Story by Bekah Sandy
Roses are red, and violets are blue(ish), but if you’re looking to woo your love this Valentine’s Day, you’re better off giving the gift of romantic memories.
Fortunately, if you live in North Georgia, options abound, whether your someone special is a foodie, the outdoors type or an introvert whose only desire is to be pampered.
Here’s a look at the most romantic things to do and
places to stay in North Georgia:
1) Find true love at Fort Mountain State Park outside of Chatsworth. During the Great Depression, a young stone mason named Arnold Bailey joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was assigned the duty of constructing a nearly 40-foot-tall fire tower atop the mountain.
However, he kept getting distracted from his task by thinking about his sweetheart back home, Margaret Reece. He fixed the problem by incorporating his love for her into his work, and he carved and installed a heart-shaped rock in the tower. His gesture did the trick, as the couple was married for nearly 60 years. Now, the stone is a mecca of sorts for lovers.
2) Sail off into the sunset on Lake Lanier by booking a sunset cruise. While numerous companies offer this service for varying prices, they all promise the same thing — a spectacular view of the sun dipping behind the water. Pack a picnic or a bottle of wine (or both!), and enjoy the colors and sounds of North Georgia’s loveliest lake.
3) Experience adventure from up high with a hot air balloon ride with Balloons Over Georgia of Cumming. Hold your sweetheart’s hand as you soar above the Georgia landscape, with such sights as Lake Lanier, Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, the Atlanta skyline and more dotting the horizon.
4) Cozy up while listening to the sultry whispers and wails of live jazz at The Velvet Room in Alpharetta. National and local artists alike grace this stage, and couples should consider ordering the Sweet Decadence for two, a dessert pairing of handmade chocolates filled with Cabernet and raspberry fruit d’mer and served alongside Chateau Monbazillac dessert wine.
5) Take a stroll through the dazzling foliage that comprises the Japanese garden portion of Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground. The 40- acre property boasts everything from islands, bridges, pagodas and seven spring-fed ponds. One the of largest Japanese garden in America, this portion of the park is known for its Japanese maples, its cherry trees, its bonsai and its collection of Japanese lanterns. It’s also known for its wildlife, with birds, butterflies and fish contributing to the serene setting.
6) Spa day. No Valentine’s Day is complete without a bit of pampering, and that just so happens to be the name of the game at Lucille’s Mountaintop Inn and Spa in Sautee Nacoochee. The arts and crafts-themed lodge stands on mountain top, overlooking the Blue Ridge peaks. While the spa has plenty of luxurious services for individuals, perhaps the best way to go for this romantic holiday is the Love in Paradise Couples Package, which includes a 55-minute facial, an anti-stress facial and a pedicure treatment for both parties. Bonus: chocolate-covered strawberries are served at the conclusion of the two hours of bliss.
7) Consider another romantic activity from days of old — the train. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers a uniquely Southern experience for couples looking to escape the bustle of everyday life. The trip begins at the 110-year-old depot in Blue Ridge, and passengers find themselves cozied up in vintage train cars. For the next hour, the train chugs through the Chattahoochee National Forest, showcasing the lush scenery not found anywhere else in the world. At the end of the line, guests can disembark at McCaysville, where they can browse antique stores, eat at a local restaurant or otherwise enjoy the quaint community. The train returns to Blue Ridge in plenty of time to get home for supper.
8) Wineries. Perhaps no North Georgia experience is more romantic, however, than sitting back, enjoying the view of the mountains and toasting your love with a glass of local wine. To get the best selection, head to Dahlonega, which kicks off the area’s wine trail. Six different vineyards sit in a 39-mile radius, with options including the Tuscan-themed Montaluce, the hyper-local Frogtown, the cheerful Cavender Creek, the relaxing Three Sisters, the award-winning Wolf Mountain and Kaya Vineyard, the last of which offers breathtaking views.
9) Barnsley Resort in Adairsville is a place where newlyweds can celebrate love on their honeymoon.
“It’s a magical, romantic place,” said Shelby Kolb, marketing director.
The property, snuggled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has just about everything a couple seeking solace could desire: fine dining, lush landscaping, historic ruins, stunning views, a full-service spa and privacy.
It’s just one of the numerous getaway spots available to North Georgia residents wanting to stay close to home. Other nearby popular romantic getaway destinations for North Georgia residents include:
10) Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge. This property is unique in that the park hosts the beginning leg of the famed Appalachian Trail. The high end lodge allows couples to relax in comfort when they desire while also allowing them to enjoy such outdoor activities as trout fishing, ziplining, wall-climbing, archery, hiking, and bird watching.
11) Chateau Elan Winery and Resort. Not only is this venue the most awarded winery on the East Coast, but it also happens to have fine dining, decadent spas, outdoor fire pits, golf, hot tubs and access to the mountains. “We like to say that it’s where European luxury meets Southern hospitality,” said marketing manager Emily Traux. “You feel like you’re a world away. You’d never know you were anywhere near Atlanta.”
12) Cabin in the mountains. Whether it be the Alpine village of Helen or the apple orchard haven of Elijay, north Georgia residents only need do a quick Google search to uncover the hundreds of romantic cabins nestled in the area’s mountains.
13) A treehouse in the heart of the city. Fans of Swiss Family Robinson will fall head over heels for The Memorial Park Treehouse in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. This three-room treehouse is nestled among the trees of a private forest, with wood bridging connecting the rooms, which offer a view of the stream below.
14) The Martyn House. This Elijay gem allows couples to seek the solace of nature without actually roughing it. As part of the “glamping” trend of combining glamor and camping, the adult-only resort offers high-scale tents that have their own private baths. While there, couples can have a masseuse come to their tent or have a private chef cook a candlelit dinner.
15) The Reynolds Plantation. This resort doesn’t require that you sleep inside. Instead, the property, which is affiliated with the Ritz-Carlton, is more traditional luxury and perfect for rekindling romance.