What makes a destination "Romantic"?

Paris, France (Photo by flickr user macropoulos)

I've always believed that everything French equaled Romance. I believed it so much that I learned French, thought I would marry a Frenchman and live in France. Of course, I've since outgrown that notion (the Frenchman part), but it made me think about what really makes a destination "Romantic". Is it the location, the people, the food, the language, some magical dust that is sprinkled in the air? I mean, what really makes a place "the" place to go for lovers and those who want to find love?

I consulted the MSN Encarta and their definition of romance is "A spirit or feeling of adventure, excitement, the potential for heroic achievement, and the exotic." It can also mean, "fascination or enthusiasm with something, especially of an uncritical or inexplicable kind", and might I also add to that, the idea of seclusion. Now, we all know that France, Italy and Rome easily conform to these definitions, but what about the other countries and cities of the world? In my travels, there are three that stand out in my mind as good places for kindling and keeping the flame alive.

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Maui, Hawaii
A Hammock just for two (Photo by flickr user muha)

Maui is my favorite of the Hawaiian islands because it's got charm, it's laid back, and yet full of things to do. From the time you arrive at the airport you feel as though you're getting ready to be pampered. The meet and greet with the lei made me feel enchanting, like some kind of princess with a string of fresh cut scented flowers around my neck. The fresh pacific ocean breeze fills your lungs and you realize this is what life is supposed to be!
Maui Beach Sunset (Photo by flickr user janruss)

Whether it's a sunset walk along the beach, a stolen kiss 800 ft above in a tandem para-sail or exploring the beauty of the ocean together on a snorkel trip...Maui is the place to be for romance! The unique Polynesian culture lends an element of exoticism - from the language, to the food, to the dances - that makes you want to immerse yourself and kindle the flame.

Laurentian Mountains, Quebec (Canada)

Laurentian Sunset (Photo by flickr user justin lucarelli)

What I find intriguing and romantic about the Laurentian region is the feeling of seclusion, the adventure, the unspoilt beauty and of course there's that French influence everywhere. At this time of year there's plenty of white, snow capped mountains, fresh crisp air, and frosty, starry nights creating a dreamy ambiance and plenty of excuses to snuggle up next to your loved one by the fireplace.
Spa Massage (Photo by flickr user aggiecarrie)

The Laurentian Mountains are well known in Quebec for their abundance of health spas. One of the key things that kill romance is bad health or a lifestyle that's too hectic. If that sounds like you, I would highly recommend a weekend spa getaway in the Laurentian Mountains and add to that some playful frolic in the snow...sounds like a recipe for romance to me!

Branson, Missouri (USA)
Table Rock Lake at Sunset (Photo by flickr user Graham Dodd)

Yes you read right. I know Branson is a place filled with endless country music shows, and family entertainment but there is a quaintness to this place that I feel lends to romance.

Nestled amongst the picturesque Ozark Mountains, Branson affords lovers the opportunity to feel adventurous, excited, and secluded. Branson Landing for one, is a lovely courtyard type waterfront promenade lined with stores like Victoria's Secret (ooh la la!), and Bath and Body Works, overlooking Lake Taneycomo. As you walk along, clever street lamps play relaxing music.
Branson Landing (Photo by flickr user illuminatingconcepts)

Then there's the fire and water show where fire leaps and water spouts to the rhythm of the music. And not to be missed is a horse drawn carriage ride just for two that takes you out to the lake...my friend and I did that one and it was nice! I must also mention the gourmet dinner cruises on Table Rock Lake and the many nature trails waiting to be explored.

In terms of hotels, there are two Hilton hotels (one right on the Branson Landing), the four diamond rated Chateau On The Lake hotel and spa, and if you prefer more seclusion, there are gorgeous fully loaded cottages tucked away in the hills.

Now that I've shared my hot spots for romance, I'm eager to know what makes a destination romantic for you and which cities around the world top your list!


