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Romantic Getaways in Myrtle Beach Mar 12

I wanted to take my wife for a weekend romantic getaway for her birthday.  I wanted to take her somewhere she could see the ocean.  After some research, I decided to take my wife to Myrtle Beach for a romantic getaway.

We have traveled to South Carolina several times before and used the Myrtle Beach airport before because there are a few discount airlines that fly in and out of there which keeps prices down.  In this case, we used Spirit Airlines and got a really great deal.  Myrtle Beach has very reasonable airline prices and also has all of the major rental car companies next to the terminal.

There are several hotels and resorts along the ocean but I wanted to find one that had some good specials and was very nice.  We stayed at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes which was just 5 minutes from the beach.  The Marina Inn has a variety of accommodations from studio rooms to four bedroom suites with kitchens.  Our suite had a fireplace, king bed, full kitchen, and a patio with a view of the Intercoastal waterway and a golf course.  The furniture and the bed were very comfortable.  The Marina Inn has a beautiful outdoor pool for getting some sun and an indoor pool and fitness center if you want to stay in shape.   I thought that the hotel and grounds were very nice and the customer service was excellent.

One of the reasons that we came to Myrtle Beach was to spend some time on the beach.  The beach is just 5 minutes away and the hotel provides shuttles to the beach throughout most of the year or you can drive yourself.  The Marina Inn has beach access right next to the Marriott and provides everything you need to relax at the beach from chairs, umbrellas, hammocks, and a cabana which has casual dining and restrooms and changing rooms.  We went in the off season when there wasn’t shuttle service but the advantage was that we had the beach to ourselves.  We spent the better part of the weekend just relaxing at the beach.

Myrtle Beach does have a lot to do.  Of course, many people go to Myrtle Beach for the golf.  You can’t go too far in Myrtle Beach without finding a golf course.  This would include miniature golf courses, executive courses, and of course some signature golf courses as well.  Myrtle Beach does have a lot of other things to do from dinner shows to small amusement parks to aquariums.

If you like to shop, Myrtle Beach has a lot of options from outlet malls to traditional malls and unique entertainment / shopping areas.  We went to Broadway at the Beach which has a wide variety of shopping, dining, nightlife, and entertainment options.  The complex has themed architecture areas around a 23 acre lake which houses fireworks shows.  We enjoyed eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while walking through the different shops.

There are a lot of different dining options in Myrtle Beach.  While we were there, we enjoyed some terrific chicken tenders from Zaxby’s as well as some terrific steaks from Ruth’s Chris Steak House.  We also had a terrific breakfast at the Waterscapes restaurant inside the Marina Inn.  We especially enjoyed their Banana’s Foster French Toast.  Since we were there for a long weekend we really didn’t get to experience all the dining options that Myrtle Beach had to offer but we did see a lot we would like to try the next time we are there.

My wife really liked her birthday romantic getaway to Myrtle Beach.  We were able to relax at the beach which was what she really wanted to do. However, the next time we go we may play some golf or do some of the great activities Myrtle Beach has to offer.  The next time you are looking for a romantic getaway along the ocean, don’t overlook Myrtle Beach!

Romantic Getaways in Maui Feb 28

Maui is a great place for a romantic getaway.  This year my wife celebrated a milestone birthday.  Her number one item on her “Bucket List” was going on a trip to Hawaii.  I did some research about Hawaii and decided to make Maui the island to take my wife on a romantic getaway for her birthday.

In investigating Hawaii, I did research on the different islands.  They all have great beaches.  Oahu is the most cosmopolitan, Kauai is the most green, Big Island has live volcanoes, but Maui has a little of everything.  Maui has great beaches for anything from snorkeling to surfing, a volcano, and just a wide variety of things to do.

The downside of Hawaii is that the flights are really long, especially if you don’t live on the west coast.  I think you want to plan to stay for a week at minimum to allow for the jet lag to subside and so that you can immerse yourself in the Hawaiian culture.  When you land in Maui, you immediately see that things will be a little different.  The airport has open air areas where you can see some of the mountains in the area.  You really need a car to get around and since this was intended to be a special vacation, we decided to rent a convertible to feel the Hawaiian air.  There are a lot of rental companies from nationally known ones to locally owned ones but we chose to rent a Mustang convertible from Budget rental car.

There are a great many places to stay on Maui from high end hotels and resorts to condominiums.  There a lot of good websites but we found ours on VRBO.com.  We chose to stay near Kaanapali area because there are great beaches nearby and town of Lahaina with excellent restaurants, shopping, and nightlife nearby.  Our condominium was a two bedroom in a sixteen unit resort called Hoyochi Nikko only 50 feet from the ocean.  We were able sit on the balcony and watch the sea turtles swim and the whales breaching.  We also had access to the ocean where we could snorkel with a variety of fish and sea turtles from the back of the condo.  The condo was clean, had a full kitchen with modern amenities, and was very comfortable.  There are a great many resorts in the Kaanapali area for all tastes that you could find on VRBO.com, HomeAway.com, and through local websites.

