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Carolina in My Mind: 8 Romantic Getaways in North Carolina from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Beaches of Bald Head

By , October 22nd, 2018

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James Taylor captivated us all with an idyllic image of North Carolina in “Carolina In My Mind.” Those bright blue Carolina skies along with the soul-warming heat of moonshine aren’t just the work of poetic genius, but a reality. Wild horses galloping along deserted beaches, sweet tea on old-timey sleeper porches, and modern art galleries of the New South. Each adds to the romance of the Old North State.

No matter what your interests are, there are plenty of romantic getaways in North Carolina that not only speak to who you are as a couple, but will give you lifelong memories.


Romantic Getaways in North Carolina

A Weekend of Indulgences at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte


Begin your weekend at the this trivago Awards-winning Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte with a couples’ massage in the penthouse level Ritz-Carlton Spa. Elevate the romance with the Bed & Breakfast package. Couples enjoy complimentary valet parking for that James Bond touch with breakfast for two at either BLT Steak or in your hotel suite with in-room dining.

Reconnect over craft cocktails and the sparkling lights of Charlotte’s skyline from the 15th floor Punch Room. Or, if you’re more of an oenophile, book the Wine Blending Experience for two in the Hidden Wine boutique wine shop. The shop’s sommelier teaches couples how to blend varietals to create a take-home souvenir bottle that’s truly unique to their palates.

Foodie couples can enjoy a hands-on dessert making class at Bar Cocoa. Share a few laughs while learning to make confectionary treats like French Macarons, bourbon bread pudding, and Crema Catalana. A highlight to any weekend at the Ritz-Carlton is dinner at BLT Steak for French-inspired prime cuts of meat.

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Metropolitan Vibes at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham


Kickstart your weekend at the 21c Museum Hotel Durham with inventive cocktails from Counting House. Order the sweet and spicy Darling Nikki with Old Forester Bourbon, Byrrh, strawberry, black pepper, coriander, and lemon and start perusing the 10,000-square-foot onsite contemporary art museum, set to the backdrop of an Art Deco building designed by the same minds behind the Empire State Building. The art-forward vibe extends to the guestrooms where guests are greeted with oversized windows, custom furnishings, and original artwork. Ratchet up the romance with the Love Birds package, which includes a $50 credit towards Counting House, a rose petal turndown, and a glass of sparkling wine upon arrival.


Full Steam Brewery,

While it’s tempting to spend the entire weekend immersed in the hotel with stimulating artwork wherever you look and a restaurant churning out farm-to-fork regional dishes that add a level of comfort to the hotel’s modern feel, be sure to get out and explore the rest of downtown Durham. Both the Durham Performing Arts Center and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University are located nearby. Also, for a hipster twist to the weekend, pop into one of the many area breweries like Fullsteam Brewery and Ponysaurus Brewing.

Cap the weekend off with the Happy Couple spa treatment—body scrubs, Swedish massages, a pair of 21c signature robes, and rose petals in the treatment room.

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The Mountain Life at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock

Moses Cone Memorial Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Bicyclists passing under the Blue Ridge Parkway —

A stay at Chetola Resort offers a glimpse into the idyllic mountain life for couples looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city. During the day, get lost among the resort’s 87 acres with a jaunt along the walking trails or set off on a paddle boat on Lake Chetola.

Located inside the Chetola Resort is the exclusive, adults-only Bob Timberlake Inn. A stay at the Bob Timberlake Inn includes breakfast for two (in the room or in the restaurant), access to a 24-hour pantry, a nightly wine and cheese social, and turndown service. All furnishings are designed by North Carolina artist Bob Timberlake.

Price Lake,

Looking for a tad more adventure than the property’s leisurely trails? Venture off property to the many hiking trails in the area like Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Another fun, romantic mountain excursion is a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can find plenty of scenic overlooks to capture a mountaintop selfie.

Evenings can be spent at the resort sipping a glass of wine by the bonfire overlooking the lake before dining at Timberlake Restaurant. Choose from either the intimate wine room or a table under the stars on the patio. The dishes are inventive, yet they still pay homage to hearty mountain cuisine.

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Leave Your Worries (and Cars) Behind at Marsh Harbour Inn on Bald Head Island

Old Baldy Lighthouse and wooden bridge on Bald Head Island, North Carolina.

Old Baldy Lighthouse on Bald Head Island, North Carolina —

Step off the ferry onto car-free Bald Head Island and you’ll feel your body instantly relax. It’s like Mayberry, but on the coast. While most vacationers head to Bald Head Island for a week of family time in a vacation rental, Marsh Harbour Inn offers all the homey amenities of a bed and breakfast for a weekend of seaside romance. As an added bonus, an evening arrival to the island offers overwater sunsets from the ferry.