Jencrafted said...

What a great writeup! Loved Paris, keep wanting to go back to Maui and Lake of the Ozarks was our main getaway when we we living in Missouri! There's also this romantic, tiny private island off the West Coast in Malaysia - Pangkor Laut Island that's been touted as the most beautiful paradise on earth by Luciano Pavarotti. We spent several days on the island quite a while ago but it has created a truly long and lasting impression.
And I guess we can also recreate Romance wherever we are....my favorite romantic destination is just spending time and being near my love, wherever we may be.
Thanks for sharing!

FoodTravelDiva said...

Thanks Jen! Wow Pangor Luat Island sounds like a must see...I have to add that to my bucket list. I agree with you that romance can be created almost anywhere once you're with your loved one. Even soldiers in the midst of war were able to find love and create some type of romance!
Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Great article! I'd like to add one more destination from pop culture: A food and beverage professional at Disney World once told me that a particular table at the California Grill atop Disney's Contemporary Resort is a very popular spot for proposals. Why? Because it has a bird's eye view of the Cinderella Castle. So the guys get help from the staff to know exactly when to propose before the fireworks explode over the Castle!

FoodTravelDiva said...

celebrationsint: Oh my that sounds so magical and romantic!

Markiesha said...

Very insightful blog! I haven't visited any of those places but I intend to some day. Of the places that I have visited however, my favorite romantic getaways were Cape Cod and Rhode Island. They were the definition of romance and the locals facilitated the reputation by offering to capture those special moments for you.

FoodTravelDiva said...

Markiesha: Thank you! I've never been to Cape Cod but judging from your photos it does look like a romantic getaway! Thanks for sharing.

SavoryTv said...

If you love mountains, Telluride Colorado! Skiing, sleigh rides, nearby hot springs. An amazing place to have a romantic dinner is at the top of the gondola, where you can view a sunset over 14,000 foot peaks. (Alreds Restaurant).

Great post, cheers!

FoodTravelDiva said...

SavoryTv: That does sound like an amazing place! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your fave place!

pugsrus said...

Fantastic article and love the great comments about Branson! We visit often and have family who live and work there; but Lake of the Ozarks is north of Branson and is quite aways from there, however Table Rock Lake & Lake Taneycomo are located there.

FoodTravelDiva said...

pugsrus: Thanks for stopping by and your comments about Branson. It is one place I have visited that truly surprised me with all that there was to see and do. Your correction is duly noted...I always call it Lake of the Ozarks when it's Table Rock Lake! Thanks for seeing that. Cheers!

Harms Freebies and Reviews said...

Great post lady Paris is my dream trip at least one day. And those waters are always calling me. LOL

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FoodTravelDiva said...

Thanks, Angela!

inspdiv said...

I'll have to go with Bruges - a charming Medieval town with cobblestone streets; little bridges and canals; romantic, candlelit restaurants; and chocolate shops on every other street. Bruges is just lovely.

FoodTravelDiva said...

inspdiv: Thanks for stopping by! Bruges, Belgium sounds very romantic. I love discovering places I didn't know of before.

Keeps the comments coming!

Linda Thompkins said...

Romance is a state of mind, and can be found anywhere in the world - however there are some places which allude the word.

As you well know moonlit nights under the stars across the Caribbean region is hard to beat! My idea of romance is anywhere warm LOL

Paris is one of the most romantic cities I've been to - especially at night. Italy is a close second as Italians openly show their feelings for each other, and their love of food is a sensual experience.

While in Italy I heard about Ticino - a small southern Italian town across the water on the Mediterranean. It's a tropical Italian paradise with palm trees, beautiful waterfronts and lakes, green mountains, lots of medieval castles and little quaint towns - and of course wonderful Italian cuisine.

Desiree Lowe said...

I like the way you think Linda! Ticino (Italy on the whole) is somewhere I definitely want to visit.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy "Love Day" in advance ;).