Love On The Chesapeake
Trips to the Bay are a classic getaway, a place to relax and escape without going too far. We can't tell you about romance: That's your challenge. But we can show you some Chesapeake places that just might help with matters of the heart.
You and your mate feel like two ships passing in the night? Escape to the islands—the islands of the Chesapeake. Both are jewels of the Bay that offer all the beauty, seclusion and romanticism of an ocean getaway — without the jet lag.
Unblemished by the typical trappings of tourism, Maryland's Smith Island is a welcome refuge from the Beltway bustle and a perfect lovers’ hideaway. The clock slows down on the island, so take your time to rediscover each other. Savor the hospitality of B&Bs such as the Ewell Tide Inn or the Inn of Silent Music. Stroll the docks among the workboats, or rent bikes and explore the island.
Getting There: Passenger ferries depart year-round from Crisfield, Md. During the summer, ferry service also leaves from Point Lookout, Md., and Reedville, Va.
The sunsets are stunning on Virginia's Tangier Island. Leisurely sunset cruises and eye-opening eco-tours offer views that will rekindle your romance. There are a couple of great bed and breakfasts, and some locals still speak with an Old English accent. Try the oysters (and other fresh Bay delicacies) at local eateries such as Fisherman’s Quarter, Waterfront Restaurant and Channel Marker Restaurant.
Getting There: Passenger ferries leave from Onancock, Va., Reedville, Va., and Crisfield, Md. You also can catch the mail boat.
Solomons Island, a narrow peninsula between the Patuxent River and Back Creek Bay, is a world away from Washington and an ideal spot for reconnecting with your private world. Take a romantic stroll on the Riverwalk. Enjoy the seafood at waterfront restaurants such as The Captain’s Table. Head a few miles south and wander around the remnants of the historic St. Mary's City settlement and enjoy the spectacular water views.
Getting There: Solomons Island is located on Route 2 in Calvert County, Md., 20 miles south of Prince Frederick. Get detailed directions to Solomons Island.
Belle Isle State Park
Belle Isle State Park's romantic Bel Air Mansion is one reason Virginia is for lovers. A Colonial reproduction furnished with period pieces and oriental rugs, the mansion offers working fireplaces, a whirlpool and the ideal setting for a getaway to remember. And the romance doesn’t stop at the mansion. The park itself is a window to the beautiful lower Rappahannock River, where couples can enjoy gorgeous sunsets after a day of boating, hiking or just doing nothing at all. The mansion is a popular wedding spot, so make your reservations early. Also, the Bel Air grounds are shown by appointment only.
Getting there: Belle Isle is in Lancaster County, on Virginia's Northern Neck. From Warsaw (in Richmond County), take Route 3 East to Route 354. Turn right and follow for three miles. Turn right onto Route 683 near Litwalton to the park entrance. From Kilmarnock (in Lancaster County), take Route 3 West to Lively, then turn left on Route 201 for three miles. Turn right on Route 354 for three miles and then turn left onto Route 683 to the park entrance.
Step back in time at Colonial Williamsburg, the world's largest living history museum. Learn how diverse peoples with varying ideals evolved into our American society at this fully restored and historically preserved 18th century town. Colonial Williamsburg offers visitors six hotels, each with a different look and feel to help you customize your trip.
Getting there: Colonial Williamsburg is midway between Richmond and Norfolk on I-64 (exit 238). After exiting, look for the green and white signs for the Visitor Center. Once you purchase your admissions pass, you can either take the shuttle bus or walk to the Historic Area.
James River Plantations
Explore four centuries of American history on a tour of plantation sites along the James River. All 16 plantations, located along the James River and its tributaries, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sit back and relax in cozy, elegant sitting rooms and sleep in antique beds. Along the way, three regional fine dining establishments beckon you to stop in and enjoy a meal in a country inn or historic tavern.
Getting there: James River Plantations are located along the north side of the James River on Route 5 and the south side of the river on Route 10, from just south of Richmond to Williamsburg.
New Point Comfort
Few locations in the world offer better scenic waterfront settings than the quaint hamlets and maritime villages of Mathews County, Va., which extends southward from the Piankatank River to the tip of New Point Comfort. It is an area of unparalleled natural beauty, with over 200 miles of pristine shoreline along Chesapeake and Mobjack bays and the East, North and Piankatank rivers.
Getting there: New Point Comfort is located in Mathews County, Va., on the lower Chesapeake Bay and Mobjack Bay, an hour or so from Richmond, Williamsburg and Hampton Roads.
Richmond's Historic Canal and Riverfront
Located in Virginia's Capital City, the revitalized Richmond Riverfront stretches along a 1.25-mile corridor from the historic Tredegar Iron Works site, just west of 5th Street, to 17th Street on the east. Take a cruise along the James River and Kanawha Canal, then explore the shops, restaurants and other attractions in the River District.
Getting there: Take I-95 North or South or I-64 East or West to Richmond. Venture Richmond offers specific directions to the River District.