By Marie Schwemlein
Free from young children and the pressures of having to put in the late hours to impress a new boss, now is the perfect time for you and your sweetie to add a little zing to the relationship and take a romantic trip. Whether the two of you prefer to watch sweeping theatrical performances or fields of wild flowers ripping in the silent breeze, the United States encompasses it all.
New Orleans, Louisiana
While it is advisable to steer clear of this city around the time Mardi Gras is in full swing (early-to-mid March), this southern destination will offers a distinctly unique culture that you can see in the city’s assorted architecture styles, hear in the seductive jazz and Dixie music, smell in the wafting scent of Creole cooking spices, taste in the fresh seafood and feel as you reach up to touch the Spanish moss that dangles from the trees. Spend five minutes in the town dubbed “Nola” and you’ll know why we say it is unlike any other.
During the day, the French Quarter provides baby boomers with blocks of art galleries and fun boutiques to explore and, at night, couples can huddle close together for “protection” as they are guided on ghost tours that mix entertainment with education.
Trolleys provide an affordable view of Magazine Street as it passes under the statuesque oaks of the Garden District and lands you in the lovely and playful Audubon Park & Zoo. For those couples that want to dive head first into the region’s nature, why not share the experience of a boated tour through the lush, enigmatic swamps?
History lovers will find themselves in heaven with the area’s numerous museums and restored plantations that are all easily accessible with tour groups that will even pick you up from the hotel. Older adults won’t find B&B’s that are more charming than those in New Orleans with many of them retaining 19th Century interiors.
Napa Valley, California
If you think of romance as sipping delectable wines while watching dramatic sunsets over green hills, you are not alone. In this arena, no American destination comes close to the splendor and tastes of the Napa Valley and its hundreds of wineries. If you feel like ditching your car, couples can go for leisurely bike rides among the vineyards or hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Want a higher vantage point? For an unparalleled view of the fertile, dreamy scenery of vines and flowers, mature couples can float high above the land in a gentile hot air balloon. To experience local art set against nature’s dramatic backdrop, ride to the outdoor sculpture gardens of di Rosa to walk among kooky sculptures, peacocks and verdant rolling hills. To reach a supreme state of relaxation with your partner, the two of you can indulge in one of the area’s top spa and spoil yourselves with sensual couples massages.
If your idea of romance conjures up images of restful forests and quietly lapping ocean tides, then this is the vacation spot for you and your hubby. This New England, coastal city features a host of progressive galleries that operate free of archaic conventions, creating a vibrant and fluid cultural scene that can be cheerfully explored during the First Friday Arts Walk.
Furthermore, each August, classical musicians from across the globe flock to participate in The Portland Chamber Music Festival and entertain locals and travelers.
Lovers of the outdoors of all energy-levels will find activities that suit their desires, whether it is cycling through the pines of the Fore River Sanctuary, touring the glistening waters of Casco Bay on a traditional schooner, or strolling hand-in-hand through one of the nearby fishing villages.
Unbeknownst to many, Portland is a foodie’s dream; not only is there the legendarily delicious lobster and crab pulled fresh from the sea, but many of the area’s chefs are attracting national attention with their usage of fresh ingredients, playful recipes and avant-garde cuisine creations.
Kansas City, Missouri
Despite this Midwestern city’s rise in culture and economics, the prices have yet to climb, making this a fun, affordable travel destination for baby boomers.
Couples will enjoy touring the modern and art deco architecture as well as the 200+ fountains that populate the city. There is also an abundance of top-notch museums dedicated a wide variety of subjects like art across the ages, American jazz, African American history and steamboats.
The recently redone zoo is quite a treat with more than 1,000 animals, a tropical indoor rain forest and a suspension bridge that stretches more than 227 feet. Plus, with over 50 shops and restaurants and frequent live music, the new Power & Lights district is worth checking out. This underestimated city has pulled out all the brakes to become a 21st Century pioneer in industry and entertainment that will soon become the talk of the town. And let’s not forget about the region’s famous, lip-smacking barbeque!
With an easy-to-navigate public transportation system and some of the country’s best cultural and education venues within easy walking distance of one another, DC is the place for those couples who want to ditch their car for a weekend of mentally and emotionally engaging fun.
The National Mall offers stretches of soft green as well as the nation’s finest draws like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Constitution Gardens and the many Smithsonian museums, and they are all free!
For the ultimate romantic site, lovers can behold April’s stunning Cherry Blossom Festival and take a trip through the country’s longest-running botanical gardens. Having attracted citizens from all over the world, baby boomers will have at their fingertips a plethora of international dining and art to try.
The walkable Dupont Circle is a particularly engaging neighborhood with its fountains, farmers markets, historic homes and buzzing nightlife.
Just think about it; with the numerous last-minute deals buzzing about various travel sites, you can affordably fly to a romantic spot as early as next week. Take a brief hiatus from your everyday routines to snuggle close to the one you love as you experience and embrace the many American splendors that lay at your feet.