Seeking Southern RomanceBy: Jacqueline Thompson Graves
Jekyll Island Club Hotel
The Sam Shortline Train
The Cumming Playhouse
February turns even grumpy anniversary-forgetters into romantics. After all, how can you ignore Valentine's Day when every store is saturated in red and pink hearts? If your idea of a romantic getaway is adding ice cream to your Mickey D's order, we have solutions for you.
Jekyll Island: Retreating from city life to Jekyll Island began at the beginning of the last century. Although there are other options on the island, the most glamorous place to stay is the Jekyll Island Club Hotel. Take advantage of one of their Valentine's Day packages for special treatment and pricing. The island offers more activities than you can fit into one weekend. Croquet is a tradition at Jekyll Island Club, with one of the most beautiful greenswards I've ever seen.
A new addition at the Club is geocaching. With twelve caches on the island, searchers should be able to find (and leave) some treasure. (Not familiar with geocaching? See our feature article highlighting the adventure at www.upincumming.com/article.php?id=647.)
In-room massage is available for couples at the Jekyll Island Club. Choose the short, long or really long version. You must give a 72 hour advance notice to reserve your spot, so plan ahead if you are staying only one night.
Got your own plane? The Club has a landing strip for you! Set 'er down right on the grounds, then hop off and head to the Grand Dining Room for lunch or make straight for the putting green.
High Tea is served every day from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. By "high tea" I don't mean Lipton's and Oreos. You are at the Jekyll Island Club where everything is done right, where Rockefeller himself is scowling down from somewhere. Finger sandwiches, scones with crème fraiche and jam, pastries and petit fours plus teas with names like Organic Darjeeling Muscateel and Japanese Cherry Sencha Green grace the tea table. Reservations are not required, but suggested to ensure your spot.
Don't miss the Art Gallery housed at the Goodyear Cottage.
Gambling Cruise: You could spend your entire weekend at the Club, or you can spend a night there, then head off to the Emerald Princess Casino Cruise boat for an evening of gambling fun. "It takes about 45 minutes to get out to international waters," states Jennifer Ferra, marketing director for the cruise. "We offer a food buffet, over 200 slots ranging from one penny to a quarter, craps, poker, blackjack, roulette, everything!" Valentine's Day cruisers enjoy a special "Share the Love" cruise with two boarding passes, two drink vouchers and a $10 game play match-play for $10 (requires a special coupon available at the Up in Cumming website). Tony Adams sings love ballads all night for your listening or dancing pleasure. The boat docks near the Jekyll Island bridge.
Take the Train: You would think train riding obsolete by now. Transportation has evolved way past chugging down a train track. Yet the more we advance, the more romantic trains become. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources put together a wonderful sounding trip for your Valentine's Day celebration. Since the holiday falls on a Monday this year, the train ride is set for Saturday the 12th.
Enjoy a leisurely drive down to Cordele, Georgia, about three hours south of Cumming (or more if you take the scenic route and go antiquing). The train departs Georgia Veterans Park in Cordele at 4 pm and takes you to the little town Jimmy Carter made famous. Dinner is served at the Plains Community Center before guests reboard and return to Cordele where they dance the night away to a live band at the Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club. Stay overnight in a room with a view. Meander back home on Sunday or zip up I-75.
Equestrian Picnic: Lake Lanier Islands offers a romantic, private trail ride with a picnic (including wine) perfect for a daytime excursion, a marriage proposal or as part of a weekend stay at the resort. (See our online content for more Lake Lanier Island romantic getaway specials.)
Late Date: Is one of you traveling on the 14th requiring a celebration at a later date? Consider the Wine Dinner over at Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville on the 26th (7 pm). Featured vintages come from the Hess Family Vineyard.
Local Pick: Check out the Cumming Playhouse, with all of its vintage charm, for a romantic and cultural evening out with your special someone. The Gypsy Theatre Company is presenting Dearly Beloved on Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 pm, through February 26th. Book a reservation with Tam's Backstage for an amazing dinner before the show to top off the night. Looking to getaway on a Sunday afternoon? Buy your tickets for the 3 pm matinee showing through February 27th. For ticket information visit www.PlayhouseCumming.com or call the box office at 770-781-9178. For dinner reservations call Tam's at 678-455-8310 and check out their menu at www.TamsBackstage.com.
Click here for our Online Exclusive with details about the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Barnsley Gardens' fairy godmother and specials at Lake Lanier Islands.
To reserve your place at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel visit their website at http://www.jekyllclub.com or give them a jingle at (800) 535-9547.
For general information about the Emerald Princess Cruise Casino, visit their website at http://www.emeraldprincesscasino.com or call (800) 842-0115.
For info about the Saturday train ride go to http://samshortline.com/event/114220 or call (877) GA-Rails (877-427-2457) for information or to register for the events. The deluxe train trip package that includes railway trip, dinner, dancing, overnight accommodations with breakfast is $280 per couple for coach class or $309 for premium railway class (plus tax). Book early. Other packages without dancing or hotel are available.
Check out details about the Lake Lanier Islands equestrian picnic package at http://www.lakelanierislands.com/equestrian/romancepackages.php or call (800) 840-LAKE for reservations or information.
Reserve your spot at the Wine Dinner by calling (877) 773-2447 or visit the Barnsley Gardens' website at www.barnsleyresort.com.
Be sure to say you read about your romantic event in Up in Cumming magazine!
© 2011 Jacqueline Thompson Graves
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