There are a wide variety of restaurants in the area that are very good.  We spent several mornings at The Gazebo restaurant in the Napili Shores resort.  It had a great view of the water where you could see whales breaching while you eat.  The served really good omelets and macadamia nut pancakes that were outstanding and very reasonably priced.  They do serve lunch but we only ate there for breakfast.  We also ate at the Pineapple Grill at the Kapalua Resort which has great views of the golf course and the sunsets.  The food was outstanding and provided a nice variety of foods from gourmet meat and seafood dishes for dinners to burgers and salads for lunches.  Make sure you leave room for the best pineapple upside down cake my wife and I have ever tasted.  We went into Lahaina to eat one night and had an outstanding meal at David Paul’s Lahaina Grill.  They have outstanding service and feature a lot of dishes from both land and sea prepared in unique and delicious ways.  As we have mentioned in previous posts, we love Melting Pot Restaurants and they have a very nice new one in Lahaina right next to an Outback.  In other words, there are tons of choices for every taste not too far away.

Lahaina also has some nice shopping options through downtown.  There are a lot of art galleries, boutiques, and places to buy souvenirs.  Just off the main street, there is a shop called Hilo Hatties which is a great place to buy Hawaiian clothes and souvenirs. 

The area also has a lot of unique nightlife options.  There are a variety of Luaus in the area of which the Old Lahaina Luau appears to be the most well-liked.  We went to a magic show called Warren & Annabelle’s.  The night starts out with some appetizers and piano playing from a ghost.  The show is intimate and is every bit as much of a comedy show as it is a magic show.   The magic show is in the slight of hand variety instead of some of the grand dramatic tricks you would see in a Vegas show.  However, my wife and I were still trying to figure out some of his tricks all the way home.  This is definitely a must do if you are staying in the Lahaina area. 

Maui also has a wide variety of outdoor things to do.  We got up at 4 am one morning and drove up a 10,000 ft high volcano at Haleakala National Park to watch the sunrise.  It was a tremendous view and definitely a memorable experience.  You can take zip line tours either near Haleakala or in the West Maui mountains.  If you like scenic drives, you can take the Road to Hana which is a very, very windy road with a variety of waterfalls and beaches to see along the way.  If you are interested in windsurfing or surfing either from beginner to expert or participant to viewer, Maui has some great options.

My wife and I really like beaches and that is why we were most looking forward to going to Hawaii.  We went to Kapalua Bay which had great snorkeling and a nice walk along the ocean.  We also spent a day at Kaanapali beach which was great for people watching and some good snorkeling.  These are just a few of the many beaches in Maui.  As you can see, my wife and I we really like snorkeling.  There are a great many snorkeling shops where you can rent equipment or arrange for snorkeling tours.  My wife and I took a snorkeling tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation that went to Molokini Crater with its beautiful, clear water, and abundant fish.  We then went to another snorkeling area to swim with the sea turtles.  The nice part about of snorkeling tours with the Pacific Whale Foundation is that while you are traveling to the snorkeling spots, you get a great education about whales and other ocean life.

Our romantic getaway to Maui was truly a once in a lifetime experience.  We really can’t wait to go back to Hawaii.  The real dilemma is that we enjoyed Maui immensely.  We think that we want to try a different island but don’t know if we can withstand the urge to not go back to Maui.  When you are looking to put a trip on your “Bucket List”, we strongly suggest adding a romantic getaway to Maui on it.

Romantic Getaways in Frankenmuth Apr 27

Romantic getaways can sometimes be found in unexpected places, the latest being in central Michigan. My wife and I have visited Frankenmuth several times and really enjoy it. Frankenmuth has some very touristy aspects about it but it also has some elements that make it a great place for a romantic getaway.

Frankenmuth is known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria due to the history of it’s formation as a town over 150 years ago. The architecture looks like something you would see if you were to visit Germany. The Cass River runs through town and even has a riverboat that gives historical tours of Frankenmuth while you enjoy your river cruise. There are carriage rides offered by a couple of different carriage companies that give you tours of the town while riding in a horse drawn carriage. If you enjoy history, there are a couple of options that allow you to learn about the town in a very romantic atmosphere.

