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slides: New England’s Most Romantic Getaway Spots

Monday, February 11, 2013


It’s February in New England, which we all know can be dark, dreary, slushy, icy and cold. If you’re not fortunate enough to be heading off on a tropical vacation any time soon, how about warming things up with a romantic getaway that’s a little closer to home? In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are my personal picks for the ten best New England destinations to go snuggle up for a winter weekend:


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Newport, RI

This is the time of year to enjoy discounted room rates at historic hotels, luxurious inns, and charming B&Bs. Indulge in a decadent meal at that restaurant you could never get into last summer, shop your way down Bellevue Ave., and take a turn around the beautiful outdoor rink at the Newport Skating Center. There are too many great hotels to mention, but my favorites include the Hotel Viking (shown here) and the Vanderbilt Grace.

Hotel Viking, Newport

Vanderbilt Grace Hotel, Newport

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Chatham, MA

Another seaside gem that’s too often overlooked in the off-season, Chatham’s got plenty of charm. Cozy up to the fire at an historic inn, indulge in a pampering spa treatment, or bundle up for a walk along the beach (or stargazing at night). And be sure to stay at my very favorite property on Cape Cod – the Chatham Bars Inn.

Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham

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Nantucket, MA

Yes, the ferry runs in the winter. Yes, there will still be shops and restaurants open. And yes, you can actually afford a nice room on the island in the off-season. The hordes of New Yorkers will be gone, the seals will be basking in the harbor, and you should be able to snag a room at the Wauwinet (shown here) or the White Elephant.

The Wauwinet, Nantucket

The White Elephant, Nantucket

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Kennebunkport, ME

My last “beachy” pick, I promise, but I can’t leave out the coast of Maine! Sip hot chocolate or mulled wine in a cozy café, head inland just few miles for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, or just book a room at the White Barn Inn or the Captain Lord Mansion (shown here), and you’ll never want to leave your bed.

White Barn Inn, Kennebunkport

Captain Lord Mansion, Kennebunkport

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White Mountains, NH

I am not a skier, so this is the only mountain destination you’ll see on the list. But I am a sucker for romantic inns, horse drawn sleigh rides, an afternoon ofsledding/tubing, and a candlelit dinner for two. If you like a dose of history with your romance, check out the Mount Washington Resort in Bartlett (NH), a lovingly renovated 1902 landmark hotel.

Mount Washington Resort, Bartlett, NH

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Portland, ME

Cities can be romantic too! You can stroll cobblestone streets, sip craft beers, and indulge your foodie fantasies. Shop cool boutiques and art galleries, or roll up your sleeves with a hands-on cooking class. To be right in the thick of the Old Port district, stay at the Portland Harbor Hotel (luxury suite shown here). 

Portland Harbor Hotel, Portland

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Boston, MA

Where should I even begin? You can explore a museum, take in a concert or a show, cheer on the Bruins or the Celtics, eat your way through the North End, or just relax over a leisurely brunch. Your hotel choices are just as varied. You can go for the traditional luxury of the Omni Parker House (with this view, shown here), or give in to the funky vibe of the Liberty Hotel.

Omni Parker House, Boston

Liberty Hotel, Boston

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Burlington, VT

Don’t think a college town can be romantic? I beg to differ. All those kids in the area means there’s a vibrant nightlife, a cool restaurant scene, and some fun, quirky shops. Add in the nearby skiing, and the ability to pop over to Montreal for a day trip, and what more do you need? In keeping with the low-key vibe, choose a charming little B&B, like the hip new Made Inn Vermont, for your home base.

Made Inn Vermont, Burlington

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Hudson Valley, NY

Okay, this one’s cheating a little bit, because it’s not really New England, but the Hudson Valley area of NY is just over the line from Connecticut and Massachusetts, and it has lots to offer. On both sides of the river, from Rhinebeck and Hyde Park over to Kingston and New Paltz you can enjoy antiques, museums, art galleries and B&Bs. But for the best winter getaway in the area, don’t miss the magnificent Mohonk Mountain House. (Photo Mohonk Mountain House)

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz

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Litchfield, CT

For an over-the-top romantic splurge, head out to western Connecticut. I’m sure there are wonderful things to do there in the foothills of the Berkshires, in a cute, quintessentially New England town, but I am recommending it for one reason only – the Winvian. Eighteen elaborately themed little cottages perfect for a grown-up playdate, with gourmet food and a relaxing spa. (This is the Stone Cottage, shown here.) Sign me up!

Winvian, Litchfield Hills

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Meet the expert

Ann Petronio, owner of Annie’s Escapes, Inc., is an “escape artist” who works with busy couples and families to create unique and memorable vacations. She specializes in the Caribbean and Europe, and loves working on honeymoons and other romantic getaways.

Annie's Escapes Custom Travel


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