Frugal Traveler

Frugal Traveler: Great getaways for couples

McClatchy Tribune News ServiceFebruary 16, 2013 

If you and your boo are due for some time away together, you have a number of vacation experiences to choose from. Active itineraries, vineyard exploration and remote stargazing venues are just a few of the options. From Sonoma to South Carolina, here are some of my favorites.

Sports: If moving and grooving suit your travel style, perhaps it’s time to consider a golf getaway. Hilton Head Island has a number of options, including the numerous courses at the Sea Pines Resort. Packages there start at $170, and include unlimited play with complimentary repeat rounds, private villa accommodations with fully equipped kitchens, free bag of warm-up balls for the range and restaurant discounts. An on-island, scenic waterfront dining splurge is available at the Old Oyster Factory. Entree prices are on the higher end of moderate, but a number of their seafood appetizers are available for less than $15 each. Course-view meals are available at the Harbour Town Grill, which offers an affordable lunch menu and gourmet entrees starting at less than $25.

Back to nature: Prefer something more rustic? The Boulder Mountain Lodge in Utah is less than 20 minutes from the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, providing a comfy place to rest after a day of hiking or canyoneering. Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park are also nearby, making the venue a perfect escape for nature enthusiasts. Packing picnics provides maximum access to the landscape, and there’s an on-location restaurant supplied by the lodge’s own organic farm. High-season individual room rates are less than $200, while a two-bedroom unit at the same time of year is only $210.

Solitude: Sometimes the pressure of chaotic work schedules can make alone time a top priority for couples. When that happens, searching out venues that make seclusion a priority is the name of the travel game. Dunham Farms, an intimate Bed and Breakfast establishment near Savannah along the Georgia coast, provides access to several thousand acres of forest, hiking trails, kayaking marshes and open fields. Accommodations start at $165 per night, including a gourmet breakfast for two, afternoon munchies and a low level of evening light pollution that even professional sky observers will find enticing. Nearby daytrips include the free Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center, the Midway historic district’s $6 museum and 1792 church, and $25 pistol range reservations at the Dorchester Shooting Preserve. Weekend visitors interested in a waterfront dinner with live music will want to check Sunday dinner options at the Sunbury Crab Company, where waterfront band enjoyment can be had along with buckets of steamed oysters and frosty brews.

One state away, The Red Horse Inn in Landrum, S.C., offers secluded private cottages for $210 per night with kitchens, scenic views and private, back-porch hot tubs. The location comes with drivable access to a number of no-cost day hikes, antiquing trails and a selection of wineries. For example, Overmountain Vineyards waives the tasting fee for guests of the hotel and offers outdoor fireside sampling pours with seating in large Adirondack chairs and complimentary cuddles from the family’s affectionate canine.

Sipping: Winning winery experiences are available throughout North America, including popular Sonoma County, Calif. For instance, at the Applewood Inn and Osmosis Day Spa, a year-round wine package is offered to couples on Sundays through Thursdays where $449 per night scores you a room, two-course breakfast with mimosas, a bottle of local wine upon arrival, $50 dinner voucher to the on-site restaurant, portable gourmet picnic lunch, a multi-winery visitation pass and a cedar enzyme bath for two at the spa along with two full-sized spa products to enjoy back home. A pretty affordable proposal itinerary, in my opinion. Similarly, until April 30 at the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia, $159 grants you a suite stay, specialty tastings at five vineyards, a bottle of regional wine waiting for you after check-in and a complimentary tapas-and-wine pairing at the venue’s wine bar.

Myscha TheriaultMcClatchy-Tribune News Service

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