Romantic Destinations You Haven't Seen Before
Reconnect a Disconnect at these American Destinations
Many people don't notice that moment when their relationship becomes disconnected. It happens slowly, while they're meeting deadlines, chauffering children, and trying to squeeze in a quiet hour here or there. But once a person recognizes the distance that has developed in their relationship, they anguish over how to rekindle it and find that connection that once existed with their partner.
Long before that disconnection happens, couples can plan together time to build great memories and strengthen their bonds. While we've all heard of Hawaii and Venice for romantic getaways, I've discovered two destinations that don't have quite the reputation or the cost - perfect for a do-it-now weekend.
Sundance Resort, Mount Timpanogos, Utah
Hollywood love stories seem to be "over the top" in many ways. Audiences see daring feats to declare love, betrayals forgiven in the sudden realization that no other love will compare to this one, and miraculous understanding. Artists and film makers flock to Sundance, Utah, home of Robert Redford's Sundance Resort, and so do couples who want to celebrate their closeness or find it once again.
Greg and Patti Leick, who have been married nearly 26 years, told me about Sundance and said it's their favorite romantic getaway. Rustic cabins nestled at the base of Mount Timpanogos allowed them to relax to the sound of bubbling brooks and windswept mountainsides during their visit. In wintertime, visitors can ski or warm themselves in their rustic cabins, snuzzling next to the fireplace as they watch icicles melt outside. Sundance supports the Timpanogos convservation area, preserving astounding scenery and wildlife in a picturesque setting.
"My company was a furniture supplier to the Sundance Catalog through the 1990's," Greg told me. "We were able to combine business with pleasure in those days." The catalog he's referring to came into being because the hotel kept getting letters and requests from people who wanted to purchase items they'd seen at Sundance.
A portion of profits from the hotel, catalog, and the Sundance gallery support artists and filmmakers with special programs - not surprising since Redford, one of the world's acting greats, named the resort after the renowned Sundance Film Festival. Visitors will enjoy browsing the art gallery or taking part in creative events if they'd like to explore their untamed side a bit.
Dining options include elegant meals by candlelight or more casual fare with vista views. Entertainment includes film exhibits, activities, and a bar where Butch Cassidy and his gang once caroused.
Greg and Patti Leick call Sundance a "little jewel" and say it's the most romantic place they've ever stayed during their marriage. Although they live far from the resort, they agree: "If our travels ever take us anywhere close to Sundance we'll make it a point to make a two day stop."
Hmm. I think I will, too!
Select Photos from Romantic Gaylord OprylandClick thumbnail to view full-size
Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee
Sundance is on my list of places to go, but now let me tell you about a place I've been. Upon arriving at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, the first thing that caught my eye was the stunning glass sculpture in the lobby. Photos can't do justice to the giant floral bouquet and the way light reflects through its vibrant petals! (Especially my photos that were taken with an aged iPhone!)
To be honest, though, it quickly vanished from my mind as we set off to find our room. We had to cross through a portion of the hotel's 10-acre indoor atrium, which is a jungle like feast of exotic orchids, tropical plants, and waterfalls.
Rooms facing the atrium offer guests cozy balconies overlooking the "river" with gondola-like boats full of passengers.
We enjoyed some wonderful meals and terrific shopping without leaving the hotel. Since sushi is one of my favorite dishes, we shared a meal at Sora, a restaurant on the water's edge after watching the chef prepare our California rolls. (Sorry, but I still like my sushi to contain cooked fish!) The next day, we had deluxe hamburgers in the Fuse sports bar (with its 100-plus high def televisions) and debated whether to enjoy our next meal at Jack Daniel's restaurant or one of the many other choices all within the hotel.
Italian, Mexican, and Irish options were available, but as die-hard BBQ fans, we were leaning toward Jack Daniel's, but our plans changed and we found ourselves at the Old Hickory Steakhouse. Reminiscent of an old plantation style home, this restaurant had some of the best filet mignon I've had, although my companion is what made it most memorable. His old world charm swept me off my feet as he pulled out my chair for me and doted on me throughout our meal.
We thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and might never have left its elegant offerings if it wasn't for the fact that were in Nashville, after all. We had to get out and experience the city's attractions. Shuttle buses take guests to the (new) Grand Ol' Opry, but since no performances were scheduled during our stay, we opted to go downtown, where we discovered more interesting sights, fun shopping, and unbelievable talent at the dozens of bars that lined the street. As we had a beer and enjoyed a bartender who belted out great songs as she worked, an artist had sketched my face and offered to sell his work to my husband, who brought it home as a momento of our trip.
Although we spent three days in Nashville, we barely scratched the surface of the hotel, its history, and the city. When I located the video I've included above, I discovered that we'd missed some of the sights in the hotel itself! We plan to head back again at the very next opportunity - which may be soon with their current specials: Book one night and get the second free, or pay $478 for two nights on their romance package available through December, 2012.
To reach the hotel by shuttle from the airport takes about ten minutes and costs $25 round trip per person.
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