Planning a perfect, romantic evening or getaway with that special someone can be high pressure... especially when Valentine's Day rolls around. Luckily, central Connecticut offers plenty of romantic restaurants and other fun places with the proper ambiance for romance.
1. Everything French is romantic, no? Cavey's, 45 East Center Street, Manchester, 860-643-2751, serves elegant French cuisine in its downstairs restaurant. A Hartford-area go-to place for romantic occasions since 1933, Zagat voters call this a "special date place."
2. Say "I Do!" at A Cardinal House, 2205 Main Street, Glastonbury, 860-633-8109. This small bed & breakfast inn is perfect for elopements and vow renewals because of Dr. Michael F. Lepore, who owns the inn with his wife, Nancy, is a Justice of the Peace.
3. Cosi, with locations in West Hartford and Avon, Connecticut, is an especially good choice for a dessert date--perch yourself on a cozy couch and make your own S'mores over a fondue pot flame.
4. When was the last time you kidnapped your sweetheart for a romantic horse-drawn carriage or sleigh ride? I thought so. Call Allegra Farm Horse & Carriage Service in East Haddam, 860-680-5149, or one of these other Connecticut horse farms that offer sleigh rides, to reserve your private outing.
5. If a room with a Jacuzzi is your notion of the perfect potion for passion, the Howard Johnson Express Inn, 1760 Silas Deane Highway, Rocky Hill, 860-529-3341, offers in-room whirlpool tubs for two.
6. For fine dining in front of a cozy, crackling fireplace, head for the Fireside Tavern at Sharpe Hill Vineyard, 108 Wade Road, Pomfret, 860-974-3549, named one of the Best Fireside Dining Spots in all of New England by Yankee Magazine.
7. Here's an unusual, romantic idea. Park your car on Route 20 in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at the end of the runway at Bradley International Airport, wrap your arm around your sweetie, and watch the planes take off and land.
8. What better way to show your true love you'll be there to catch her when she falls than to take her ice skating at the International Skating Center of Connecticut, 1375 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, 860-651-5400. The Center offers a regular schedule of public skating sessions.
9. Sip love from a glass! Arrigoni Winery in Portland, Connecticut, is a relative newcomer on the Connecticut wine scene, and their Chocolate Love wine will win your hearts. This drinkable, not-too-sweet red has a subtle chocolatey finish. Visit the tasting room to try it.
10. The Mill on the River, 989 Ellington Road, South Windsor, 860-289-7929 or 888-344-4414, is a picture-perfect Connecticut restaurant that's been voted "most romantic" in many polls over the years. The restaurant offers romantic river views and a multi-cultural menu. Call ahead for reservations.