October Romantic Travel Guide

Ballooning Fiesta
LET YOUR LOVE SOAR: Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta (Eyewire)

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, NM
Don't let your idea of romance get boxed in by convention—let the air currents above Albuquerque do it for you. Take your relationship to new heights as you soar on updrafts high above the desert landscape. From a pre-dawn mass ascension of 400 balloons to twilight-twinkle glow of balloons alighting with the stars, there are plenty of times to witness spectacular displays. But best of all? Seeing the world as Dorothy did when the Wizard of Oz took her home.
(505.821.1000; www.balloonfiesta.com)

Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford (Napa), CA
You could settle into this lifestyle property for two weeks without leaving—especially if you splurged on a 1,250-square foot suite! Nothing more evocatively blends the olive groves of Tuscany and sensuality of Provence with the essence of California and sweeping vineyard views. Superlatives don't do justice in describing the quietude that descends upon and engulf one's soul after surrendering to the property's soothing confines. Find out for yourself.
(800.348.5406; www.aubergedusoleil.com)

Tuscany, Italy
These hills aren't so much alive with the sound of music as they are with the sound of one olive tree clapping (to paraphrase a famous Zen koan) for they create a sense of timelessness and stillness usually only found after meditation. From medieval Montepulciano and towering San Gimignano to scenic Siena and arresting Arezzo, these villages will inspire you to no boundaries. Rent a farmhouse with a cook and let the wine, pecorino cheeses, and pasta flow freely.

Northeast Kingdom, VT
Few U.S. destinations—outside of northeastern Vermont—offer all the elements necessary for superb foliage viewing. The profusion of hard-packed country roads let you escape the asphalt, transforming the landscape from billboards and tour buses to expansive views on hillcrests, well-spaced weathered farmhouses and barns, and old maple trees blazing red in their razzle-dazzle autumnal glory. Disappear into the backcountry, or take to B&B hopping, with requisite stops into a old-fashioned country stores for conversation, maple syrup, and cheeses.

Sunrise at Mount Haleakaka in Maui, HI
You must rise under the cloak of deep darkness and don as many layers of clothing as you have. And it might be hard to shake off the sleep, even with strong coffee. But when you've reached the 10,000-foot summit, and you're mummified in hotel blankets, snuggled with your partner, and light starts peering over the rim of Mount Haleakala, it'll all be worth it. To witness this magnificence is other worldly. There's nothing tentative about it.

Pennsylvania's New Poconos
Forget heart-shaped bathtubs and over-laced beds. This is not your parent's Poconos. Just 90 minutes from Manhattan, this neck of the woods encompasses 2,400 square miles of woodland, lakes, waterfalls, and rivers. And in October it's entirely ablaze with every shade of red, orange, and yellow. Take a scenic drive or pick the perfect pumpkin, ride a chairlift to a mountaintop or ride some whitewater, and end the day by ducking into an inn your parent's wouldn't recognize. They even have a foliage hotline (570.421.5565) to keep your senses aligned with the ever-shifting season.

Sail the San Juan Islands near Bellingham, WA
With 40-some islands to explore in this archipelago, the diversity of activities available on and offshore is impressive. From kayaking and crabbing to hiking and shopping (to sitting still and reading), the choice is yours. Aboard an intimate 50-foot sailboat, you'll be able to get up close and personal with resident killer whales, seals, otters, and dolphins. Rent the entire boat for the two of you, or bring along four other friends and make it a (low key) party.

Ride the Rails Across America
Although long-distance U.S. train travel may strike some as a rather antiquated way to traverse the country, some stellar train routes will re-introduce the leisurely beauty of letting it all roll on by. Prime among them is the American Orient Express, whose 1940s-era cars are outfitted with all the nostalgia you can shoulder. From vintage Pullmans and single sleepers to dome and lounge cars, these beauties will rock you to sleep like a good lullaby. Grand routes traverse the western national parks and head through the Rockies and Sierras into Napa.

Boulder, CO
Do as the locals do in Boulder, where romance happens on the trails. With all that fresh air, it's not surprising that everyone is so active. Red blood cells course through veins here faster than Andretti drives around a racetrack. Couples hike in Eldorado Canyon (world-renowned for gorgeous walks and scenery), at Green Mountains (with outrageous lookouts), and on quiet Caribou Mountain, where you wouldn't be surprised if a unicorn crossed your path. At sunset, drive Flagstaff Road for incredible views.

Saratoga Springs, NY
The summer racing season may be over, but other diversions will get your pulse beating in Saratoga Springs. Take a cruise on Lake George, hire Saratoga Horse and Carriage and go for a spin, paddle whitewater with Hudson River Rafting, float down the Eerie Canal, head below ground at Howe Caverns, tee off on any number of courses, and round out your over-active day with a cold one at the Olde Saratoga Brewing Co.

Published: 9 Apr 2007 | Last Updated: 21 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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