Romance and music go together like cheese and grits, so in choosing my self-imposed limit of only three romantic cities to recommend for Valentine’s getaways, I started thinking of love songs that remind me of certain cities. I’m a romantic at heart, love all kinds of music, and love to travel, so narrowing it down was challenging. After hours with my music playlist, photo albums and memories, here are my final picks.
Country music is chock full of songs professing love, such as “Forever And Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis and Nashville, TN, also known as Music City, is perfect for a romantic weekend rendezvous for country music buffs as well as history lovers. Music lovers will want to see the Ryman Auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music” and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. Music Row is where the real daily business of country music is conducted, but on Friday and Saturday nights you can catch live performances of the world’s longest running live radio show at the Grand Ole Opry House in Music Valley. This area is also home to the sprawling Opryland complex which includes the immense Gaylord Opryland Resort, complete with an indoor river and lake, and the nearby mega-mall of discount outlets called Opry Mills. The city also has a variety of taverns, nightclubs and live music honky-tonks for your music enjoyment. For history aficionados, the Tennessee State Capitol and the Tennessee State Museum are worth the visit. Nashville is also home to the world’s only full-sized replica of the Greek temple, the Parthenon, complete with a 42 ft gold-leafed statue of Athena, in Centennial Park. Belle Meade Plantation, a large 1853 Greek Revival mansion, and the Hermitage, home of seventh US President Andrew Jackson are historic estates open to the public. A different Hermitage should be your address of choice for your weekend though. The Hermitage Hotel welcomes guests with down duvets, posh marble bathrooms, and cutting-edge technology. Romantics can enjoy afternoon tea or a cocktail in the stunning grand lobby and dine at the hotel’s locally lauded Capitol Grille.
The sexy and sultry sounds of legendary jazz musician and composer Johnny Mercer can put almost anyone in the mood, so I naturally thought of his hometown, Savannah, GA. Savannah’s cobblestoned streets, many gardens and squares, and low country charm are just full of romantic spots from the famous fountain at Forsyth Park to the lighthouse at Tybee Island. Don’t miss the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist with its gothic spires and magnificent stained glass windows or the scenic waterfront Bonaventure Cemetery. There are dozens of historic homes, and museums to visit, but lovers should also take time to enjoy a horse-drawn carriage tour, explore the many art galleries and antique shops, dine at one of the many restaurants in City Market, or just stroll along River Walk. For the most romantic ambiance, be sure to stay in the Historic District. A plethora of inns and bed-and-breakfasts operate in converted historic mansions and emphasize the elegance and romance of bygone eras. The charm of Savannah is sure to make a romantic’s heart thump.
San Francisco, California
The third type of music that makes me go all weak in the knees is that of the “Crooners”, and one of the iconic songs of the genre is Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” The City by the Bay is one of the most scenic cities in the world – from the Golden Gate Bridge to the steep hills lined with pastel Victorian houses. The San Francisco cable cars started running in 1873 and are an inexpensive form of transportation and entertainment. Fisherman’s Wharf and pier 39 are quite commercial and not a local hangout, but grab a cup of clam chowder and a hunk of sourdough from a food stand nearby on the way to the ferry to Alcatraz. The city is home to diverse neighborhoods that are community centers for different groups. Chinatown is the largest Chinese quarter outside Asia, the Castro District is a lively celebration of gay and lesbian life, Haight-Ashbury, the cradle of the 60’s hippie movement still has a counter-culture edge, and South of Market/SoMa is a mecca for foodies. Climb the 210 ft Coit Tower on the top of Telegraph Hill for excellent views of the city, particularly romantic at night. San Francisco hotels range from charming boutiques to exquisite landmarks, some with superb views, others with sophisticated design, but many can set the scene for romance.
So this Valentine’s Day, explore a romantic city with your sweetie, and hum along with the tunes of love. For help planning your rendezvous, contact our vacation specialist.