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.
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 a spa suite and give in to "Sugar Glaze", a body scrub using their signature ocean rose foaming body polish. At Daniel Webster Inn’s Beach Plum Spa, the “Girls Time Together” package includes a salt scrub, facial, massage and cranberry spa pedicure—plus a martini to toast the perfect day. 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? Afterwards, 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. In Yarmouth Port, those who pine for romance will fall in love with the cozy Lamb & Lion, 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 Lower Cape, Brewster by the Sea has it all—crisp style and one of the best farm-to-table breakfasts around. Just a romantic ferry ride away on Nantucket Island is the Jared Coffin House, a historic mansion-turned-hotel which exudes the classic elegance the Island is known for. Toast to love in their on-site steakhouse, Nantucket Prime.
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 Roadhouse Café in Hyannis, a rustic seafood and steakhouse where the setting is as inspired as the cuisine. In Brewster, romance is alive and well at Spinnaker, a Mediterranean-chic boutique restaurant with a menu inspired by the owner/chef's European travels. If you find yourself at Inn of Cape Cod (see above), the gorgeous Old Yarmouth Inn is just across the way. One of the Cape’s favorite romantic restaurants, you can follow dessert with a walk under the stars back to your room. 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, Chef Feufeu’s Bleu French bistro 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. :)