Request the Captains Quarters Penthouse on the third floor. The spacious suite comes with a separate living and master bedroom and a private balcony overlooking the harbor and ocean. It’s a tranquil spot to retreat and take in the stars after a day of exploring the island.

A trip to Bald Head Island is all about getting out there and shell-hunting across seven miles of beaches, kayaking the salt marsh or chartering a sailboat. When the day is done, head back to the Inn and pour yourselves a glass of wine to enjoy on the harbor deck while boats gently rock back and forth in the marina.

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The Posh Life at The Park on Main in The Highlands


The Highlands is where Miami goes for summer. The Park on Main is located within walking distance of all the high-end galleries, boutiques, furniture stores, and restaurants that make the village so popular with the rich and famous. One walk down Main Street, and you’ll understand why: The Highlands resembles something out of a Dickens’ novel more than a city in the thick of rural Appalachia.

The Park on Main lives in the shadows of Olde Edwards Inn, which takes up a large part of downtown Highlands. However, that doesn’t mean The Park on Main should be overlooked when planning your romantic getaway. A stay at this boutique hotel also forces you to experience more of what makes The Highlands so unique instead of burning all of your vacation budget on overpriced resort amenities. The Park on Main is pet-friendly and offers high-end touches like heated marble bathroom floors and a courtyard modeled after Central Park.

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A Beach Bum’s Paradise at Sanderling Resort in Duck


Waterfront shops in Duck —

Nothing screams romance like the allure of private beaches and secluded islands, which is why I’ve included two very unique Outer Banks options. Sanderling Resort boasts everything expected from a AAA Four-Diamond Resort like three pools (including a tranquility pool), an award-winning spa, and plenty of opportunities for beach bumming. In addition, the resort offers excursions to help guests make the most of their beach vacation, like sailing across Currituck Sound to Sanctuary Vineyards, moonlight kayak tours, and off-road excursions to watch the wild horses of Corolla.

Go big or go home with a Sea to Sound Suite. The exclusive suites stretch from end-to-end of the Beach House building and offer waters views of both the Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean from dual balconies. The expansive suites are complete with separate living and sleeping wings, fireplaces to cozy up to, and bathrooms so large you can park a car in them.

After a day of play, raise a glass to each other at Kimball’s Kitchen, a Wine Spectator award-winning restaurant. While the menu changes seasonally, diners can almost always expect homemade pasta options and plenty of fresh oysters.

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Classic Spoils at White Doe Inn in Manteo


The second of the two Outer Banks’ options is the White Doe Inn on Roanoke Island. In contrast to the high-end resort amenities of Sanderling Resort, the White Doe Inn provides the romance of a bed-and-breakfast in the charming coastal village of Manteo. Yes, there are plenty of secluded beaches to get lost on, but there are also opportunities to experience history like the Elizabeth Gardens, Fort Raleigh Historic Site, and the Island Farm. Or, just amble the quaint streets of Manteo that overlook the marina.

The owners of the White Doe Inn go out of their way to make sure guests have the chance to rekindle their love. Celebrate your special occasion—be it a honeymoon, anniversary, or proposal—with the Love for All Seasons package, which includes a Celebration Tray, a three-course dinner for two, a 60-minute in-room Swedish massage, and a photoshoot with a local photographer.

Supplement your stay with Inn-Indulgences like the Celebration Tray with flowers, seasonal fruit, chocolate-dipped strawberries, gourmet cheese and crackers, and a bottle of wine; in-room massages; or something as simple as a picnic lunch for two. Some of the finishing touches in the Queen Anne-style inn include a four-course breakfast, afternoon desserts, and private dining options. Ask for a room with a fireplace to complete your stay.

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The Country Estate Life (on a budget) at the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate in Asheville

A stay on the Biltmore Estate used to only be possible for those privileged enough to afford a weekend at the elaborate Inn of the same name. With the opening of the less-expensive, yet still refined Village on Biltmore Estate, couples can afford a romantic escape to the Biltmore without breaking the bank. While the hotel may not offer the same views as the Inn, there is a convenience factor of being steps away from the estate winery and the shops and restaurants of Antler Village.

Make the most of your stay with the Discover Biltmore Package. The package includes breakfast at the Village Social, a choice of two VIP tours (wow your partner with the Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting), daytime admission to the Biltmore House, and an audio guide. Couples can splurge on extras like behind the scenes tours of the house, the Vine to Wine Tour and Tasting Experience, or a private lunch horseback trail ride.

After, retreat back to the Village Hotel for a cocktail in Village Social before retiring to your farmhouse-inspired room. Experience the Biltmore like the Vanderbilts but on a Bud Light budget.

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