Wasn’t it just Christmas? Or at least New Year’s Eve?

With a busy school schedule and the routine of working normal hours again, the holidays just keep on catching us off guard around here. Valentine’s Day is probably one of our least favorite. I honestly can’t remember if we’ve ever gotten each other actual presents to celebrate.

I do remember when we were first dating in college and we went out to eat at a fancy-to-us Italian restaurant in downtown Columbia. Cole wore his finest Hawaiian shirt that night. I was the luckiest.

To us, Valentine’s Day is an excuse to reconnect as a couple, but not over presents. Last year, we celebrated in Guadalupe Mountains National Park (about halfway through our year of visiting all of them!) This year, we are celebrating in the best way we know how: a trip! Well, a very mini trip. Next weekend, we’ll be driving about two hours away from St. Louis to visit Shawnee National Forest, do some hiking, unplug from technology, and cozy up in a one-room rustic cabin (with heat, because winter.)

We will tell you all about it when we get back, I’m sure. But until then, I thought it would be fun to share a couple other off-the-beaten-path weekend getaways that might be perfect for Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or just some time with your friends and family.

I sent out the bat signal to other midwest travel bloggers to tell you all about these five unique and worthwhile midwest getaways.

  1. Hamilton County, Indiana – Whitney, Hamilton County Tourism

Located just minutes north of Indianapolis, Hamilton County, Indiana, offers a unique set of attractions, special events and affordable accommodations. Couple these with the finest in authentic Hoosier Hospitality and easy access from I-69 and I-465, and you’ve got a fun, affordable destination that’s a lot closer than you think. Schedule a private wine and cheese experience at Blackhawk Winery in Sheridan, available at $65 a couple. Or put on your finest clothes and share some small plates at divvy or enjoy an intimate six-course dinner and champagne at Tina’s Traditional Old English Kitchen in Carmel for $60 a person. Then have a nightcap at Quirky Feather Confectionery in Carmel where you can choose from coffee, a cocktail or even a homemade chocolate chip cookie. End the evening at the Renaissance Hotel in Carmel or try the luxury Old Town Bed and Breakfast where guests can enjoy a fireplace, patio and wake up to a gourmet breakfast. Not into all the lovey-dovey stuff? Nickel Plate Arts offers a nontraditional take on Valentine’s Day by offering artistic activities for couples, singles and families. See an art exhibit, enjoy a cocktail and watch a live performance for under $50 in downtown Noblesville.

  1. Ann Arbor, Michigan – Cindy, Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl

The Midwest has an array of places to celebrate Valentine’s Day, one of the most romantic of all is Ann Arbor. A  very cool place to stay in Ann Arbor is the Graduate Inn. Rooms are filled with lovely art work, eclectic furniture and an industrial style bathroom. Rates are between $150 to $200 and they offer great specials.  The hotel has a cozy club feel with hand painted mosaics patterns, wide planked floors and in the lobby a beautiful 40’ communal table.  Log onto www.graduateannarbor.com for details.  Ann Arbor is a foodie town with a wide array of dining options.  If you are going for romance, I suggest making a reservation at either Amadeus, a cool restaurant where they offer European Dining or Gratzi, a former movie house offering northern Italian fare.  Both have wonderful food with Amadeus offering a Viennese café type of fare and charm.  The ambience at Amadeus is very romantic with music on the weekends and small tables with lots of eclectic items to catch the eye.  Gratzi has an upscale, downtown feeling with an amazing mural and the balcony giving the theater vibe.  Either, or both depending on how long you stay will provide romance, good food and a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner.

3. Bentonsport, Iowa – Megan, Olio in Iowa

Located in the heart of southeast Iowa, the Bentonsport Village Bed and Breakfast is a wonderfully cozy weekend getaway. Restored to its 1840s glory by owners Jan and Herb Shafer, the Hancock House has been transformed into a beautiful place to unplug and relax. Fun fact: The home contains 39 different kinds of wood. The floor plans for the house—along with the types of wood used to construct it—are stored in the Library of Congress, and are what the Shafers used to accurately restore the property. Explore the historic town of Bentsonsport, complete with practicing artisans and shops, or enjoy a hearty dinner at the nearby Bonaparte Retreat.



Written by Elizabeth

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