YOU NEEDN’T BE AN AMERICAN IN PARIS TO INDULGE IN AN AMOROUS GETAWAY. THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPTIONS MUCH CLOSER TO HOME.
YES, ROMANCE IS IN THE AIR in Georgia … and the water and the lush landscape, from midstate to the mountains, from the sultry southern coastline to the peaceful eastern pines. Want to spend a memorable weekend with your beloved? Stick a pin in a map and follow your heart.
If you’re feeling French, start with Château Élan — literally “castle” — and find bliss with a wineglass in one hand and your beloved’s hand in the other.
Ease into European-style elegance at the award-winning resort and winery, where golf (63 holes), scenic landscapes, winery tours, luxurious accommodations and seven restaurants wait to woo you. Top off any evening with a Rose Petal Turndown ($35). The “castle” is 46 miles north of downtown Atlanta.
Other options there:
- A culinary class with a professional chef and wine service. Who doesn’t feel special wearing a toque blanche, aka chef’s hat, s’il vous plaît?
- Nighttime golf (eight holes) with glow-in-the-dark golf balls.
- Couple massage(s) and Le Soleil Pool Bar, with live entertainment and a hot tub featuring a cascading stone waterfall.
100 Rue Charlemagne. Braselton. Packages for two include lodging (some include meals). $405-$900. Details: At 678.425.0900 or www.chateauelan.com.
We continue our tour of romantic getaways with those closest to metro Atlanta, and then fan out across the state. Please note that rates quoted here are subject to change.
Barnsley Resort, Adairsville | 61 miles
The original Italianate villa was built on 4,000 acres in the 1840s by Godfrey Barnsley for his beloved wife, Julia. She died before completion, and construction stopped. Barnsley later dreamed that she visited him in the villa’s formal gardens and told him to finish the estate, so he did.
Today, 90 guest rooms and suites are found in homey but elegant cottages along tree-lined lanes that connect to dining, gardens and a spa. Golf, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, biking and shopping are all available.
Request (in advance) a table for two in a location of your choice, be it fireside in your cottage or under the stars outdoors. You might have eyes only for each other, but you’ll also have a private butler at your service.
597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville. $500-$1,200 for a weekend stay. Private dining for two is $200-$250 per person. Details: 770.773.7480 or www.barnsleyresort.com.
Brady Inn, Madison | 61 miles
Southern Living magazine calls Madison “one of the South’s best small towns.” USA Today rated it sixth on its list of “10 Best Southern Small Towns.” The Brady Inn Bed and Breakfast, a sprawling 1885 Victorian bungalow, has seven guest rooms and suites, private bathrooms and custom-made mattresses.
A room named for Sarah Brady has been featured in publications for its ornate antique bed and décor, fireplace and marble-top dresser. Swing in the hammock outdoors. When was the last time you did that?
Hard Labor Creek Observatory is the place to stargaze or night hike. Another possibility: a picnic supper at Lake Rutledge at dusk.
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain| 80 miles
Nature beckons at this 6,500-acre conservatory and resort. Breathe fragrant azaleas, bike through wooded trails, choose from two golf courses or frolic on the mile-long white sand beach at Robin Lake.
The 65-acre lake offers canoe, kayak and paddle-board rentals for two. For a sweetheart selfie, shoot among the 1,000 butterflies at the Day Butterfly Center.
Choose a lodge room with a lake or woodland view or secret yourselves in a private cottage with its own fireplace. Dining options include fine, pub and down-home options.
Don’t miss Spa Prunifolia, where treatments for two include massages, facials, and hot towel and aromatherapy treatments. Ahhh.
Gardens at 17800 U.S. 27, Pine Mountain. Lodge, spa, inn and cottages at 4500 Southern Pine Drive. Lodging from $119 per night; spa services $55-$300. Details: 800.852.3810 or www.callawaygardens.com.
Blue Ridge TreeHouse, Blue Ridge | 93 miles
The Blue Ridge TreeHouse is, indeed, a house, tucked among the trees — with a live tree inside. You’ll find it at Bear Claw Vineyards. It includes a steam shower with massage jets, a dual-zone wine refrigerator and a rocking-chair front porch that overlooks Little Sugar Creek and Bear Claw’s working vineyards.
If you want to stray — who’d want to, but you can — outdoor options include the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad, whitewater rafting, hiking and browsing the shops downtown.
English Manor, Morganton | 99 miles
Plop down — in a gentle and genteel manner — at English Manor Bed and Breakfast, an English country house in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Guest suites come with a view, private bathrooms and shared common areas. The proper chef’s kitchen (foodies will appreciate the cast-iron AGA stove) serves breakfast every morning and signature desserts every evening.
Dillard House, Dillard | 114 miles
The Dillard House, set in the North Georgia mountains, has guest rooms, fireplace suites, cottages and mountain chalets (with rocking-chair porches). On-site, staffers will help you surprise your significant other with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Dining is family-style, with a view.
