Champagne, chocolates and cozying up by a roaring fire, these are traditional touchstones for a romantic Valentine’s Day break. Singles and friends should feel equally free to treat themselves to a mid-winter staycation, indulging in some of these niceties — especially after a bitter January battling with ridiculous cold and the COVID surge.
On that last note, whilst outlooks for February tend toward optimism, always check ahead for pandemic safety regulations and any COVID-19 requirements, restrictions, or closures.
Breakwater Inn and Spa, Kennebunk, Maine
With its annual Paint the Town Red celebration, the Kennebunks in southern coastal Maine traditionally honors Valentine’s Day town wide and for the whole month of February (lovetheKennebunks.com). Regardless, a short stretch from Kennebunkport’s quaint and artsy Dock Square, the Breakwater Inn and Spa on Ocean Drive is all a sparkle, winter long, with fairy lights twinkling.
Overlooking the crisp white snow covered bank and the Kennebunk River estuary, the restaurant, Stripers, has heated igloos with blankets and cozy seating, ready to enjoy a hot toddy or, say, Remember the Maine, a cheering blend of rye and sweet vermouth with notes of cherry, vanilla and anise, named for the historic sinking of the USS Maine in Havana in 1898.
Chef Victoria Currie Girard’s wonderfully eclectic menu of spicy meats and inventive seafood — Girard’s sweet potato crab cake is a whole other thing — also includes crispy, curry spiced pakora — battered, fried onion — with a sweet tamarind sauce; patatas bravas, vegetarian or with chorizo; and roasted eggplant with a touch of harissa, served in a garlicky tomato sauce with lemon basil couscous.
For Valentine’s weekend, Breakwater’s Seaside Romance Package includes a $75 dining credit in Stripers, a $75 credit to the Breakwater Spa, an in-room bottle of Prosecco, and parting gift of a signature sugar scrub and soy candle. (Rates from $139 per night, include continental breakfast. 127 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, Maine; thebreakwaterinn.com)
Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston
For a city water view, the classy Boston Harbor Hotel is perfectly located on Rowes Wharf, right on Boston’s Harbor Walk. This winter, overnight stays in gorgeous rooms and suites with big marbled bathrooms are discounted with any ticket purchase to the in-house Boston Wine and Food Festival. The annual, rebranded festival includes a Valentine’s Day “Cocktails and Bubbles” Jazz Brunch Feb. 13, held in the second-floor Atlantic Room overlooking the harbor.
While a jazz band plays, Champagne, Bloody Marys, and Whiskey Smashes — a Gilded Age era citrusy cocktail — pique the senses, while chef David Daniels’ dine-around brunch includes passed appetizers and food stations with seafood, made-to-order omelets, waffles and a selection of hard-to-resist pastries. So don’t even try. (Valentine’s Jazz Brunch tickets, $125 per person; room rates start at $285 per night. 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston; bostonharborhotel.com)
Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, N.H.
With snow all around, the grand Omni Mount Washington Resort in northern New Hampshire’s White Mountains looks its most romantic during the winter.
Sleep in an original room dating to the early 20th century, or choose one in the new boutique Presidential Wing, named for the mighty Presidential Range surrounding the hotel. Tuck into hearty menus of steakhouse and seafood classics, along with “Ancient Grains” risotto, and quinoa with tofu and roasted local mushrooms. Dine in either the sophisticated Main Dining Room; or halfway up Mount Rosebrook in the new Rosebrook lodge; or in Stickney’s pub, where a roaring fire crackles, perfect after a day's winter sports at the hotel’s nearby Bretton Woods.
The Mount Washington Hotel’s February romance package adds complimentary Domaine Chandon sparkling rosé (the excellent Californian sister vineyard to Champagne maker Moet et Chandon), chocolates, and a late check-out — best spent indulging in a languorous spa treatment in the hotel’s pretty spa — a couple’s massage is nice, but some alone time doesn’t hurt! (Room rates from $459 per night. 310 Mount Washington Hotel Road, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire; omnihotels.com)
Apple Tree Inn, Lenox
In the Berkshires, one discovers that greatest of loves — love of nature! Explore from the comfort of the newly opened Apple Tree Inn in Lenox, which, for Valentine's Day weekend, has a special Saturday night dinner cabaret in the swanky, candlelit Ostrich Room, where musical director Johnny Irion and his band will perform.
Along with a beautiful seasonally inspired dinner, try in-house mixologist Antonio Bonilla’s specialty, the Spicy Margarita, inspired by Bonilla’s Mexican roots. Irion created a special song that incorporates the sounds of the margarita shaker into the beat. The pair work together during the song with Bonilla becoming part of the band!
Stay over in the Astalula room, which has a wood-burning fireplace and a chaise lounge in which to curl up and read; or the Orchard Room, which also has a fireplace and adds a spacious balcony for those wow, nature rules Berkshire views. (Rooms from $179 per night. 10 Richmond Mountain Road, Lenox; appletreeinnlenox.com.)
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Sweet Valentine's Day getaways just a few hours from Worcester