A few years ago I ran into friends the day after Valentines Day who
were doing a snowshoe hike along the Pyramid Point Trail in Sleeping
Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. They had spent the weekend combining a
little romance with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
We spent Valentines Day cross-country skiing several miles along
National Park trails, which was wonderful with the fresh snow. We
were tired, but a turn in the hot tub followed by a great dinner
revived us for the evening, laughed the woman.
A decade ago we probably wouldve piled into a cramped car for a long
drive back home after skiing, and the post-ski meal was probably
through a fast-food burger joint. Tired and wet by the time we got
home the glowing image of the trail wouldve faded, and so would we.
Now we look forward to a weekend away from the kids. Its a great
way to relax, get some great exercise and enjoy some fine food and a
romantic evening, she enthused.
These skiers are among the growing number of Nordic enthusiasts who
like to combine the physical aspects of the sport with the ambiance of
good food and pleasant surroundings. Romance and skiing/snowshoeing
go hand-in-hand, and with Valentines Day falling on a weekend this
winter, it might be a good time to consider a quick getaway.
Following is a list of some of my favorite spots up north. You dont
even have to ski or snowshoe to enjoy the ambiance.
The Homestead Resort, nestled among towering dunes in the midst of
Sleeping Bear Dunes, offers many jaw-dropping views from nearby trails
within the National Lakeshore. The Bay View Trail takes off from the
The resort offers an array of packages that include luxurious
accommodations, gourmet dining in its award-winning restaurant
Nonnas, and recently opened the Spa Amira, a total mind-and-body
wellness center. It makes for a romantic getaway. For more
information on packages, which start from $271 per night holiday
weekends, call 231-334-5100 or log onto
Petoskeys Staffords Bay View Inn offers guests the grace and
romance of a bygone era, set against the exquisite views of Little
Traverse Bay. This charming country inn was built in 1886 and has
enchanted visitors for over 120 years.
Through February, Staffords is offering midweek and weekend packages
that include lift tickets to either Nubs Nob or Boyne Highlands, your
choice. The package, which includes two nights lodging, a Country Inn
breakfast each morning, and two lift tickets, starts at $299 on
weekends and $275 midweek. The price is per person based on double
occupancy. Saturday evenings it includes an evening horse drawn
sleigh ride through the historic Bay View community, weather
permitting. For more information you can click on
Mackinac Island offers an ambiance that you would be hard pressed to
find anywhere else in the world. Normally locked in mirror-like ice
this time of year, the popular summer retreat has found life as an
exotic winter cross-country retreat.
During the summer, village streets are packed up to 10,000 people
daily. But the once-busy streets are now covered in snow drifts and
shuttered Victorian mansions stare blankly at the frozen Straits.
Part of the allure drawing an increasing number of cross-country
skiers is the peace and quiet of winter. They explore serene forest
trails and enjoy the magical charm of the Norman Rockwell-like village
clad in snow without having to jostle with thousands of tourists. A
handful of pubs and inns remain open for winter business. Rates start
from $75 per night midweek and $85 on weekends.
This year Valentines Day Weekend falls on the same weekend as the
Islands Annual Winter Fun Weekend, which includes a chili cook off,
Postcard Poker Cross Country Ski Rally, and the Pancake/Bloody Mary
Breakfast. For more information you can log onto
Daily flight service is available from St. Ignace. The five minute
flight is $27 per person one-way. Call 906-643-7165 for information
and to schedule a flight.
North of the U.S. Border just above Sault Ste. Marie, Stokely Creek
offers over 75 miles of trails that explore this rugged region of the
Algoma Mountains. One of North Americas top cross country touring
centers, the terrain consists of towering cliffs, rushing mountain
streams and frozen waterfalls; all within a couple of miles of the
lodge. You can climb to the top of King Mountain one of Ontarios
highest peaks where you see distant Lake Superior, or ski gentle
trails that wind along swift flowing streams that wrap around tranquil
The rustic ski-in lodge is a short distance from the parking lot.
They transport your bags. Home cooked meals are served family-style,
and the lodge with its great stone fireplace and secluded, cozy
corners, quickly create a warm, romantic atmosphere.
February weekend packages start at $176 per person, which includes an
all inclusive two-night stay that covers trail passes, luggage
transfers and all meals. Rooms with a private bath run $188 to $205
per person for the same package. You can click on
www.stokelycreek.com for more information and to make a reservation.