Some love to hate Valentine’s Day, but really, what’s not to like? Candy, check. Flowers, check. Cupcakes, come on. Sure, it’s traditionally for sweethearts, but it’s also a fun time to celebrate the other loves in your life—family, friends, plus that lifelong love affair with the one who’s always there for you, still as gorgeous as the day you met, and forever holds a place in your heart: Cape Cod.
Let’s pay homage to our favorite ways to get swept off your feet by the Cape all over again, whether or not you believe in fairy tales. (Note: Many of the experiences mentioned below must be booked in advance, so be sure to call ahead or visit the business website!)
The story: Princess falls asleep for 100 years and can only be awakened by the kiss of true love.
Real-life fairytale: Bring your own true love, be it soulmate or girlfriends, to the spas of the Cape for some indulgence more restorative than a hundred years of sleep. The Spa at Chatham Bars Inn is the ultimate retreat—book an ocean view suite and give in to their "Winter Glow" Facial, Nirvana Stress Relief Massage or "Warm Winter Radiance" Body Scrub. Once you're reinvigorated, enjoy a special Valentine’s menu (and panoramic ocean views) at the inn's romantic STARS restaurant (pictured above) February 11-12. At Dan'l Webster Inn’s Beach Plum Spa, the "Girls Time Together" package includes a salt scrub, facial, massage, and cranberry spa pedicure—plus a cosmo martini to toast the experience. For couples, the “Romance” package includes a stay at the inn. How about a side-by-side Kiehl’s deep tissue massage at Shui Spa at Crowne Pointe Historic Inn in Provincetown? Afterward, make use of the spa’s Mineral Tub and Himalayan Salt Sauna, complimentary with every treatment.
The story: Child enters house and finds everything too small or too big, or too hot or too cold, or too hard or too soft, or—love at last!— just right.
Real life fairytale: Cut right to the chase and find perfection at one of the Cape’s dream-worthy inns or B&Bs. At Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn in Harwich, the specialty Kingsdown beds are so luxurious, you will want to buy your own and have it shipped to your home. Those who pine for romance will fall in love with the cozy Lamb & Lion Inn, a lovingly restored 1740 farmhouse in the heart of quaint Barnstable Village (the inn is also pet-friendly if you can't seem to part with your furry friend on Valentine's Day). On the Upper Cape, The Coonamessett has it all—crisp style and sun-filled luxury king-sized guest rooms; it's also adjacent to Eli's Tavern, a great gathering spot for cocktails and contemporary regional cuisine.
Hansel and Gretel
The story: Brother and sister get lost in the woods, then discover a candy gingerbread house (be still our hearts!), which turns out to be owned by a witch.
Real-life fairytale: This always seems to be a story about the lengths one will go to for truly outstanding food. Look no further than The West End in Hyannis, a stylish eatery (think glam meets speakeasy) serving locally sourced cuisine and craft cocktails. In Dennis, romance is alive and well at The Pheasant, a boutique restaurant with a menu featuring seasonally-inspired shareable dishes and an impressive selection of natural wines and craft beer. Speaking of dessert, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you don't indulge in some of the delectable homemade chocolates from Kandy Korner, Cape Cod Chocolatier, and Chatham Candy Manor (bonus points if you visit them all!)
The story: Girl’s dream comes true for a night, but she loses her glass slipper, which helps the prince find and rescue her.
Real-life fairytale: You need great shoes. Gather your gang of valentines for a day at Mashpee Commons and shop to your heart’s delight (a stop at Sachs Jewelers is a must). If those valentines are of the very short sort, make those bowling shoes. Lanes Bowl and Bistro, still at Mashpee Commons, is a fun family afternoon at the alley. (No kids necessary; it’s also an ideal date spot.) For the perfect ending, Estia Taverna (featuring classic Greek cuisine with a modern twist), or Italophile-favorite Siena restaurant are merely steps away, even if you feel like you’ve been whisked away to Europe.
Ride off into the Cape sunset. Live happily ever after. :)