From opulent mansions to quiet country cottages, romantic retreats come in all shapes and sizes. In truth, there's something to suit just about every taste and need, including accessibility. So if you're looking to steal away with your sweetheart for a special anniversary, birthday or holiday, then consider some of these wheelchair-accessible properties for your next romantic rendezvous.
Country Manor Home
Located just outside Columbia, Maryland, the Inn at Peralynna (tel. 410/715-4600; www.peralynna.com) simply oozes romance. This European manor home includes the accessible Peacock Suite, which boasts a spacious bedroom, a comfortable living area and one-and-a-half bathrooms.
There is ramp access to the suite from the accessible parking area; with wide doorways and barrier-free access throughout the guest room. The bedroom is furnished with a Tempur-Pedic bed, a gas fireplace, a Jacuzzi tub and a roll-under sink; while an adjacent powder room houses a toilet with grab bars on the back and side walls. The full bathroom is much more luxurious, with a roll-in grotto shower with a built-in shower bench, two hand-held showerheads and five stationary showerheads. Other access features include shower and toilet grab bars and a roll-under sink.
Breakfast can be delivered to the suite, and evening hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, are served in the lobby. And although there's no on-site restaurant, the innkeeper is happy to arrange for a private candlelight repast in the suite.
Big City Luxury
The 1913 Colonial Revival mansion has steps in the front, but features ramped access on the side. The first-floor August Meyer room boasts wide doorways, wood floors and good pathway access, The spacious bathroom is outfitted with a roll-under sink, grab bars around the toilet and a two-person Jacuzzi tub with a hand-held showerhead, grab bars and a portable shower bench.
All of the first-floor public rooms feature level access, with the exception of the solarium, which can be accessed by a portable ramp. Breakfast is generally served in the Harvest Dining Room or on the veranda, which can be also accessed by a portable ramp. And for a romantic dinner, head over to nearby Country Club Plaza, where you'll find a wide selection of dining options. Save some time for a leisurely stroll past the lighted J.C Nichols fountain, before heading back to the inn for coffee and dessert. It's the perfect way to top off the evening.
Small Town Charm
Last but not least, if you'd like to steal away to a bucolic lakeside village, then head down to Mount Dora, Florida and check out the Heron Cay Lakeview B&B (tel. 352/383-4050; www.heroncay.com). Built in 1995, this Victorian manor includes the charms of yesteryear, yet it's equipped with a bevy of modern access features.
The accessible Zoi Garden room features barrier-free access through the house or via a private side entrance. The bathroom is equipped with a roll-in shower with a built-in shower bench and a hand-held showerhead. There are grab bars in the shower and on the wall behind the toilet. The room also has a private patio -- the perfect spot to share a intimate drink and enjoy the sunset.
The public areas of the inn, including the breakfast room and the back porch, all feature barrier-free access. A full hot breakfast is served every morning, and snacks and soft drinks are available around the clock. This property gets high marks for access and ambiance, and it's a great choice for a very accessible romantic retreat.
Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of Barrier Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide For Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.barrierfreetravels.com.