If you enjoy shopping, there are several unique options. There are a variety of small shops located downtown which are fun to walk around with together. Frankenmuth is also the home for Bronner’s which is the World’s Largest Christmas Store. If you enjoy Christmas, Bronner’s is a place you shouldn’t miss. My wife and I like to buy ornaments every year and you can even get personalized ones in Bronner’s. If you are looking for some real bargains, there is a great outlet mall in Birch Run about 10 minutes away.

There are some great dining options as well. My wife and I really like Zehnder’s which offers family style dining that is exceptional and will make sure that you won’t leave hungry. They have a great all you can eat fried chicken dinner which also has a wide variety of appetizers and sides. The décor of the restaurant maintains the town’s German theme and the wait staff uniforms are representative of the 1800s. I would highly recommend making a stop at their Marketplace where you can buy some of the items that you sampled during your dinner and check out their wonderful bakery. Although we haven’t experienced it first hand, Zehnder’s also has a hotel with a waterpark and an 18-hole championship golf course.

If you enjoy live entertainment, Frankenmuth is home to several music festivals including country music and a flashback to the 80s among others. They also have beer tasting festivals, a Renaissance festival and a speedway for car racing if you enjoy that. Check the Frankenmuth events website for more details.

As a reflection of the town’s effort to maintain a romantic theme, they even have a wedding chapel for those couples who are really feeling the romance. I hope you consider Frankenmuth as a great place in Michigan for a romantic getaway.

Romantic Getaways in South Haven Apr 20

 

My wife and I can always find romance by the water. Since we live in Michigan now, we are quite far from the ocean. Luckily, Lake Michigan isn’t too far away and one of our favorite towns along Lake Michigan is South Haven.

The beach in South Haven is a great place to share a romantic moment and a great place to relax. Many people are surprised by the beach and size of Lake Michigan. The sand on the beaches along Lake Michigan is beautiful in appearance, is soft to the touch, and is really nice to walk on. The lake water is definitely colder than the Atlantic or Pacific water but it is quite clear for the most part. It can be amazing to stand on the beach and look out into the horizon because you cannot see land anywhere you look and you start to get a feel for the size of Lake Michigan. Sometimes, if the weather is right, you can get waves that are high enough to make you think you are sitting oceanside. It is really peaceful to sit and read a book or people watch while looking over the lake. If you are looking for romance, it is really nice to take a walk through the beautiful sand holding the hand of your sweetheart.

The beach in South Haven is close to downtown and is split into two parts. We prefer the North beach because it is larger and a little quieter. There is a concession stand with snack food and hot dogs and also restrooms within walking distance. My wife always finds lighthouses to be very romantic because they are kind of a window to the past. You can see South Haven’s lighthouse while you sit on the beach which just adds to the scenery. Also, there is a pretty good sized marina with a channel separating the two beaches so you can also watch the boats leave for the lake.

If you are a couple that finds romance on the water, then South Haven marina is the starting point for a variety of cruises of Lake Michigan. The South Haven marina is also the home of the Michigan Maritime Museum for people who enjoy history.

The town in South Haven is a great one for walking around in. There are a lot of little shops and boutiques that are fun to walk in and offering anything from home décor to clothing to antiques. There are also a variety of pretty good restaurants to visit. Our favorite is Clementine’s which has great food and service in a nice atmosphere. We really like the atmosphere in the bar area and we really enjoy the onion rings for an appetizer. They have a lot of variety in their menu and have daily specials. The downside is that they don’t take reservations so it can take a long time to sit down and eat. The good thing is that you can put your name in and if the wait is long, you can walk round the shops and boutiques surrounding the restaurant.

If you want a break from the beach, you can take a walk along the scenic Kal Haven Trail or visit Van Buren State Park. There are several golf courses in the area including HawksHead Links which has been rated 4-1/2 stars by Golf Digest and even includes an Inn to stay at on the Golf Course. Speaking of places to stay, South Haven has a great deal of Bed & Breakfasts and Vacation Rentals many of which are within walking distance of town or the beach.

If you find sitting and walking on the beach with your special someone and are in the Midwest, you should consider South Haven as a place to stop. You can enjoy beautiful sand, scenic views of the lighthouse and Lake Michigan, and an enjoyable town to walk around in when you aren’t sitting on the beach.

Romantic Getaways on a Carribean Cruise Apr 06

One of our most memorable vacations was our honeymoon. We embarked on a 7 night Royal Carribean cruise to the southern Caribbean on the beautiful Monarch of the Seas. The ship is spectacular from its Viking Lounge located hundreds of feet above the ocean where you can experience amazing sunset views while enjoying your cocktails and appetizers. Enjoy five-star dining in one of the two main dining areas designed after Claude Monet or Vincent Van Gogh. For a more casual atmosphere try the Jade Restaurant featuring Asian-fusion. They have great sushi. The Windjammer Café has lighter fare with spectacular views. The burgers and sandwiches are delicious. Room service is also available if you want something truly intimate. There’s nothing more romantic than dinner on your private balcony while listening to the sounds of the ocean and watching the sunset with your loved one. Wherever you choose to dine, it will be an experience you’ll treasure forever.

