By Chris McBeath
Whatever the time of year, romance in the peach state of Georgia is always ready for the taking.  It must be something to do with that southern charm. So if you’re looking to woo, and wow, your lover, check out these romantic getaways.

(Tel: 404/897-1991;
As one of Atlanta’s most prestigious hotels on the National Register of Historic Places, The Georgian Terrace Hotel is nothing short of palatial with its très romantique Renaissance design of soaring ceilings, Palladian windows, ceiling frescoes, spiral staircases and intricate crown molding. If it’s a night on the town you’re after, enjoy a tête-à-tête in the tony Savoy Bar & Grill and head across the way to see Madame Butterfly at The Fox Theater.  Or simply savor your surrounds and the hotel’s illustrious history. Here’s where the gala reception took place for the world-premier of Gone with the Wind; where Arthur Murray taught dance classes in the early 1920’s, and where Charles Lindbergh, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Rudolph Valentino and many other luminaries have stayed.

Romance Package: Overnight accommodation in a one-bedroom suite, a bottle of chilled champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, one complimentary in-room movie and a full American Breakfast for two.

(Tel: 800/318-5248;
In the hey-day of Georgia’s gold rush, the mountains of North Georgia promised great fortunes. Today, they hold riches of a different nature and nowhere are they better experienced than at Smithgall Woods, just outside of Helen.  Designated a Heritage Preserve, this secluded lodge is located amidst 5,500 acres of old growth forest that feels like a private mountain estate. Guests stay in five elegantly rustic cottages overlooking Dukes Creek, one of the top 100 trout streams in the United States. There are several naturalist programs to enjoy as well as numerous hiking and biking options.  If nothing else, be sure to include the easy hike to Duke Creek Falls. Throughout February, Smithgall’s Wine Weekends in the Woods series are set to rekindle romance with a delicious array of multi-course culinary pleasures, each paired with wines presented by some of Georgia’s leading wine experts. Perfect Pairings Packages: Two night’s accommodation, all meals including a bountiful champagne brunch, tastings and on-site activities..

(Tel: 678/425-0900;
With awards that include The Best Romantic Hotel in Atlanta, The Best Place to Propose Marriage in Atlanta and the Top 10 spas in the World for Couples in Love, The Chateau knows a thing or two about romance! This 3,500 leisure resort has so much to offer that you’ll likely want to make your stay longer than just a romantic encounter.  There are the 63 holes of championship golf and a tennis center. There’s the full production winery (tours and tastings are held daily). And then there’s the full service European style spa mansion where pampering extends to indulgent overnight stays in individually themed spa suites. If either of you needs an adrenalin rush to rev up the motor, Panoz Driving School offers guests the thrill of “Hot Laps” with a professional race car driver, or solo driving high performance cars at racetrack speeds taught by professional race car drivers.

Romantic packages: Three are offered - The Chateau Experience is for wooing, the His/Her Getaway includes golf for him and a spa visit for her, and The Escape is simply an overnight stay leaving you wanting more. Price: $272-$605

(Tel: 888/733-5774;
Accessible only by boat, Little St. Simons island is the ultimate escape. There are no phones, no televisions, no radios ….. leaving just the two of you under a star filled sky by night, and an island wilderness to explore by day.  The lodge and its five cottages date back to 1917 and are so beautifully appointed that snuggling becomes serious business, especially if it’s in Helen House or Michael Cottage. Both these have a private in-room wood-burning fireplace. Outdoor activities are equally romantic and include boating and canoeing, hiking, biking, fishing and horseback riding as well as simply strolling the seven miles of unspoiled, shell-strewn beach. The wildlife viewing, too, reads like a shopping list with alligators, European fallow deer, dolphins, river otters, armadillos, and over 280 species of birds. The island is on the Atlantic Flyway and considered one of the best birding locations on the eastern seaboard.

Romantic by Nature Package: three nights accommodation, a romantic dinner for two (in addition to all other meals), a $25 gift-store certificate and more.

(Tel: 888/241-6408;
Conde Nast Traveler wrote that Cumberland Island, Georgia’s southernmost barrier island, is “Tara by the sea”, and we agree. Though much of the island is National Seashore, more than 200 acres are privately owned – a legacy of the Carnegie Family, and which is shared as the Greyfield Inn.  Built in 1900, this wonderful, rambling home has operated as an inn since 1962 and is strewn with family heirlooms and antiques that give each room a distinctive character. Two resident naturalists provide eco-tours and information on the surrounding landscapes that range from deserted beaches and sweeping dunes, to sun-dappled maritime forests, shimmering freshwater lakes, golden marshes, and some grand historic ruins. Then there are the hundreds of wild horses that roam the island with an enviable natural freedom that is Cumberland’s hallmark.

Romance on the shore package: private ferry transportation from Fernandina Beach (Florida), overnight accommodation, all meals including a gourmet dinner, naturalist led tours, and more.

(Tel: 912-234-6400;
Aaah, Savannahhhh.  Does the romance get any better than this sultry Southern Belle? There are many favorite places to stay in Georgia’s First City and one of ours is the River Street Inn, as much for its history as for its deluxe comfort. The centerpiece of Savannah’s refurbished waterfront district, the Inn is part of Factor’s Row, a line of buildings with a unique system of bridges and alleys that was once used for the storage, grading and export of raw cotton. Today, the complex houses this intriguing hotel, specialty shops and restaurants. The Inn is an excellent base from which to explore Savannah’s other historic streets and even further afield to Tybee Island. Just be sure to include a cozy evening at the historic Old Pink House. Upstairs, this stately 18th century mansion guarantees a romantic dinner while downstairs you’ll find a real treasure: jazz vocalist Gail Thurmond singing the blues and virtually any request you may have.

Just the Two of Us package: overnight accommodation, dinner for two, a private horse-carriage tour, breakfast for two, complimentary wine & hors d’oeuvres, gift basket and more

top photo: Bill Vanderford

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