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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Romantic Getaways

The tall ship Alliance sets sail in the sunset.

by Audrey Thomasson

Whether you’re looking for the perfect way to impress someone special on a first date or you want to add some sparkle to 30-plus years of wedded bliss, these romantic getaway ideas will make connecting or rekindling the home fires an absolute breeze.

Do some research and plan a few surprises to make your adventure truly personal. A well-orchestrated romantic trip will become a lasting memory.

Sunset Cruises

Departs from Riverwalk Landing Pier, Yorktown
Reserve your cruise: 757-639-1233
Sept. 1-20 departs at 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 21-Oct. 7 departs at 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 8-Nov. 3 departs at 4:30 p.m.
Price: $35 for a two-hour cruise

Date night and you can’t think of a creative or romantic thing to do? Try Sunset Cruises, where a sunset sail on the tall ships Alliance or Serenity could add up to a recipe for love. You’ll be rewarded with sensational scenery as the breezes take you and your date up the York River. There’s a bit of history on the sail toward the Chesapeake Bay.

Either way, you’ll experience waterways explored by Captain John Smith where he traded with the Powhatan Indians. View 18th century homes and the revolutionary battlefield at Yorktown. Look for dolphins and osprey as the ship glides through the water.

Join the crew in casting off and hoisting the sails. Take a turn at steering the vessel or relax with someone special and enjoy the commentary on places of interest along the riverfront.
Cannon fire will mark the official sunset.

Romance under a fading sun has inspired many onboard marriage proposals. The ship will also mark by cannon blast the lady’s acceptance or celebration of other romantic occasions like anniversaries. Purchase a flute of champagne onboard to celebrate. The ship also offers wine, beer and food for purchase.

Before your cruise, stroll hand-in-hand along Yorktown’s picturesque streets — the backdrop for art galleries and antique and specialty shops. Come early because shops close before your ship returns to port. 

After the cruise, explore Riverwalk and dine in a restaurant that specializes in seafood. There are many. A local favorite is the Yorktown Pub. Catch a concert on the Green (in season during the free concert series) or take a moonlight walk on the beach.

A bedroom at The Inn at Montross is set for guests.

Bed & Breakfast:

The Inn at Montross
21 Polk Street Montross, VA 22520

You’ve done the all-inclusives. But the buffets and resort entertainment are not your idea of romance-builders. Try the intimate atmosphere of The Inn at Montross.

The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula are rich in bed and breakfast opportunities—including the award winning Irvington charmers, Tides Inn and the little schoolhouse turned Hope and Glory Inn. I haven’t tried them all (locally), but I have been around the world a few times and I would include The Inn at Montross on my A-list of small B & Bs.

The charm of this wonderful 220-year-old home lured Chef Cindy Brigman Syndergaard back home from Atlanta. She and husband Ken are the hosts of the five bedroom/five bath inn.

Chef Cindy’s creative talents abound in several intimate dining rooms that seat up to 60 combined. Waiting to be seated is not in Cindy’s vernacular.

“I never want my customers to wait,” says the spry chef who springs into action to seat anyone who walks through her door.

Indulging in flavors, aromas and presentation add up to a romantic dining experience.

Romance is not limited to the young, says Cindy, who brags about one table of three young-at-heart couples whose unions totaled 141 years.

The inn’s inviting parlor has a fireside bar with a top-notch bartender and pianist who entertains on Friday nights. Upstairs, overnight guests can relax in a homey lounge.

The inn is situated in Montross’ historic district, just off the center square. Cyclists will love that it is central to some very good bike routes while history lovers will appreciate the proximity to Civil War general Robert E. Lee’s birthplace, Stratford Hall, and presidents’ George Washington’s birthplace at nearby Pope’s Creek and James Monroe’s at Colonial Beach.

The inn is a good starting point for a tour of the nearby vineyards of Hague, Vault Field, General’s Ridge, Belle Mount and Ingleside.

The James Ross River Plantation has an indoor pool.

James Ross River Plantation

4029 Old Virginia Street
Urbanna, Virginia
Contact: Linda St. George, plantation manager

If you’re looking for the ultimate in impressive romantic getaways, you’ll find it just two miles outside the quaint town of Urbanna.

A drive down the nearly one-mile lane through a 600-acre plantation is like a drive back in time. Or arrive by yacht—up to 40-foot—or sailboat (with retractable keel) and dock in the boathouse.

The plantation’s secluded historic home on Robinson Creek off the Rappahannock River has expansive waterfront views and modern conveniences. With some 4,000 square feet of living space filled with antique furnishings and four- to five-acres of grounds to stretch your legs, this home can accommodate a wedding party of 14 overnight or an intimate retreat for two.

There’s an indoor pool for year-round swimming. Dine by candlelight with your honey or seat 20 of your favorite friends in the formal dining room.

Stroll Urbanna and dine at the trendy restaurants or pick up treats for the kids at one of the many shops.

If your lady, or man, prefers the quiet retreat of the plantation, step out the back door and fish, crab, swim or canoe in Robinson Creek. Or take the plantation’s jon boat out for a picturesque row.

The plantation is an ideal place for a wedding. And after the guests depart, many couples stay for their honeymoons.

The plantation home will be highlighted on Urbanna Business Association’s Christmas home tour in December for a second time.

Try these simple (and inexpensive) ideas for a romantic adventure:

♥ Get silly with foosball.

♥ Cuddle up in front of a camp fire.

♥ Walk to dinner.

♥ Play childhood games (best not to always win).

♥ Match wines with cheese for a “wine and cheese night.”

♥ Go for a ride on a Ferris wheel or merry-go-round.

♥ Rent kayaks or a canoe at a state park.

♥ Cook together and experiment with meats and flavors.

♥ Plan a mini road trip to an out-of-the-way or offbeat destination.

♥ Grab your fully-loaded Kindles and blanket and have a picnic in the park.

♥ Spread a blanket on the ground and star gaze.

♥ Dust off the bikes and go for a ride.

posted 08.29.2013

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