There is a never ending list of things to do on the ship. For those of you who enjoy a little adventure try the Rock climbing wall. There is a state of the art fitness center, open-air basketball court, and an open-air track. The ship has two pools and two hot tubs for your enjoyment and of course the staff will be at your beck and call. There’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in the sun next to the pool while listening to island music and enjoying a tropical cocktail. If you feel the need to be pampered even more, just make an appointment at the spa and enjoy one of the luxurious manicures, pedicures or massages. If you love to shop you’ll be in heaven. They have several boutiques to choose from. As an added bonus you have duty free shopping aboard the ship.

Romance is in the air aboard the ship. Take a cooking class together or a wine pairing class and enrich your relationship through learning something new together. Dance lessons are a great way to bond with your loved one while laughing with each other along the way. These are but a few of the possibilities you can explore while aboard the ship.

Parties and themed nights will get you feeling young all over again. Masquerade ball, 50’s and 60’s night, toga party, and pirate themed night are just a few of the themed nights to enjoy dancing, laughing, loving, and eating with your sweetheart. There are themed lounges also and include disco, country, dance, latin, and piano lounges for your enjoyment. Try your luck at the casino. The staff there will be more than happy to teach you how to play the game.

If you like Broadway plays you’ll love there Las Vegas inspired shows and musicals. The comedy acts are hilarious. My husband and I can’t get enough of them. So the next time you are looking for a romantic getaway that features fabulous food and service, a variety of things to do, romantic activities, and world class entertainment, all while visiting exotic ports, please consider a cruise for your next vacation.

Romantic Getaways in Chicago Mar 23

 

Chicago has a lot to offer the couple looking for a romantic getaway. If you like to shop, there’s the Magnificent Mile has stores and boutiques for every taste. If you like tourist attractions, there are many different options from aquariums to museums to sightseeing trips. If you like to eat out, there is no end of great restaurants, many with a romantic ambiance for that special evening.

Walking up and down the Magnificent Mile can be a lot of fun and interesting. The wide avenues, statues, and the architecture of downtown Chicago remind many people of the streets of Paris. There are a variety of shops for all of your different needs and tastes. In the winter holiday season, the street and the store windows are decorated beautifully and really help get you in the mood. I think it is second to only 5th avenue in Manhattan in places to stroll down with your sweetheart to help get you in the holiday spirit.

There are a great variety of tourist attractions and things to do. If you enjoy going to sporting events (which we do), Chicago has two baseball teams with two very different stadiums. The Cubs play in Wrigley Field which has been a Chicago institution for many years and will give you a feeling that you stepped back in time. The White Sox play in a more modern stadium with the amenities of today if you prefer that experience. Chicago is also the home of the NBA Chicago Bulls, the NHL Chicago Blackhawks, and of course the Chicago Bears so if sports are your thing, you have a lot to choose from.

The museums also provide you with a lot of variety. For art lovers there is the Chicago Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art. History buffs should not miss the Field Museum of Natural History. If you enjoy learning about how things work and how they were made, you will find the Museum of Science and Industry very interesting. For those of you looking for an out of this world experience, you should visit the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. If you enjoy life “under the sea” the Shedd Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world.

There are a variety of sightseeing tours, for all tastes. There is a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour, Grey Line narrated tours, several different walking tours, and shoreline sightseeing tours for those of you who love to be on the water (like us!).

Chicago has a lot of great restaurants and some of them are outstanding places to have a nice romantic dinner. There are two options for fondue near downtown Chicago. The first is The Melting Pot which we talked about in an earlier blog and the Chicago restaurant has the normal great food and the romantic atmosphere. The second is Geja’s café which may not have quite the selection that The Melting Pot does but it has live flamenco and classical guitarists. If you would prefer a wonderful view to fondue, The Signature Room located atop the John Hancock building offers contemporary fare and wonderful views of Chicago. Some other great restaurants for romantic dining include Vivere, La Cantina or The Village in the Italian Village Restaurants. There is also Le Colonial for French-Asian dining, If you like some more familiar restaurants with great food, white tablecloths, and wonderful service there is a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or Joe’s Stone Crab. For another twist on dining, Odyssey Cruises offers a wide range of different dining and entertainment options aboard their cruise ships in Lake Michigan.

The next time you are in the Midwest and are looking for a great place for a romantic getaway, I would consider the many options for shopping, attractions, and dining that Chicago has to offer.