When you think "romantic getaway," chances are that a secluded inn or a cozy B&B pops to mind as a possible option. After all, how can you top snuggling by a comfy fire, enjoying a romantic ocean view or sipping some wine on a private patio with the love of your life? And let's not even talk about breakfast in bed!
But what if you or your significant other uses a wheelchair, or just can't manage those fifteen stairs up to that quaint Victorian inn? Is this type of a romantic getaway still a possibility? Gladly the answer is an enthusiastic yes; as more and more inns and B&Bs boast accessible rooms.
Big Bear Retreat
Located in Big Bear Lake, California, Apple's B&B (tel. 909-866-0903; www.applesbigbear.com) gets top marks for ambiance and accessibility. The brainchild of Jim and Barbara McClean, this 19-room inn features good access, with plenty of private nooks to enjoy the sunset, the fire or just each other.
There is ramp access to the inn from the back porch, and barrier-free access to the lobby, great room and dining area. The accessible Crabapple Room features an oversized bathroom equipped with a tub/shower combination with a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower seat. Other access features include grab bars in the shower and around the toilet, a lowered vanity and a roll-under sink.
The guest room also includes two recliners positioned in front of a bay window, plus a cozy gas fireplace. It's a very comfortable room, and it comes with a hearty breakfast -- complete with apple fitters, of course.
Santa Fe Escape
Over in Santa Fe, the Don Gaspar Inn (tel. 505-986-8664; www.dongaspar.com) is proof positive that even historical properties can be accessible. Located just a few minutes from the plaza, this property is housed in three buildings that span a half-block section of the Don Gaspar Historic District.
Accessible parking is located near the office, at the base of the ramp to the accessible Olive Tree Room. Named for the large olive tree that sits outside, this comfortable room is furnished with a king-sized bed, and includes a refrigerator and fireplace.
Access features include wide doorways and good pathway access throughout the room. The bathroom features a roll-in shower with a hand-held showerhead, grab bars in the shower and around the toilet, a roll-under sink and a full five-foot turning radius.
Although the dining area can only be accessed by steps, the innkeeper is more than happy to deliver breakfast to your room. Not only does this solve the access problem, but it's also the more romantic option. And breakfast is the highlight of the day, with regional favorites such as tamales, huevos rancheros and green chili stew topping the menu.
It's hard to talk about romantic getaways, without at least mentioning Hawaii. And my Aloha State pick is the Volcano Guest House (tel. 808-967-7775; www.volcanoguesthouse.com), located on Hawaii's Big Island. This off-the-beaten-path gem is surrounded by six acres of high-altitude rain forest, and features three accessible units.
Claudia's Place shares the front porch with the main house, while Twin 1 and Twin 2 are located farther away from the main house and offer more privacy. All three units have a small kitchen, a living area and a separate bedroom. Access features include good pathway access, wooden floors, grab bars and a low step shower in each unit. A shower chair is available upon request.
Although it's not fancy, the secluded natural setting of this out-of-the-way property gets high marks in the ambiance department. After all, what could be more romantic than a secluded Hawaii retreat?
Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of 101 Accessible Vacations; Travel Ideas for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.barrierfreetravels.com.