If you and that special someone need a vacation -- preferably one that’s relaxing, laid-back, and peaceful -- a mountain retreat in the Northeast might be a winning choice. The six regions we list below offer a mix of outdoor activity, beautiful scenery, and friendly villages to explore. Plus, they all make for a great at-your-own-pace getaway, meaning you can do as little or as much as you’d like, without the crush of crowds. So, don’t wait for Valentine’s Day -- rekindle the spark any time of year in the clean mountain air.
A haven for skiers in the winter and hikers during every other season, the Green Mountains region includes historic homes, farms, villages, and state parks. The Waterbury Reservoir and Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest point, are noteworthy, as is the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters. A tour of the famed factory, a break for cider and donuts at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and a stop at one of the many farmers’ markets selling maple syrup year-round should satisfy sweet tooths. The Silk Road Covered Bridge -- one of the many historic bridges throughout the state -- is a lovely spot to take pictures. The Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester showcases rotating exhibits alongside its permanent collection of more than 700 paintings in a stunning Georgian mansion.
Where to Stay: Equinox Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester first opened in 1769 as a lodging house. Set on 1,300 acres, the property will both transport couples back in time and impress them with modern-day perks, such as a 75-foot indoor pool and a full-service spa.
The Berkshires region in southwestern Massachusetts draws serious skiers from around the country. If you and your significant other aren’t slope-swooshing types, or you’re visiting in the warmer months, you’ve still come to the right place. This scenic corner of New England is noted for its outdoor concerts, fun festivals, and top museums. The two of you can explore charming villages and stroll in and out of boutiques, cute coffee shops, and friendly, family-run bakeries. Serious shoppers will be thrilled to discover the Premium Outlets in Lee. Music-loving duos will especially enjoy a stay during the popular Tanglewood Music Festival in August.
Where to Stay: Constructed in the style of a 16th-century Florentine palazzo, the Wheatleigh in Lenox is a luxe retreat with only 19 rooms. Its French fine-dining restaurant is stellar, offering the perfect setting to celebrate an anniversary or pop the question. In addition to romantic touches (think arched windows set with Tiffany stained glass and sculpted fireplaces), the property features views of the mountains and a lake, as well as an outdoor pool in a pretty garden setting.
A scenic mountain region in northern New York, the Adirondacks are the largest protected area in the contiguous United States. Nature-loving couples will appreciate the great skiing, hiking, and paddling opportunities here. The area is perhaps best known for Lake Placid, which hosted the Winter Olympics twice. If you’re coming from the New York or Boston metro area, an equally delightful spot that’s closer is Bolton Landing, a peaceful Adirondack community that has lured writers, artists, musicians, and couples looking for relaxation and romance since the early 1800s. A sunrise or sunset hike to nearby Pinnacle Mountain will reward you with gorgeous views of Lake George. Don’t miss a romantic dinner for two at Chateau on the Lake.
Where to Stay: The Sagamore Resort is a romantic and luxurious property, where couples can indulge in side-by-side spa treatments.
Perhaps not as well known as the other mountain regions on this list, the White Mountains still have plenty to offer lovebirds looking to escape their busy everyday lives and get reacquainted with each other. Stop by White Mountain Winery in North Conway to create your own custom wine, which is then bottled and personally labeled with the name you choose (perhaps “will you marry me?”). Keep the mood going at the Bavarian Chocolate Haus in North Conway Village. There, you can make your sweetheart a custom gift box of his or her favorites, then watch master chocolatiers make each one by hand in the on-site workshop.
Where to Stay: Adventure Suites might just be the perfect property to put a little spice back in your relationship. Each of the hotel’s 17 suites has a different theme, from a romantic wine cellar to a tree house for the family.
Famed for being the setting of the internationally-recognized Hudson River School paintings in the 19th century, the Catskills are part of American culture. Its resorts are remembered for launching the careers of many stand-up comedians, including the likes of Jackie Mason, Don Rickles, and Rodney Dangerfield. It was the go-to vacation spot in the northeast for decades in the 20th century, and perhaps most memorably typified in the movie “Dirty Dancing.” It’s also known for art and music festivals -- not least of all Woodstock. Livingston Manor, known for its charm and hospitality, is a town at the southeast edge of the 300,000-acre Catskill Park. The Kaatskeller is a favorite among locals for craft cocktails, wood-fired pizza, and gelato. The Catskill Brewery is a popular spot for fresh ales and lagers.
Where to Stay: The Roxbury is hands-down the hotel to book, if you appreciate funky style. All of its rooms have bright, bold, and edgy decor that’s unusual for the region. Suites are inspired by 1960s and ’70s pop culture, and the spa is relaxing and relatively inexpensive.
With plenty of resorts that feature heart-shaped whirlpools and tubs in the form of giant wine glasses, the Poconos is popular choice for a romantic weekend getaway. But there’s lots to love about this region besides its cute kitsch. The scenic mountains are home to several state parks, including Big Pocono and Hickory Run, that offer hiking, horseback riding and walks to out-of-the-way waterfalls. Skiing, sledding, and sleigh rides are popular in the winter months.
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Woodloch is an upscale, adults-only retreat where all rooms have private verandas. Its five miles of nature trails are well-suited to novice hikers, and couples often enjoy the cooking demonstrations and wine tastings. Meals crafted around local and organic ingredients are included, at Tree restaurant and bar, which has a luxe lodge ambiance.