Instead of giving your sweetie a box of chocolates or silk boxers this Valentine's Day, consider planning a romantic weekend escape. Since the holiday falls on the Sunday at the start of President's Day week, there isn't a reason not to take advantage of the long weekend. Indulge and plan a getaway to one of these five spots that are just a few hours drive from Long Island. Although all are ideal year-round destinations, they offer unique Valentine's Day experiences. From renewing your vows in bustling Atlantic City to getting schooled in the art of massage at a Berkshires spa, there is something for every couple's style.
Book a room where you can cuddle up by a fireplace in the country or spend the night in the heart of Baltimore's lively downtown. There are many ways you can celebrate this special time with your valentine.
The vibe Slow-paced, picturesque getaway
Stay Enjoy a peaceful weekend at the Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club situated on 380 acres in a stunning historic Lenox mansion. The resort boasts an indoor pool, saunas and a first-rate spa. For the entire month of February, Cranwell has a Romance & Relaxation Package, where guests get dining credits, massages and a 30-minute couples instructional massage (from $260, 800-272-6935, cranwell.com).
To do Spend a leisurely afternoon strolling through Lenox, in a region that inspired many Norman Rockwell paintings. It's near the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, which will host a "Wine & Roses" choral concert at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 ($10, 413-298- 4100, nrm.org). You also can fill your evening having a glass of vino in town at the Alta Wine Bar (413-637-0003, altawinebar.com). If you love a night surrounded by chocolate, head to the decadent Chocolate Springs Café and choose from its extensive menu of treats (413-637-9820, chocolatesprings.com.
BRANDYWINE VALLEY, DELAWARE/PENNSYLVANIA
The vibe Stunning countryside - and a bit of American history
Stay The homey Hamanassett Inn's Enchanted Evening Package (from $305) includes a bottle of bubbly, a bed strewn with silk rose petals and heart-shaped pancakes at brunch. The inn, built in 1856, also is home to a cooking school. (877-836-8212, hamanassett.com).
The historic and classic Hotel DuPont, in Wilmington, Del., is only a 10-minute drive to the countryside. Opera lovers will appreciate the hotel's Opera Ball Package, which includes tickets to a gala in the grand Gold Ballroom on Feb. 13 (from $399, 800-441-9019, hoteldupont.com).
To do The Brandywine Valley is home to the romantic 1,050-acre Longwood Gardens, where strolling violinists will roam the gardens noon-3 p.m. Feb. 13 and 14. Longwood will host a Valentine's Day dinner with live music and dancing, 7-11 p.m. Feb. 13 ($275 per couple, 610-388-1000, longwoodgardens.org).
Make a reservation for a Wine and Chocolate Reserve Tasting at the Chaddsford Winery in Chadds Ford, Pa., where educators will guide you through a tasting of wines paired with gourmet chocolates from Éclat Chocolate in West Chester, Pa ($25, 610-388- 6221, chaddsford.com).
The vibe Urban culture
Stay Enjoy a weekend touring this vibrant city that has everything from world-class restaurants to fun bars. The charming Admiral Fell Inn is in Fells Point, the center of downtown Baltimore nightlife. Its "Godiva Getaway" package includes breakfast for two, a box of chocolates, a CD of love songs and a guide to romantic spots. The Inn has another package that includes a Feb.13 Valentine's dinner cruise, where you can feast on a three-course dinner aboard a yacht on Baltimore's famed Inner Harbor (from $199, 410-539-2000, harbormagic.com).
To do Want to explore the city? The Baltimore Museum of Art's "A Night of Romance" on Valentine's Day includes a guided tour of the museum's most romantic works of art, a couple's yoga class and card-making workshop ($35-$60 for two, 443-573-1700, artbma.org). Those in search of exceptional eats and a stellar view should make reservations at The Charleston Restaurant for a $99 prix-fixe menu and ask for a window table facing the harbor (410-332-7272, charlestonrestaurant.com).
The vibe Fast-paced and high rolling
Stay Many hotels are offering romance-themed packages. The Trump Marina's February Lovefest Package offers in-room Champagne and strawberries, room service breakfast, two gift bathrobes and late checkout (from $279, 800-777-8477, trumpmarina .com). Tropicana's Valentine's Day Package includes two tickets to "Crocodile Rocks," a tribute to the hits of the '60s, '70s and '80s (from $249, 800-843-8767, tropicana.net).
To do Married folks can rekindle romance and renew their vows free at the Atlantic City Group Valentine Wedding, Vow Renewal and Civil Union Ceremony, 4p.m. Valentine's Day at Boardwalk Hall; toast, wedding cake and photos after nondenominational ceremony. Preregister at atlanticcitynj.com.
Or, find love at a speed-dating event run by Steve and Joann Ward, the hosts of VH1's "Tough Love," 4-6p.m. Feb. 13 at Dusk Nightclub at Caesars. Sign up to be one of the hundred women or hundred men at this event and you might meet your potential valentine ($50, heartac.com).
MT. TREMPER, N.Y.
The vibe Funky, spiritual, romantic weekend
Stay Just minutes from the charming town of Woodstock, Mt. Tremper is home to Kate's Lazy Meadow Motel, owned and decorated by Kate Pierson of the B-52s. You can create your own "Love Shack" in the retro-designed meadow suites - some with gas stoves. With themed rooms like "Daddy's Tiki Hideaway" decorated like a '60s rec room (with a Jacuzzi tub added), kitsch rules at Lazy Meadow, including in restored vintage Airstream trailers (rooms available May-October). Rates from $155 (845-688-7200, lazymeadow.com).
For those in search for an upscale spa experience, spend the weekend at Mt. Tremper's Emerson Resort and Spa (877-688-2828, emersonplace.com), which offers a two-night Intimate Indulgence Package ($1,064). Or just stop by for a visit to the world's largest kaleidoscope, housed in a silo at Emerson's country store. For a $5 fee, folks are invited to lie on the floor while they enjoy the stunning show on the ceiling.
To do The weekend wouldn't be complete without a trip to Woodstock, checking out the unique shops on Tinker Street. The River Rock Spa offers, among other specials, a Couples Zen package (from $169, 845-679-7800, riverrock.biz). Start your night at Woodstock's famous reservations-required restaurant, Bear Cafe (845-679-5555, bearcafe.com). Since Julie Powell, author of "Julie and Julia" will be reading on Feb. 14 at the neighboring Bearsville Theater, the Bear Cafe will feature Julia Child recipes on its Valentine's Day menu.
If the area's snow-topped mountains inspire you to hit the slopes, participate in a morning Valentine's Day Race on skis or snowboards just a few miles away at Belleayre Mountain ($25 includes lift ticket for the first 200 people, plus race; 845-254-6400, belleayre.com).