With Valentine’s Day just around the corner here are some of my favorite Heartland spots to combine snowsports and romance.
Petoskey has often been called “the Nantucket of the Midwest.” With Old World charm and country inns overlooking Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, it’s almost like a little slice of New England.
Stafford’s Bay View Inn offers midweek packages that start from $275, based on two people, two nights and includes a Country Inn breakfast each morning and two lift tickets for one day of skiing or riding at Boyne Highlands or Nubs Nob; your choice.
The Stafford was built in 1886 enchanting visitors for well over a century. Superb dining and the charm and hospitality, combined with unparalleled service, make for a memorable stay.
Another great Lower Michigan location is The Homestead next to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which viewers of ABC's "Good Morning America" voted the "Most Beautiful Place in America" in 2011.
The Homestead has packages for those looking to get away and do a little downhill and cross country skiing around Valentine’s Day, or if you prefer to just stay in and snuggle, they have packages for that as well. Downhill skiing and riding is only available Friday through Sunday.
The resort’s romance package, which starts from $156 per person, per night, gives you two nights lodging, dinner for two at Nonna’s, a Duet Massage at Spa Amira with a glass of wine and Grocer’s Daughter chocolates, and a $90 voucher for Lillyjade Salon.
There are cross country and snowshoeing trails that lead into the national park from the resort and houseguests receive a discount on lift tickets, which are $38 for a full day on Saturday and $29 a half-day. Sunday the cost is $32 and $25.
Wisconsin’s Granite Peak and Wausau make a nice combo for a romantic getaway. Most Midwest ski areas don’t have the ambiance of having a “ski town” draped around their base. Reminiscent of western resort towns the ski area illuminates the mountain rising above the town, a sight commonplace in the Rocky Mountains, but unique for the Midwest.
The Jefferson St. Inn, located on the town square, has a Romantic Getaway package that includes a two-night stay in a two room suite with in-room whirlpool and fireplace, lift tickets for two for two days and a couple's massage. The package starts from $615.
Granite Peak, with two high-speed lifts, offers over 70 trails and a 700-foot vertical drop. Wausau offers an excellent variety of restaurants and a vibrant, active downtown with lots of cultural events, international entertainment and museums.
Staying at Lutsen Resort, one of the “grand” old resorts along Lake Superior’s shoreline in Minnesota’s Arrowhead, is always a treat, but even more so around Valentine’s Day.
Celebrating its 125th anniversary last year, Lutsen Resort dates to the late 1800s and has been a popular destination for well over a century. It sits just below Lutsen Mountains. Minnesota Monthly Magazine readers voted it “most romantic resort in the state.”
They offer Romance Packages, which include a two-night stay in one of the resort’s Poplar River rooms with a gas fireplace, whirlpool and private deck. It also includes champagne in your room, breakfast each morning and dinner one evening in their lakeside lodge dining room, one of the area’s top restaurants. Lutsen Resort offers guests a free shuttle to the ski hill just minutes away, and there are numerous cross country trails nearby.
Lutsen Mountains, with close to 100 trails spread out over 1,000 acres that soar off four peaks, and a 900-foot vertical drop is huge for the Heartland. All four mountains offer jaw-dropping views of Lake Superior. Runs are a mile-and-a-half top to bottom, and it’s all vertical; no long run-outs. Its true mountain skiing.
Top Photo: Couple at Homestead (Homestead Resort); Left photoL Homestead Resort, Mich. (Homestead Resort)