Written by: Anne Scott
Approximately 44 million people will travel across the U.S. this 2013 holiday season. Many will head for the big cities, estimates AAA. This year, take your loved one for a romantic getaway in one of these small towns. Enjoy the intimate atmosphere and beauty of these little treasures.
Smarter Travel recommends Carmel as a top small town getaway. Located 122 miles south of San Francisco, this town has a resident population of 3,700. Carmel is a beach town surrounded by the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the well-manicured greens of popular golf courses. Beginning as an artist colony, Carmel continues to offer small galleries and artists’ shops full of unique crafts. After a day of driving around the celebrity homes or golfing, take in a play or concert. Once boasting Clint Eastwood as the mayor, you may well see celebrities sitting along side you.
Photo by jimg944 via Flickr
A sunset walk on the beach is a favorite. Then a stroll into town to one of the small bistros tucked away down an artists’ ally. Carmel is also full of quaint inns for that romantic touch. Surprise your true love with a gift waiting for them in your room. Choose an assortment of chocolate covered strawberries or flowers and ask the innkeeper to arrange them on a sideboard in your room when they arrive. Special touches make this trip full of romantic memories.
New Hope, Penn.
Just 42 miles from Philadelphia, New Hope is full of colonial history from the 1700s. Situated on the Delaware River, it hosts many registered historic buildings currently occupied by condos and craft shops. This town of 2,500 people is small enough to walk completely around. Main Street and Bridge Street are lined with antique shops, art galleries and small craft stores.
Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons
The old railroad has been renovated and the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad now carries tourists on champagne dinner cruises through the scenic countryside. Shorter romantic tours are available for you and your loved one with drinks and appetizers. The town offers many bed and breakfasts in restored, older colonial homes. Stay in a beautiful Pennsylvania home full of warm and inviting handcrafted woodwork.
Hana is located on the opposite end of Maui from the other larger cities. It is a 52 mile drive from the airport in Kahului through lush tropical foliage, waterfalls and flowering rainforests. The views out over the Pacific along this drive to Hana are breathtaking. With a population of 1,200, Hana is tucked into the coast and retains some of the old Hawaiian traditions such as fishing and lei making.
Photo of the Oheo Gulch pools by drazz via Flickr
Sit in the Oheo Gulch pools that constantly flow with water from the mountains. Drive to the top of the volcanic crater in Haleakala and watch a sunrise. Walk along the black sand beaches on the southwest side of Hana drive. Hana is a romantic setting in a world away from the commercial tourist areas of Maui.
Port Townsend, Washington
This town of 9,100 people is located 56 miles from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. The Victorian roots of this fishing community are obvious from the architecture in some of the homes and shops. Many of the old stone and brick buildings downtown that supported the fishing industry are now inns, restaurants and art galleries.
Photo by Robert Sanzalone via Flickr
Music, especially jazz, is popular here with many musical festivals held each year. Take a holiday home tour with people dressed in their Victorian finest. Many of the inns offer romantic getaway packages. On warmer days, take a kayak tour into the Puget Sound where you might be lucky enough to spot orcas or gray whales.