Winter months, for those of us who live in the Midwest, find our bikes in storage, covered up or just waiting for a day when the temperature reaches 50 degrees so we can hop on it and take off. Regardless of the status of your ride, we have a few more months of cold weather so why not escape for a long weekend during this “Sweetheart” month with that special person in your life.
You have some choices and plans to make. You can hop on a plane and fly to a romantic island in the Caribbean like St. Maartens, St. Kitts or St. Thomas, stay in the states and go to Florida or California, or drive a few hours in Missouri or Kansas (if you are located here in the KC area) and have a fabulous time.
Have you ever wanted or thought about staying in a castle? Would you believe a three-hour drive to Wichita, Kansas will get you to “The Castle Inn Riverside,” The Historic Campbell Castle? An architectural masterpiece built in 1888 has 28 rooms and was restored in 1994 by the present owners. Roof tiles from Vermont, the antique walnut fireplace imported from Germany, inlaid floors and elaborate hand-carved oak woodwork are just a few of the beautiful and splendid features this castle offers. This spectacular 3-story castle has 14 theme rooms to choose from with medieval names like The Royal Court, Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Anne’s Lace and Chamomile. All rooms are either king or queen size beds, a few have Jacuzzi suites and fireplaces, and the turret guest room offers a magnificent panoramic view of the river and city skyline. The Kansas Suite, Tack Room and Botanica are located in the Carriage House. Prices vary from $150 to $250 per night, and I might add, that’s pretty inexpensive compared to what we spend in “chrome!”
For those who still want contact with the outside world during their escape weekend, (I can’t imagine that!) all rooms are equipped with televisions, VCRs , DirecTV satellite system, telephones with data ports and private bathrooms. Complimentary food is available during social hour from 5-7p.m. with wine, cheese and soft drinks. From 7-10 p.m. there is a variety of desserts, gourmet coffees and teas, and after dinner liqueurs. What a great way to unwind and relax and enjoy the romance of another era in this stunning castle. Check out their web site at www.castleinnriverside.com.
Another great get-a-way is Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri 10 miles south of Branson nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. You won’t even think about your bike as you overlook from your balcony in the Lodge, or sitting on the deck of your private log cabin you feel like you are in the Colorado Mountains, except it didn’t take you 12 hours to get there! If you’ve never been to Big Cedar, treat yourself and go, you will not be disappointed and the customer service is excellent.
I’m really not sure how many acres encompass their facility, but the way they keep adding on they are going to have their own “Big Cedar” town! There are three different lodges with Falls Lodge being the newest addition. There are 65 rooms available and all are non-smoking. You can choose from a king with Jacuzzi and fireplace or a double queen; all are topped off with a lush feather bed and down duvet. Prices range from $129 per night on weekdays to $319 per night on weekends.
Here is a sampling of the other accommodations from which to choose:
Spring View Lodge
is close to Table Rock Lake, close to Devil’s Pool Restaurant, heated pool and fitness center. All beds are queen size and the upper floor rooms offer Jacuzzi bath, fireplace and balcony. Prices are $69-$269 per night.
Valley View Lodge
has a cascading water fall that greets you as you enter this 4-story lodge. Queen & king beds available plus some with a fireplace, kitchenettes and Jacuzzi’s, Prices are $79- $299 per night. This lodge also offers the Governor’s Suite, which is a massive 2,500 square foot “party” room! It has four bedrooms, two baths, fireplace, living area, flat screen TV and dining area for eight and two balconies with views of Table Rock Lake. This rents for a whopping $899-$1,699 per night. Of course when you split it four ways it’s a deal!
Knotty Pine Cottages are located in the middle of the resort and conveniently located near the dining area, swimming pool and the fitness center. These are nine cottages with and are setup with one or two bedroom private quarters, complete with wood floors, wood burning stone fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs. Prices are $89-$329.
Private Log Cabins are nestled throughout the grounds of the Lodge along the lakeside or the secluded in the timber. There are five cabins with several floor plans from which to choose including one room to a private tow-story with loft. Limestone fireplaces, Jacuzzi, deck/balcony, gas grills and full kitchens are just a few of the amenities. Prices; $169-$749.
Saving the best for last, if you want to get away from all the Lodge activity and people, drive 16 miles from Big Cedar to Dogwood Canyon and stay in one of the private rustic cabins you will not want to leave for at least a week!
Dogwood Canyon Cabins
Offer one to three bedroom cabins with full kitchens, wood-burning fireplaces, sofa sleepers, TV, VCR, gas grills and deck furniture. You can bring your motorcycle, bicycle or walk to explore the natural beauty of the canyon. Prices range from $149-$299.
If you try Big Cedar I would recommend you stay in the Falls Lodge for the first time so you can get a feel for the resort and the layout. Of course once spring riding season gets here you can make it a weekend trip on the bike, ride all day, play, party and have fun all night, and then start over the next day! If you travel on a weekend or holiday, Big Cedar does require a two-night minimum stay and all holiday and weekend reservations from Memorial Day through Labor Day require a three-night minimum stay. Pets are not allowed. Resort activities include a spa, fitness center, nature’s studio, marina, stables, and the Little Cedar Kids Club. For more information, check out the Big Cedar Lodge web site at www.big-cedar.com.
My last recommendation is so close to home there’s no excuse for “too far, not enough time.” Take a drive out to Village West in Kansas City, Kansas and book a room at the Chateau Avalon, a 62-room hotel catering to couples who are seeking a romantic getaway. The smell of freshly baked cookies greets guests as they walk through the door. Each room also features a bottle of chilled sparkling apple cider. Many rooms feature murals painted by professional artists. There are 24 theme rooms, including the Jesse James Escape, a New York Penthouse, an Egyptian Palace, Camelot, Mayan Rainforest and Monte Cristo, a three-floor suite. Rates are $149 to $399 per night, depending on the room selected and the night of the week. The Chateau Avalon web site is www.chateauavalon.net.
Developer Steve Beaumont is from Shawnee, Kansas, a graduate of The University of Kansas. He dreamed of building a one-of-a-kind destination resort hotel for more than five years. Steve said, “Even after being turned down by 50 banks over the two years, I didn’t give up. Perseverance always drives a vision. It absolutely was a learning experience. There are a lot of people who have drive, but it takes perseverance to get it done.” From the impressive lobby entrance to the spacious rooms it looks like Steve has more than accomplished his dream to provide and escape for Midwest couples.
Whew! Did I give you too many choices? Regardless of where you go or spend your Valentine weekend, have fun with that special person and always keep the spark of romance in your relationship. Be safe and Happy Valentines Day!
“Never rider faster than you angel can fly”
TIP OF THE MONTH: Attend the 4th World of Wheels Show February 15-17 at Bartle Hall and stop by our booth to say hi.