Ahh ... the holidays are over and it's time to wrap up in a fuzzy blanket and go into hibernation mode until spring. Or, is it? At West Michigan Woman, we believe in the power of a romantic getaway to shoo away the winter grays. Whether it's to celebrate Valentine's Day or just because, we have the goods on where to go and what to do with your main squeeze. And, it's all right here in glorious Michigan!
Though often viewed as more of a summer destination, Traverse City seduces visitors all year round. Sip wine and take in dreamy views of Grand Traverse Bay at Black Star Farms or Chateau Chantal. Or, snuggle up and go dashing through the snow on a sleigh ride at Fantail Farm or Ranch Rudolph.
For a bit of pampering, fine dining and a cozy place to lay your heads, consider Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Visit their onsite Spa Grand Traverse for a couples massage and then unwind for dinner at the 16th-floor Aerie Restaurant & Lounge while enjoying panoramic city views. Crystal Mountain is also a popular spot for romance, with its indoor and outdoor fireplaces, skiing, and award-winning spa. Both resorts have a selection of packages and specials for couples.
Lovebirds flock to the Saugatuck/Douglas area for its coastal charm and quaint vibe. Whether it's shopping at the many boutiques or taking in arts and culture at the local galleries—or seeing a performance at Saugatuck Center for the Arts—there are countless options for "we" time.
Dine at favorites such as the elegant Belvedere Inn, which is also a top pick for overnight stays, or the more rustic Bowdie's Chophouse. Further afield in Fennville is Salt of the Earth, which regularly features live music in addition to farm-to-table fare. For inviting accommodations, book a luxury room at the Wickwood Inn, or the cottage Sherwood Forest Bed & Breakfast. In the warmer months, take an Antique Joyride with a personal chauffeur who will transport you through downtown Saugatuck, Douglas and beyond.
There's much to love about Ludington for a couples retreat. Take your honey by the mitten for a lantern-lit snowshoe hike—or get those hands dirty with a private workshop with Mary Case Pottery. Create your own signature candle scent at House & Harbor located in The Port Ludington, and linger in this unique collective space for casual dining, live music and browsing artisan shops.
Enjoy dinner and 10 pins at the newly remodeled STIX Ludington, or once spring has sprung, have a meal by the waterfront at Crown and Cork. And, at the end of the day, rekindle your love at one of Cartier Mansion B&B's four Carriage House Suites.
Looking to truly get away? Allegan's Castle in the Country Bed & Breakfast is an adults-only escape that's a destination in itself. Set on 65 secluded acres, this two-estate inn and resort offers 10 guest rooms and suites, many with jetted tubs and fireplaces. Wander the stately grounds, walk or bike on wooded trails, canoodle at the gazebo, or sit in serenity in the winter igloo or summer screened garden dome. Seasonal use of snowshoes, kayaks, and paddleboats is also available to guests. There's an onsite spa as well, plus from-scratch breakfast served daily and a number of special packages that can be added to lodging experiences.
Bay Harbor is yet another gem, nestled between Charlevoix and Petoskey along the Lake Michigan Shoreline. In addition to breathtaking views that provide an idyllic backdrop for your love story to unfold, the greater area is overflowing with appeal. Wet your whistles at area wineries and breweries, take in a performance at Great Lakes Center for the Arts, or pick up something special at the many local shops. For lodging, the Inn at Bay Harbor, part of the Autograph Collection, welcomes couples to stay in luxurious comfort.
And, don't forget Downtown Grand Rapids. Even if you live in the city, you can still get to know it more intimately with a long weekend away from home. Get a room at the classic Amway Grand Plaza or the swanky City Flats. Nosh on inspired eats at San Chez Bistro or Max's South Seas Hideaway, then have a couple of pours at House of Wine or GRNoir, which also has live jazz. A stroll along the quiet, streetlamp-lined streets is also a must.
Allison Kay Bannister has been a West Michigan resident since 1987 and a professional writer since 2002. A GVSU alumna, she launched her own freelance writing business in 2017. Allison is a cookie connoisseur, word nerd, aspiring gardener, and metastatic breast cancer thriver who loves traveling in Michigan and beyond, and enjoys art, world cuisine, wine, music, and making homemade preserves.
This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar '23 issue of West Michigan Woman.
Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids.