Posted June 6, 2007 2:44 p.m. EDT
Romance blooms in North Carolina! There is no reason to stay in a love rut when you live here. Leave a note on your sweetie’s pillow to get ready to rekindle those early sparks. Here are four destinations that could help light your fire.
A little bit of Britain
Between Chapel Hill and Pittsboro is a magical destination. The Fearrington Village is a beautiful spot for love, composed of a wonderful inn and restaurant, shops, homes, and even a working farm. The international staff (British accents abound) will meet you at your car and take your bags. You don’t have to lift a finger. Stroll through winding blue slate paths, filled with the aroma of boxwood, the melody of tinkling water - all amidst a visual palette of flowers, as if your presence was arranged by a master painter. You will believe you are in the English countryside.
Choose from an array of rooms, each decorated differently. Wooden floors greet you, fireplaces, romantic music, fresh cut flowers, heated towel racks and feather beds. Instant relaxation. Could it get better than this? Oh, yes. Only paces away from your room is a relaxed but sophisticated dining experience that attracts people from the world over. Enjoy the cuisine of renowned executive chef Graham R. Fox, brought to you in exquisite presentation, with totally remarkable, European service. 919.545-5704 www.fearrington.com
Dinner and a Broadway show
Nestled on tree-lined Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh begins your second rendezvous option. Arrange for dinner at The Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern, followed by a show at the BTI Center for the Performing Arts. The Second Empire is one of the most elegant settings in the Triangle. Savor a delicious, sumptuous and artistically prepared dinner by Chef Daniel Shurr, then take the shuttle to the BTI Center for a Broadway show. Each year, the Broadway Series South brings to town an exciting lineup of shows, ranging from Miss Saigon to Riverdance. Second Empire Restaurant: 829-3663 www.second-empire.com. www.broadwayseriessouth.com
Sometimes distance whets the appetite for romance. Hop on I-40 West and get away to Hendersonville. Waiting for you is the quiet, intimate and luxurious Elizabeth Leigh Inn. Four spacious but cozy rooms with large, divine beds are guaranteed to soothe away the distractions of the bustling world back home. Enjoy the mountains, tour Asheville, or enjoy a world-class picnic at nearby Lake Lure (film scene of Dirty Dancing) and Chimney Rock (where Daniel Day Lewis starred in Last of the Mohicans). Innkeeper Cindy Baer awakens you with a breakfast that will make you never want to leave. Mmmm, egg soufflé, homemade cinnamon buns and sinfully delicious French toast created with home made apple bread. 828.698.9707, www.elizabethleighinn.com
For dinner, slip over to meet Sylvie and Kanaan Kassab at their delightful Sinbad Restaurant in downtown Hendersonville. Enjoy their Mediterranean cuisine and practice your French (Sylvie is from France, Kanann from Lebanon). Dine by candlelight, on handmade brass tables. The lamb is to die for, and the desserts are homemade (ask for the chocolate soufflé). 828-696-2039 www.sinbadrestaurant.com
Mr. Jefferson, please!
Your final rendezvous is a short four hours away, near Charlottesville, Virginia. The Clifton Inn is a 14-room mecca for relaxing and romance — a historic retreat on 100 wooded acres, built in 1799 by Thomas Mann Randolph, an early governor of Virginia and son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson. The beds may well be the best you have ever slept on, and the luxurious bathrooms have multi-head, full-body showers. The restaurant is famous for their sensational foods prepared by chef Christian Kelly. The grounds are a wonderful interplay of flowers, ancient trees, beauty and relaxation. Enjoy the Jacuzzi, play tennis, or swim in a pool with cascading waterfalls. Managing director Jean-Francois LeGault describes the Clifton as “an emotion of world flavors, a place where you can come and escape with your favorite person.” Ask for the chef’s table! This culinary cabaret has been named one of the top twelve inns in America. 434.971.1800 www.cliftoninn.com