Boston is one of the all-time-great cities to live in, a hub of great universities, fervent sports fans, and seafood bounty. Yet every once in a while even the city's most avid urbanites require a getaway.
Fortunately, Boston is well-positioned for quick weekend escapes to a variety of places that offer both a chance of pace and scenery on the Eastern seaboard.
Cape Cod, about 80 miles from Boston, is one of Beantown residents' favorite romantic weekend destinations. Beachy and laid-back, with superlative seafood, it entices visitors and inspires them to slow down.
On popular summer weekends, traffic out of Boston can get backed up and snail-slow once you reach the Cape... hardly a romantic situation. Here's how to get around that: Either plan a midweek "weekend getaway," go in the off-season when the crowds have dwindled, or cruise to the Cape on the ferry that sails from Boston to Provincetown in just 90 minutes.
Chatham, at mid-Cape, is a popular destination. Its historic Chatham Bars Inn has been named one of the top resorts in the world by Travel & Leisure and the best hotel on Cape Cod by Boston Magazine. Guests can stay in the Main Inn or in a freestanding cottage closer to the water. Adult-only spa suites provide a respite from guests with kids.
Provincetown, at land's end, has a freewheeling spirit of fun and has always been especially welcoming to same-sex couples, who give the town its flair.
Once the summer retreat of America's upper crust, Newport, Rhode Island has a gorgeous shoreline where captains of industry and captains of sailboats still congregate.
About 80 miles from Boston, Newport also offers ample romantic attractions to keep a couple busy for a weekend.
Something you'll definitely want to do is visit one or more of the glorious Newport mansions, where a century ago the monied class cavorted and their servants kept a stiff upper lip.
The 3.5-mile-long Cliff Walk not only provides great exercise and views of the Bay, it also affords glimpses of several of the mansions.
Sports aficionados have two tony landmarks worth visiting: The International Tennis Hall of Fame is more than a museum; it's a place where you can actually play on the regulation clay courts (do reserve in advance).
The Museum of Yachting is a repository of classic wooden boats and their history at scenic Fort Adams State Park, right on the waterfront, and an ideal place for a romantic picnic.
Roughly an hour north of Boston, Portsmouth is an easy-going seaport town with plenty of activities to fill a weekend escape.
While there are plenty of places to perch in Portsmouth, choose a suite at Wentworth by the Sea, a grand hotel overlooking the harbor, for a romantic getaway.
History lovers will find Strawbery Banke, a work-in-progress restoration of homes from different centuries, an agreeable place to stroll and steal a kiss.
Lovers of the open sea can take to the waters on a whale-watching expedition, then return to shore in time for a clam chowder or lobster repast.
And those who love shopping can do that to their heart's content in nearby Kittery, Maine, where there's no tax and Route 1 is lined on both sides with outlet malls.
One hundred miles from Boston, the lower Connecticut River Valley reveals its charms slowly.
Classic Yankee inns, a pristine waterfront, art museums and galleries, romantic restaurants, and remnants of the past combine to provide visitors with ample reasons to explore this quiet, scenic part of Connecticut, which the Nature Conservancy calls "one of the last great places on Earth."