts in the U.S. by Condé Nast, the acclaimed Trapp Family Lodge owned by the family that inspired “The Sound of Music” and the appropriately named Topnotch Resort. Stowe also has an impressive array of elegant B&Bs, many with cozy in-room fireplaces perfect for a romantic evening, such as the Stone Hill Inn, the Brass Lantern Inn and the Green Mountain Inn.
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.