Valentine’s Day has certainly transformed for me over the years. When I was a child, it was a day to pass out cards and candy. I even remember the craft at school was to make cute paper bags to stash all of our sugary paraphernalia in. When I was single, Valentine’s was a day that I yearned to have a significant other to send me flowers and write a note professing his infatuation for me. When I was dating, it was a day to extend and receive sweet gestures of candy, wine or flowers. After the chapel bells rang, my husband and I actually made a point to do sweet and romantic things for each other. One year I bought him a giant teddy bear (one that we still have); another year he bought me a gigantic card. My husband would send me flowers at work or we’d get out of town for a few days and enjoy the weekend somewhere other than Columbia.
Now that I’m a mother, Valentine’s Day is about the children again — specifically my children. I prepare sweet baskets for them, make sure to buy enough cards and candy to hand out in their class, and revel in their happiness when they get home and see all of the cards and candy they got in return. We bake heart-shaped cookies and stalk Pinterest for fun Valentine’s crafts.
But sadly, Valentine’s Day for my husband and me ended when we became parents. I don’t think we meant to forget about each other, but we got caught in the parenting trap that many couples find themselves in after they have kids. Somehow everything becomes all about the children and their needs. Romance often is the last thing on our minds and it sits idle on the back burner.
But this year, we’re taking Valentine’s Day back! Not that I won’t still do all of the things I usually do for the kids, but we’re going to bask in the dream of a meal already prepared and a large Jacuzzi tub. We’re embarking on a staycation right in the heart of Columbia.
Here’s our top 5 choices for local romantic getaways. So grab your little black book of sitters and start planning your staycation too!
This boutique 29-room inn in Five Points was once a bakery. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the architectural features were maintained during renovations, such as hardwood floors and 1920s-era glass windowpanes. Each uniquely decorated suite is a 2-story loft. A spiral staircase brings you up to the bedroom, which features a spiral staircase with a queen- or king-size bed, dressed with luxurious 200- to 300-thread count sheets.
Ammenities include a complimentary continental breakfast served to your room, including Italian LaVazza coffee; a weeknight wine and cheese reception; lobby bar; complimentary fitness room; complimentary onsite parking; free in-room wi-fi; and concierge services. We’ll be snagging their Romantic Retreat package.
2003 Greene St., Columbia 29205; (803) 765-0440
First built in 1910 as a family home, the 116-room Inn at USC features a blend of Georgian, Gothic, and Art Deco features. Rooms and suites feature king- and queen-size triple-sheeted pillowtop beds, blackout drapes, and fireplaces and whirlpool hot tubs in a select few. For the ultimate in luxury, choose the one of the three Black House Suites, tucked in the original part of the hotel. The Inn overlooks the USC campus and Horseshoe; attractions such as the Colonial Life Arena and S.C. State House are within walking distance.
Ammenites may include jetted tubs; balconies; in-room bottled water; free wi-fi; complimentary hot breakfast served in the Palmetto Room; fitness center; parking garage; bar and lounge; and limo and town car service (for a fee). Book the Romance package, which includes a stay in the Balcony, Whirlpool, or Black House Suites; and customize your stay by choosing chocolate-covered strawberries, a chilled bottle of wine, a hot bubble bath, or flowers.
1619 Pendleton St., Columbia 29201; (803) 779-7779
Charming and unique, this 7-room inn strives to give the quaint and intimate bed and breakfast experience. Each room is uniquely decorated and named for different locations around Columbia. The Inn’s newest feature is the Artizan’s Gallery, which highlights over 100 pieces of original artwork.
Ammenities include whirlpool tubs in select rooms; balconies; en suite bathrooms for each room; free wi-fi; complimentary parking; and a continental breakfast. Extra “Inn-dulgences” can be added to any package and includes the Romance package (champagne and chocolate), Celebrations package (similar to the Romance package but also includes votive candles and champagne flutes), dinner or fresh flowers.
1425 Richland St., Columbia 29201; (803) 252-7225
Located in a historic neighborhood, this cottage is one of only a few remaining antebellum homes and mansions. Chestnut Cottage was built in 1850 and was home to General James Chesnut and Mary Boykin Chesnut, author of A Diary from Dixie. President Jefferson Davis also stayed in the home with his traveling party in 1864, where he gave a speech to Columbia residents from the front porch of the cottage. The cottage features 5 elegant and comfortable rooms, each furnished with its own special character and history.
Ammenities include period antiques; Civil War artifacts and library; luxurious linens and robes; breakfast served “in room” or in the dining room; and private baths with whirlpool tubs.
1718 Hampton St., Columbia 29201; (803) 256-1718
Recently remodeled, the Marriott is located downtown near USC, just minutes from many local attractions. New features include an indoor pool, fitness area, lounge, bar and the restaurant Midlands’ Modern Southern Food Arts. Rooms have pillowtop mattresses; signature Marriott luxurious bedding; room service; high-speed internet; and buffet breakfast (for a fee).
The Romance Package includes champagne, chocolates, and breakfast for 2.
1200 Hampton St., Columbia 29201; (803) 771-7000
Do you have a favorite local getaway? Share in the comments.