Well, Valentine's Day is coming up and how are you and your Valentine going to celebrate it? A few ideas, including one "batty" one:
A historic setting for a getaway is Salem, Mass. with a stay at either the Salem Inn, Captain West House or Curwen House, where many rooms come with not only canopy beds and fireplaces but also Jacuzzi baths (some double size). Packages, which begin at $169, include a gift, champagne, dinner for two and breakfast. Call (508) 741-0680 or, outside Massachusetts, (800) 446-2995.The ultimate package is being offered by Stonehedge Inn in Tyngsborough, Mass., where, depending on where you live, you'll arrive via private Lear jet or limousine for a weekend of pampering - from fine French foods to beauty treatments. The 30-suite inn has all the feel of a luxurious English country inn, without the need to cross the Atlantic. The package is a mere $4,650 from New York or Philadelphia, $1,460 less from Boston. Call (508) 649-4400.
Other ideas inlcude a Rekindle the Romance Getaway at the delightful Equinox Inn in Manchester Village, Vt. Here, the package includes private massage lessons and is available until May; it's $386.50 a person (call 802-362-4700.
For the more energetic, Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont will have special events on the slopes, including a "Have a Heart" contest where people who spot a red heart will win prizes. And there are some good deals on slopeside accommodations and lift tickets. Call (800) 78-OKEMO.
Couples from Massachusetts or Rhode Island who are tradition-minded and thinking of tying the knot over Valentine's Day might want to head to Connecticut. That's where many eloping couples from these states headed in the mid-1800s because of its relaxed marriage laws. The village green in Thompson once was called "Gretna Green of New England," a reference to the Scottish village to which couples lacking parental consent flocked to be married. And Connecticut is still not a bad place to head to, mainly because of its many romantic inns. At one, the Riverwind in Deep River, the innkeeper is also a justice of the peace. Call for the Connecticut Vacation Guide with lots of ideas - (800) 282-6863.
Certainly a warmer idea this time of year would be to head to the Caribbean where the Cayman Islands - and many others - have relaxed their marriage laws. The Caymans have eliminated the 72-hour residency period previously required. For information on the Caymans, call (212) 682-5582; for a brochure on getting married there, call (809) 949-8092. Or you could book a stay at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman Resort & Villas, which will make all the arrangements for you. Call Hyatt at (800) 233-1234.
Another idea for the Caribbean would be Couples, a romantic resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Just as its name implies, it's just for couples. This year the resort is celebrating its 17th year with special deals that are good through Dec. 21 but must be booked by April 6. For information, call (800) COUPLES.
If you're in Washington, visit the National Bat Center (5721 Randolph Road, Rockville, Md., and near a Metro station). Here, you can meet Sweet Pee, a big brown bat who is always available, and take in Close Encounters of the Bat Kind. For more, call the bat hot line at (301) 984-ABCS. Now, for your Valentine, why not send some Bat Bites, chocolates in the shape of American brown bats ($25-$27). Or, to add a sensation to a drink or sauce, get some Vampfire ($20). Not only will your Valentine love you for it, but the purchase benefits the bat center. Call the center's store, Absolutely Bats! at (301) 984-BATS.