When I asked the 43 members of Kentucky Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America, for their picks for the most romantic Kentucky getaways, I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe a sybaritic retreat to indulge in some serious “us” time with champagne and nibbles, or perhaps holding hands at a candlelit table tucked into a quiet restaurant while a fire crackles nearby and the pianist plays Unchained Melody?
What I got were getaways to a working horse farm, a steak house, and a cave, among others.
“Romance is all about making that intimate connection,” says Renee Vincent, a member of Owen Electric Cooperative and author of the recently released The Fall of Rain, the third book in her Emerald Isle trilogy. “Whether you’re in love with a special someone or enchanted by a magical place, there’s a level of longing for and belonging to them that cannot be denied—no matter where you are.”
Vincent’s pick? Trail riding either at Bear Creek and Station horse camps in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, or at White Sulfur Horse Camp at Cave Run Lake in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
“As an author, being close to nature is very inspirational,” says Vincent. “Immersed within the stark beauty and remoteness of these surroundings, while swaying to the gentle rock of my horse’s gait, it’s easy for me to start plotting yet another historical romance.”
For Jan Scarbrough, a professional technical writer whose romance e-books and trade paperbacks include the Bluegrass Reunion series (Kentucky Cowboy), Jordan Farm Bed & Breakfast, a 20-acre working horse farm in Georgetown, provides all the romantic trappings a couple needs.
“My gosh, it’s a real farm, complete with the rolling green pastures, white fences, and grazing horses,” gushes Scarbrough, a member of the American Saddlebred Horse Association. “Our room was part of a two-suite carriage house and it was more luxurious than home—complete with a private bath with oversized Jacuzzi.”
Former deputy sheriff J.M. Madden, a member of Fleming-Mason Energy Cooperative, reconnects with her husband over a steak and a few laughs. The president of Kentucky Romance Writers, who pens contemporary and urban fantasy, cherishes these outings because they are “few and far between” for the busy couple living on a farm in Carlisle.
Their perfect evening? A visit to the city, Lexington specifically, with dinner at Malone’s followed by a show at Comedy Off Broadway and an overnight at the Hyatt Regency Lexington, with its city or atrium views and oversized baths.
“Romance is about reconnecting with your partner, reminding yourself what it was that drew you to them to begin with,” notes Madden, whose first book, Second Time Around, was set in Kentucky horse country. “It’s about investing the time to reassure that person you love them and value them in your life. What you feed into the relationship you will get back tenfold.”
Sondra Allan Carr, author of A Bed of Thorns and Roses, relishes time spent with her husband at Farm House Inn Bed and Breakfast, which is surrounded by the beauty and wildlife of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
“What could be more romantic than visiting Cumberland Falls during the full moon, seeing one of only two moonbows in the entire world, then spending the night in a lovely bed and breakfast where nature—not traffic—provides the only sounds outside your window?” asks Carr.
Teresa Medeiros, a Pennyrile Electric cooperative member, favors a romantic evening out at Madisonville’s DiFabio’s Casapela.
“From its checkered tablecloths to its exquisite entrees, this family-owned Italian restaurant elevates romantic dining to a fine art,” says the prolific Medeiros, whose latest page-turner, The Pleasure of Your Kiss, was released last month by Pocket Books.
Cathie Shaffer, who writes paranormal romantic suspense as Cammie Eicher (Blood Oath) and both contemporary and historical romantic suspense as Cat Shaffer (Bittersweet), loves rolling down the Country Music Highway with an overnight stay at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. And Fonda Warnock, a Grayson RECC member, who writes as Lozi Hart (Bluegrass Bountiful), says you don’t have to look any farther than Greenbo Lake State Resort Park for a romantic getaway.
Michelle Benningfield, currently at work on a historical Regency romance, Something for a Season, about the tangled love life of Emilia Westcott, finds romance in a cave.
“If I had any choice of romantic getaways it would be Regency England, where I could take tea with Jane Austen,” says the Lexington author. “But since time travel hasn’t been invented yet, one of my favorite spots is Mammoth Cave.
“Perhaps you imagined I would prefer a sleek, sexy, five-star spa resort. Not for this Kentucky girl. My husband and I like to stay in the cabins on the cave grounds, hiking through the woods or grabbing a canoe and drifting down Green River—especially in the fall, surrounded by bright fall leaves and a slight nip in the air.”
For inspiration, read a Kentucky romance writer. Go online to Kentucky Romance Writers at www.KentuckyRomanceWriters.com. Or book one of their suggested romantic getaways:
Bear Creek Horse Camp
Comedy Off Broadway
Country Music Highway
Farm House Inn Bed
Greenbo Lake State
Hyatt Regency Lexington