Off-site, you’ll find horse stables, rivers for rafting, mountains for hiking and fresh air for reviving the soul. Take in the view as a twosome from the 4,969-ft. summit of Rabun Bald and/or dip into the 1,200-ft. deep Tallulah Gorge. Look for nearby lakes and waterfalls, vineyards, festivals, shopping and history.
768 Franklin St., Dillard. Lodging $99-$220 per night. Details: 800.541.0671,
Partridge Inn, Augusta | 147 miles
Golf is great in Augusta, but so is the food, the music scene and the Savannah River. This city has history (two signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried here) and a hefty here-and-now vibe (take a photo with the James Brown statue or visit Le Chat Noir for cocktails and cabaret).
The Partridge Inn dates to 1910 and was the first hotel in Georgia to become a Historic Hotel of America. Highlights include views of the city and numerous verandahs — that’s the Southern spelling — plus high-ceilinged guest rooms and the award-winning P.I. Bar and Grill’s “Best of Augusta” Sunday brunch.
Ballastone Inn, Savannah | 250 miles
Savannah is made to explore hand-in-hand with your honey, whether you’re strolling oak-lined, pedestrian-friendly streets, riding in a horse-drawn carriage or trolley, or bicycling in a park.
The 16 rooms at the historic Ballastone Inn — a bed-and-breakfast that dates to the mid-1800s — have names like Scarlett’s Retreat and Scarborough Fair. Most have working fireplaces. The all-day bar offers guests complimentary port and sherry. Silver-service afternoon tea is served promptly at 4 p.m. daily. Extras such as champagne, flowers and rose-petal turndowns are available.
14 East Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah. $460-$600 for two nights. Romance packages $350-$1,000. Details: 912.236.1484 or www.ballastone.com.
Beachside Colony Resort, Tybee Island |267 miles
Tybee Island’s only all-inclusive oceanfront resort, 20 miles from Savannah, tempts you with waterfront dining (ocean or poolside) and direct beach access. Three pools (one heated in winter) await. Choose a beachfront condo for cuddling and decide whether you want a private balcony, a kitchen, a hot tub or all three.
You’ll find plenty to do without leaving the island. Choices include live theater, movies, a reading or recital at the historic Tybee Post Theater, tours of the Fort Screven Historic District, Tybee’s famous lighthouse and more. At the island’s dozens of beach bars, grills and restaurants, pizza is gourmet and fine dining is casual.
404 Butler Ave., Tybee Island. One-bedroom lodging begins at $268. Details: 912.786.4535 or www.beachsidecolony.com.
The King and Prince, St. Simons Island | 313 miles
Travel + Leisure magazine calls St. Simons “America’s Most Romantic Town” for its balance of seclusion and accessibility, beach landscape, live oaks, lighthouse, cafes and Southern charm.
It’s where you’ll find The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, which opened as a seaside dance club in 1935 and became a hotel in 1941. A castle-style makeover in 2013 added ocean-view rooms and villas and the only true oceanfront dining on the island.
This is not a beach town full of buildings crowding the coast, instead providing picnic areas and a network of sidewalks for easy sightseeing and cycling. Tee times at the King and Prince mean you’ll tour some of the island’s best scenery. Sailing charters are available, as are couples’ massages (book early) at the resort’s Royal Treatment Cottage. A concierge can personalize your getaway.
201 Arnold Road, St. Simons Island. $280 per night and up for ocean-view rooms. Seasonal discounts, activity packages available. Details: 912.638.3631 or www.kingandprince.com.
Jekyll Island Club Resort, Jekyll Island | 323 miles
Southern Living magazine named the Jekyll Island Club Hotel “the best hotel in Georgia” for 2017. Long ago a high-end hunting club for the world’s wealthy elite (one periodical called it “the most exclusive and inaccessible club in the world”), today it’s merely a magnificent all-service resort.
Romance-ready lodging includes 24 guest rooms in San Souci, built in 1896, and Crane Cottage, built in 1917, replete with an elegant courtyard and sunken gardens. The top-of-the-line Presidential Suite in the historic Clubhouse includes access to the building’s iconic turret tower. Or be one of the first to stay at the boutique all-suite Jekyll Ocean Club, which offers spacious rooms, furnished porches and unobstructed Atlantic Ocean views.
Amenities include AAA Four-Diamond fare at the award-winning Grand Dining Room, casual meals at The Pool House and drinks at the Lobby Bar, as well as an exclusive beach pavilion, croquet on the lush lawn, and acres of forest, marshes and beach.
Saddle up to see the island via 25 miles of paved bike paths or the beach and maritime forest. Canoes also are available. The resort can hook you up.
371 Riverview Drive, Jekyll Island. $195-$350 per night. Details: 855.535.9547 or www.jekyllclub.com.