Romantic Escapes in North Carolina

The Duke MansionRomantic Escapes in North Carolina

The Duke Mansion, in Charlotte, was built more than 100 years ago, and today offers 20 luxurious guest rooms

You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to seek a romantic escape in North Carolina. Like a dozen roses, here are 12 top romantic getaways from the coast to the mountains:

The Coast

The Castle B&B and Courtyard Villas
Ocracoke Island
The Castle B&B and Courtyard Villas is a unique venue for a romantic getaway. Decoy carvers and boat builders erected the 9,000-square-foot historic Colonial American mansion over three decades and this picturesque manor house with cedar shakes and seven gabled dormers sits on two flower-covered acres. Will it be one of the 11 rooms in the bed and breakfast or one of eight villas in the adjacent courtyard?

The White Doe Inn Bed & Breakfast
Hear that? That’s the sea breeze. Manteo’s quiet Queen Anne-style White Doe Inn gently tugs at the heartstrings. In-room massage services, champagne, a four-course served breakfast, afternoon tea and sherry, and a self-serve coffee bar. There’s also a hidden garden and wrap-around porches. The waterfront is just two blocks away.

Marsh Harbour Inn
Bald Head Island
Maybe you need a little separation. As in: from the mainland. The Marsh Harbour Inn on Bald Head Island adds a dash of Shaker simplicity to its compelling cocktail of bright sunlight and gentle sea breeze. Accessible only by ferry, but eminently worth it, you can select a room overlooking the harbor or the Cape Fear seashore. The downstairs sitting room, with its overstuffed furniture, is designed for curling up with a book or your loved one. Your stay comes with the use of a golf cart.

Inner Banks Inn
Located in Edenton’s historic district and within walking distance of the waterfront, the romantic Inner Banks Inn comprises three restored buildings – with eight rooms each in The Pack House barn and The Proprietor’s Southern Victorian mansion, and two rooms in The Tillie Bond Cottage, which is also pet-friendly. The two of you will love the three-course breakfast included in the rate, as well as a complimentary split of wine awaiting you in your room and 24-hour access to a guest kitchen with snacks and beverages.

Inner Banks Inn

Inner Banks Inn

The Inner Banks Inn offers a peaceful retreat while also being close to downtown attractions

The Piedmont

Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn & Garden
The romantic twosome in the Raleigh area can take a short drive to historic Fuquay-Varina, where the healing waters of a mineral spring have been rejuvenating travelers since 1858. Romance-minded couples can stay at the Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn & Garden, a Colonial Revival Landmark Inn set in the historic district. The restored inn features five accommodations options, including the especially private and romantic Carriage House overlooking the gardens.

The Fearrington House Inn
Known for its continental staff and character and reflected in embellishments like heated towel bars and in-room spa services, the Fearrington House Inn is a very romantic destination within Fearrington Village. With a Garden House offering a library-like atmosphere, a romantic Sun Room for quiet twosome time, and a village of interesting shops, dining and more, it’s likely the two of you won’t leave the property.

Thomas Walton Manor
The Thomas Walton Manor was conceived as a replica of a James River plantation by New Yorker John Weaver in 1939. This romantic inn offers a uniquely Southern elegance. Rooms have been furnished with traditional antiques and fine fabrics. An English conservatory offers a view of Charles Gillette’s lavish 1939 gardens. If horses are your or your partner’s passion, a side trip to nearby St. Andrews College Equestrian Center should not be missed.

The Duke Mansion
The largest Colonial revival home in North Carolina, The Duke Mansion is so well hidden on its 4.5 acres in historic Myers Park that passers-by beyond the grounds’ green curtain scarcely know of its existence. Each of the 20 overnight rooms has been decorated independently and many of the rooms offer private porches. The solarium, in which James B. Duke planned his philanthropic visions, is ideal for contemplative moments.

The Mountains

The Swag
Situated way up a winding road more than 5,000 feet into the mountains, The Swag resort features an array of quiet upscale rooms, suites, cabins and amenities right next to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It consistently ranks as one of the most romantic destinations in the country by leading travel publications. Keep in mind that it's a seasonal inn, open from late April to late November.

The Swag mountaintop resort hot tub

The Swag

Among the many amenities at The Swag is an outdoor hot tub with amazing views

Gideon Ridge Inn
Blowing Rock
A Blue Ridge favorite of long standing, the Gideon Ridge Inn has always been about reconnecting – with a significant other, with yourself, with things overlooked. Built as a private summer home, Gideon Ridge still has that homey feel, right down to the stone fireplace in the library and the possibility of a romantic room with a gas log fireplace or whirlpool tub.

Haywood Park Hotel & Atrium
Do the two of you prefer a classic boutique hotel rendered with artistic flair in the heart of downtown Asheville? The soap dishes in each of the 33 rooms were handmade by a local artist and the rooms feature many other one-of-a-kind appointments. The suites in this former department store are especially spacious and romantic. This is grand hotel living, but on an intimate scale.

Highland Lake Inn & Resort
Flat Rock
How does total escape on a 26-acre country preserve wrapped around a private lake sound? Highland Lake Inn & Resort – once a boys’ military camp as well as Catholic girls’ camp – gives you mountain ambience with easy accessibility. Try the secluded Primrose Cottage, and snuggle up next to its two-sided fireplace (or in the whirlpool bath). Many of the Inn’s other rooms also have fireplaces, and there are individual cottages, as well. Enjoy fine dining Monday through Sunday and the Inn’s signature breakfasts every day.

Freda Cameron and Lynn Seldon contributed to this story.


There’s much to see and do in North Carolina, so read on.

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