01 of 05
Bed & Breakfast Getaways...Where to Eat...
Romance is in the air in The Shoals area. Looking for a Romantic Getaway for Valentines weekend? The Shoals is a short 2-3 hour drive from Nashville, Memphis, and Birmingham. It’s even closer to Tupelo and Huntsville and there are plenty of options for romance sure to satisfy lovebirds of any age.
The first step in planning a romantic getaway is choosing a place to stay. There are a number of nice hotels in the Shoals area, but if I were choosing I’d pick one of the quaint Bed and Breakfasts for a romantic weekend. The Veranda on Walnut, Wood Avenue Inn, and The Limestone House are all located in lovely historic homes that just ooze charm. Every couple has a different idea of what’s romantic, but the Shoals area offers lots of choices for different tastes. Dining is a big part of any romantic weekend and one of my favorite places to take a date in the Shoals is the La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant at 153 Cox Creek Pkwy in Florence. The lighting is low and the atmosphere cozy and comfortable. I’ve enjoyed every entree I’ve ever ordered, but would highly recommend the Chili Rellenos or Enchiladas Rancheras. They are also known for their killer margaritas.
Another restaurant that I would recommend for romance is the Ragazza Italiana at 104 S. Main Street in Tuscumbia. It is definitely a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
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02 of 05
Romantic Places to Eat...
Local artists Audwin McGee and Sandi Stevens in conjunction with manager Chris Martin decorated the interior of Ragazza Italiana and it’s absolutely a whimsical delight. I especially love the chandelier in the ladies room made from women’s high-heeled shoes. Whether you choose pizza from their wood fired oven or one of the pasta varieties I suggest you include at least a side order of the grilled shrimp. They may very well be the best shrimp I’ve ever tasted.
A romantic spot to catch a light brunch is the coffee shop inside Coldwater Books at 6th and Main in Tuscumbia. When I take dates there I prefer the tables upstairs because they offer a nice spot to relax and chat over a latte and a pastry. For lunch you might want to try Sweet Basil Café at 1627 Darby Drive in Florence and for romance you won’t want to miss the Palace Drug Store on Main Street in Tuscumbia. It offers a vintage soda fountain that’s been completely restored. What could be more romantic than sharing an old fashioned soda with 2 straws!
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03 of 05
More Romantic Places to Eat...Couple Activities...
Couples who are really looking to splurge on dining will want to try the 360 Grille located in the top of the Renaissance Tower. The Renaissance Tower is a 300 ft observation tower that overlooks the Tennessee River and Wilson Dam. It’s Alabama’s tallest tourist attraction and the restaurant at the top rotates 360 degrees so that dinners can see all views of the river valley. The restaurant offers gourmet fine dining. The tower is located at 800 Cox Creek Parkway South adjacent to the Marriott Shoals Hotel.
Those couples who are able to stop staring into each other eyes over candle light dinners long enough, may actually want to find some activities in the Shoals. If a romantic drive is your cup of tea I suggest McFarland Park. The main road winds along the river bank and offers a great view of the bluffs on the other side of the river, which are nothing short of spectacular.
Another activity that’s good for couples is the tour of the Rosenbaum House. This is the only structure in Alabama designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Both men and women seem to appreciate the architecture, which makes the tour a nice couples activity.
Antiquing is another option and the Shoals Antique Dealers Association web site offers information on all the local shops.
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04 of 05
Sports for Couples...Art Exhibits...Music...
Those couples who are more active may want to take advantage of the great jogging and bike paths on the TVA reservation or the championship Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.
Some special don’t miss Valentines events are the “Inspired by Cupid” art show that will be on exhibit at the Lori Davis Gallery during the entire month of February and the Valentine Concert at Norton Auditorium on the UNA campus Sunday February 12th at 2pm. The concert will feature the UNA Studio Jazz Band and Guest Vocalist Edsel Holden. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students or seniors. Active or retired military personnel are invited to attend for free.
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05 of 05
Gourmet at the Gallery...
Couples who will be in the Shoals on Valentines Day, Tuesday February 14, 2006 won’t want to miss a very special event called Gourmet at the Gallery. Chef’s Table Catering & Gourmet, which just opened, will be catering a wonderful Valentines party at the Nolen-Cole Gallery, 110 N. Court St., Florence. The evening includes the nostalgia of the Landrum Vintage Photography Collection Exhibit, live jazz guitar music, and a selection of wines. The selection of scrumptious entrees is listed below and the meal also includes sides plus a decadent desert bar.
Top off the evening with the ultimate in romance…an old-fashioned carriage ride snuggled close to your sweetie. The carriages will pick diners up at the front of the gallery for the evening. They will also offer valet parking for this special occasion. Call (256) 767-1508 for reservations.
Choice of Entrees:
Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Shitaki Mushroom Demiglaze
Chicken Berblanc with White Wine & Butter Reduction Sauce
Stuffed Honey Glaze Pork Loin with Cajun Rice, Andouille Sausage & Apple Chutney
Broiled Tilapia with Lemon Caper Sauce
I’m sure that everyone will find just the right thing to insure a memorable Valentines Day in the Shoals!