November Romantic Travel Guide
|ARMS OUTSTRETCHED: Arizona's famed Saguaro Cacti (Photodisc)|
San Francisco Zen Center at Green Gulch Farm in Muir Beach, CA
There's no finer (and more everlasting) gift to yourself than romancing your spirit at the San Francisco Zen Center, a Buddhist practice center at Green Gulch Farm. It may seem austere at first (expect a lot of meditation and embracing ordinary work), but it's actually quite fulfilling here?in an empty sort of way. On a more pedestrian level, the landscape itself is quite stunning; farm reaches down to the Pacific. Awake to yourself, quite your thoughts, and fall in love with Chi, Essence, Wisdom, and Spirit. (415.863.3136; sfzc.org)
The Big Island, HI
You'll have to toss a coin. There's no other way to decide which Big Island beach is more captivating: Hapuna or Mauna Kea. Both are practically perfect white crescentsthe kind that make you fly across the Pacific with nothing more than a desire to get your toes into the Hawaiian surf. Luckily, they're adjacent to one another, giving you more bang for your buck. Go easy on yourself and stay at the understated Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, no stranger to delivering fine luxury and service.
They don't call this "the music capital of the world" for nothing. Catch some live tunes on South Congress, South Lamar, or Barton Springs Road, beneath white lights strung in trees, and watch the twinkle in your partner's eyes. Offbeat choices also abound deep in the heart of Texas. Catch bats rising as from Congress Avenue Bridge as the sun sets, followed by dinner at Vespaio, and let Texas big-heartedness inspire yours. (austintexas.org)
Dinner, Play, and Drinks in Manhattan, NY
This little triptych has long been a NYC right of passageand if you and your lover do it right, it'll trump all the other "traditional" vacation moments in your collective memory. First, live big by making reservations at Charlie Palmer's Aureole (charliepalmer.com), tucked in a brownstone on the Upper East Side, and serving progressive American cuisine par excellence. Then either catch the latest Hollywood star in an edgy off-Broadway performance or give into the easy charms of the latest craze. And then ready yourself for the second act (after the play is over, that is) with drinks at the midtown Hudson Hotel Bar (hudsonhotel.com).
Sun Valley and Ketchum, ID
The in-between months in Sun Valley offer all the peace and tranquility you'll need--without the crowds, celebrity chaos, and high prices. Drive the Sawtooth Scenic Byway and take brisk hikes through the neighboring national forest; fish in Papa Hemingway's Silver Creek Preserve; and return to ski Boulder and Bald mountains. Then head indoors to a condo, cottage, or grand hotel room; followed by a steamy trip to the hot tub, the gentle call of down comforters, and Sunday brunch that will leave you sated until Tuesday (or longer).
The Spa at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV
"Best Spa" lists are plentiful, and elicit plenty of passionsbut when it comes down to it, the judgment of all this beauty and wellness, trends and treatments is pretty damn subjective. But if you live in the Mid-Atlantic, the sulfur springs of Greenbrier will draw you to the Allegheny Mountains without a second thought. What levies support in their favor? How about because they've been offering cool mountain air, mineral laden waters, and toxin-releasing soaks since 1778. Remove the impurities and let your body soak in the beauty of nature.
Searching for Saguaro in Tucson, AZ
Head into the Sonoran Desert at dusk in search of the highly animated saguaro cactus, that quintessential desert sunset silhouette. Reaching heights of 25 feet and living to the ripe old age of 200 years, they can tell us a thing or two about longevity and playfulness. Find a pair standing side-by-side and listen to their secrets, then apply them to the one standing by your side. Afterwards, cruise the mysteries of the night sky at the Kitt Peak Observatory and bed down at the reasonable Westward Look Resort. (800.722.2500; www.westwardlook.com).
Elk Mountain Resort in Montrose, CO
Less than an hour from Telluride, 14 peaks of the San Juan Mountains cradle this resort like a babe in swaddling clothes. Sure, you can adventure to your heart's content (with rock climbing, off-road four-wheel driving, horseback riding, and more.) But you could also let the rustic-yet-refined resort pack you a private picnic and take off into the woods. Then again, you may not leave the comforts of plush bedding, soaking tubs, and room service.
(877.355.9255; Elk Mountain Resort)
The windy city in November? Sometimes we're all challenged to be creative. Take a carriage tour downtown and along the Michigan lakefront. Enjoy a table for two at one of Chicago's top eateries, North Pond, with a giant fieldstone fireplace and where contemporary French cuisine prevails without attitude. Get a different perspective (of the lakeshore and downtown) while having a drink at the Signature Room at the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center. The temps may be cold, but the crowds will be thinner and the hotel rooms a welcome refuge after days of culinary and artistic exploration. (choosechicago.com)
Casa Natalia in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
You don't have to be honeymooning to snag this boutique hotel's honeymoon package. But one thing might lead to another.... It includes five luxurious nights, a killer tequila tasting, champagne on arrival, a chef's tasting menu, and couples' massages. Upgrade to the suite and get a private terrace. Every day living is artful at Natalia's house, an oasis of calm and sophistication. (888.277.3814; www.casanatalia.com)
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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