As the owners of one of the Inland Northwest’s many romantic getaways, Karen and Monty Turner have witnessed their share of marriage proposals.
But the sight of a flustered bride-to-be and her nervous fiancé never gets old, Karen says.
“It’s joyous beyond belief” to be a part of that, she says.
She’ll never forget the man who wrote “Will you marry me?” using charcoals in the snow one winter. The display was large enough for his girlfriend—and all the other guests at the Turners’ bed and breakfast—to see from their windows.
“The next morning, everyone asked him, ‘Well, what did she say?’” Karen says.
More recently, a soldier on a short leave from Iraq proposed to his girlfriend at the B&B.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many a sweetheart will be searching for the perfect romantic excursion. The most famous destinations for lovers—Paris, anyone?—are probably either too far or too expensive for most of us.
No sweat, sweetheart. The Inland Northwest offers plenty of getaways for lovers.
Fall Inn love
The Turners own Run of the River, a bed and breakfast near Leavenworth, Wash., that sits above the Icicle River. It’s flanked on two sides by a bird refuge and offers a view of the Cascade Mountains as a backdrop. In other words, Run of the River is secluded.
The inn offers six suites, each with a private Jacuzzi tub, and The Ravenwood Lodge, a separate cabin. Rates range from $225 to $425 per night. Couples can add romantic packages, such as wine and cheese plates or spa products, for additional fees. www.runoftheriver.com; (800) 288-6491.
Another romantic inn near Leavenworth is the Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat, nestled in the Cascade Mountain foothills. The Sleeping Lady, a full-service lodging facility, boasts an extensive collection of original artwork (not the least of which is an outdoor installation by glass artist Dale Chihuly) and hosts a year ’round performing arts series that includes classical, jazz and acoustic chamber music.
On Valentine’s weekend, the Sleeping Lady will offer a romance package that includes dinner, live music, and a two-night stay, starting at $550. www.sleepinglady.com; (800) 574-2123.
Red wine and chocolate
Red Wine and Chocolate, a favorite event among many oenophiles, happens every Valentine’s weekend in Yakima Valley. Whether you’re a wine aficionado already or your taste buds just tell you that red wine and chocolate go well together, the three-hour drive to Yakima from Spokane might be worth it.
More than 50 wineries will open their doors for tours, tastings and discounts on products. Some past years’ menu items have included cabernet brownies, truffles made by monks, and cherries soaked in port wine for 60 days then dipped in dark chocolate.
Some of the wineries in the Yakima Valley include Terra Blanca, Fidélitas and Hogue Cellars.
Visit www.wineyakimavalley.org for more information.
Need a place to stay while you’re there? Consider the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Yakima. It’s one of Yakima’s newest hotels and within walking distance to many shops and wine-tasting venues.
www.hiltongardeninn.com; (509) 454-1111.
Visit www.yakima.org or www.visityakima.com for more information about the region.
You don’t have to travel far for an international Valentine’s Day excursion. The charming, art-filled city of Nelson, B.C. is less than four hours away.
Stroll down Baker Street and enjoy an eclectic mix of local shops, restaurants and Victorian-style buildings. Take in stunning views of the Selkirk Mountains as you cruise across Kootenay Lake on either the S.S. Moyie, the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler, or the Kootenay Lake Ferry, the longest free ferry ride in the world.
Consider a stay at the Hume, Nelson’s 110-year-old landmark hotel. Rates start at $99 Canadian for a double-occupancy room. www.humehotel.com; (877) 568-0888.
Visit www.discovernelson.com for more information about Nelson.
About 45 minutes north of Nelson is Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, featuring three mineral pools, a cave, a lounging pool and a stream-fed cold plunge. The hot mineral water comes in through the cave, entering the system at about 117 degrees, and flows continuously, changing the pools’ water naturally six times a day.
Winter weekend rates start at $118 Canadian. www.hotnaturally.com; (800) 668-1171.
Three and a half hours away from Spokane in another direction is the Lochsa Lodge, a getaway on Highway 12 on the Idaho-Montana border that might appeal to adventurous couples.
The Lodge is located near the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness in a spot described by Lewis and Clark in 1805 as nearly “insurmountable.”
Rates start at $40 per night for a rustic cabin or $58 for a room in the lodge.
A short hike—or snowshoe expedition, depending on the conditions—through old-growth forests leads guests to the Jerry Johnson and Weir Hot Springs.
www.lochsalodge.com; (208) 942-3406.
Home sweet home
If your plans don’t include leaving the city, consider a weekend “staycation” in Spokane or Coeur d’Alene.
The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Valentine’s package, which starts at $340, includes chocolate-dipped strawberries, champagne, rose petal turn-down service, a $100 dining credit and a $100 credit at the hotel’s highly acclaimed spa.
“This package is available any weekend in February,” reservations manager Tammy Heath says. Valentine’s Day “is a big weekend, so we know there will be a lot of people coming before or after that.”
www.cdaresort.com; (800) 688-5253.
In Spokane, the Davenport Hotel has been a romantic destination for almost a century.
Hotel spokesman Tom McArthur says it’s not uncommon to be walking through the lobby and see a man proposing on bended knee in front of the fireplace.
Two years ago he watched as a man took his girlfriend to a spot outside the hotel’s Elizabethan room where the words “will you marry me?” appear within the faux woodgrain on the ceiling. No one knows when or how the words got there, but they’ve been there since before the recent renovation and could be as old as 1914, when the Davenport was built.
McArthur also said many couples who spent their wedding nights at the hotel—including longtime Spokesman-Review columnist and editor Dorothy Powers who married in the 1940s—come back year after year to celebrate.
The hotel’s Romance Package includes one night’s stay, a bottle of champagne, a flower arrangement and valet parking starting at $241.
www.thedavenporthotel.com; (888) 899-1482.
Other popular Spokane area hotels for romance include the Hotel Lusso and the Mirabeau Park Hotel.
The Lusso’s Evening of Romance package, which starts at $300, offers rose petal turndown service, champagne, valet parking and a $50 dining credit. www.hotellusso.com; (509) 747-9750.
Mirabeau Park’s “Sparkling Romance Package,” starting at $187, includes breakfast, dinner, chocolate-dipped strawberries and other snacks, champagne and an in-room movie. www.mirabeauparkhotel.com; (866) 584-4674.
For more specials at Spokane hotels, visit www.winterinspokane.com.
So what’s there to do in Spokane that weekend besides sleep, drink and eat?
Works from the Heart Contemporary Art Auction, the 24th annual fundraiser for the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, will be held Feb. 14 at the Spokane Masonic Center, in downtown Spokane. More than 100 pieces of art by regional artists will be up for grabs. www.northwestmuseum.org; (509) 456-3931.
And the Spokane Symphony will perform with Grammy-winning percussionist Evelyn Glennie on Feb. 13 at the INB Performing Arts Center. www.spokanesymphony.org; (509) 624-1200.
So, you say you’re single this Valentine’s Day? Any of these destinations could be visited solo or with friends. Or, go ahead and book that dream vacation in the tropics. Going it alone will only cost you half as much.