In this busy world in it is important for couples to spend quality time together, without the kids. And when a date night just won’t cut it, a day trip may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Local mom Anna put together this list of places perfect for any couple to escape to when they need to reconnect. Whether you want to head north to the mountains or south to the water this list has something for you!
Want to venture a little further from home? Visit our travel page – it is loaded with inspiration!
Now that school’s in session, how about some parent time for mom and dad? In this list, we attempted to put together some destinations outside of Greenville but only about a 2 hour drive or so. Consider this a start of a new tradition in your household and a chance to spend some quality time with your significant other. Although this requires some advanced planning such as booking a babysitter ahead or coordinating afterschool pick-ups, once you have it all lined up, it will truly be worth it. We believe parents deserve some kind of pampering and fun on their own. We’re pretty sure once you get started, you can come up with your own. Do share with us, if you find some good ones!
A mountain city, Asheville is teeming with activities for day-trippers filled with glorious views of the Blue Ridge Mountain. Our favorite of course is the Biltmore Estate which has restaurants and cafes on site as you take a break from viewing the vast property. We recommend dining at the stables, moderately priced and everything they serve is sourced from the farms within the property. Try to arrive by 10 am so you have enough time for lunch and start heading back by 4 pm in time for dinner with the kiddies.
Our second choice for Asheville is the The Omni Grove Park Inn. A historic resort built in 1913, the hotel was designed in the Arts and Crafts tradition by Edwin Wiley Grove, a pharmaceutical manufacturer and his son-in-law Fred Seely. The hotel was resold in 1955, but most of the original design has been retained. It boasts one of the grandest lobbies we’ve seen next to the Biltmore mansion flanked by the biggest 12-foot fireplaces. Scattered all around the lobby is a sampling of authentic and inspired mission furniture. Stunning views can be soaked in at the in the beautiful views without having to pay the steep room prices. For a fancy lunch, book a date at the Sunset Terrace or admire the same views from the more casual, dine at the Great Hall Bar. For something to do, in addition to exploring the resort property, we highly recommend either an afternoon at their luxurious top-rated spa or visiting the Grovewood Village. Here you will find probably the one of the best Antique Car Museums in our part of the country, see the Biltmore Homespun Museum, walk thru the sculpture garden and shop for special souvenirs at the Gallery of the Mountains.
One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC
Click on this link for hours and directions.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC
Lake Murray in Chapin
If you love being close to the water but can’t do the long drive to the coast, Lake Murray, a water reservoir with about 500 miles of shoreline, is a great easy escape. Walk across Lake Murray Dam, rent a motorboat to explore the waterways, go fishing or hit the beach on the Lexington side. Feeling romantic, visit the Love Lock Bridge, clip a padlock to the fence and proclaim your undying love by throwing away the key. Paris may have lost their love lock bridge in Pont des Arts due to tough love by local police, but for now, Lake Murray remains a haven for romantics. Suggested places for lake side dining: Rusty Anchor Restaurant for some great seafood and surf and turf combinations, Frayed Knot Bar & Grill for more dining options and finally Liberty Tap Room on the lake for some pizzas and light brews. Before you go, or for more information on Lake Murray Public Park, please call 888.383.5032.
Lake Murray, Lexington side
1797 North Lake Drive Lexington
Monday – Friday, 11 am – 7 pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 10 am – 8 pm
Click here for more info.
Vineyards tour in Yadkin Valley
A trip to Raffaldini Vineyards will transport you to the Italian countryside and a great early foray into the Yadkin Valley wine trail. One could easily design a weekend escape around this destination with the numerous vineyards around the valley. Tour their estate grounds and learn about how they use Appasimento, an Italian method for incorporating dehydrated grapes into wine. As for dining, we highly recommend packing a lunch that pairs well with wine or grab some light sandwiches and nibbles from their commissary. Guided walking tours of the vineyard are held Wednesdays through Sundays at 1pm and 4pm. Price for tours is $5 a person so plan accordingly. Wine tastings are $12 per person (plus tax) and include a taste of each of their wines along with a commemorative Riedel wine glass. Note that they are closed on Tuesdays. For more information on the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail, click here.
450 Groce Road, Ronda, NC
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
Nature Day Trip: Congaree National Park
The perfect day trip for more adventure driven couples, Congaree National Forest, is a perfect Fall hike since it will be less buggy and the weather will be cooler. South Carolina’s very own National Park, the Congaree National Park is filled with such unique natural wonders that we are so glad it received its official designation in 2003. The park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States! Allot a half-day or full day to explore the forest. Make sure to bring your camera, lots of water, bug spray and wander through dramatic marshland with a self-guided boardwalk tour. Be on the lookout for the unique Bald Cypress trees and their knobby “knees” scattered throughout the forest. If you are an avid kayaker, this would be the place, just make sure call ahead to check water conditions and mosquito meter! Bring your own or rent canoes and kayaks in the Columbia area. Picnics are the order of the day for this trip, but there are also lots of local BBQ places around the park if you get hungry.
Congaree National Park
100 National Park Road, Hopkins
Congaree National Park is open 24 hours a day year round. The Harry Hampton Visitor Center is open 7 days a week, 9 am – 5 pm.
Click on this link for more details on how to visit the park.
For Foodie and History Buffs: Athens, Georgia
Athens is a college town steeped in history with a vibrant contemporary music and restaurant scene. Our favorite restaurants to try are the high-end National, hearty brunch at Mama’s Boy or a eat by the tracks and have some good ol’ BBQ at Pulaski Heights BBQ. Athens has a great vegetarian restaurant called The Grit. For things to do, Athens is the gateway to Georgia’s Antebellum Trail and you will have lots of options to view house museums, heritage sites and historical districts. Your first stop should be to get a map at the Athens Georgia Welcome Center located in the Church-Waddel-Brumby House Museum. If you can get away for a weekend, enjoy some live music at Georgia Theater, 40 Watt or at the Furnace. Athens is also known as the place that launched the careers of R.E.M. and the B-52’s, but we’re pretty sure you already knew that!
Athens Georgia Welcome Center
280 E Dougherty Street, Athens, GA
Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm
Do you have a day trip idea to add to our list?