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Published: Sunday, 5/21/2006

Romance: Cozy locations beckon couples


Toledo is for lovers.

Well, it could be, anyway.

I think it does pretty well, said Carolyn Schermbeck, senior vice president of the Greater Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau. I think there s lots of options to choose from.

For her, a romantic getaway could be as close as a trip to the Toledo Symphony and her favorite restaurant.

It could be a visit to the Toledo Museum of Art for It s Friday (make sure you duck into the Cloisters there for a more intimate atmosphere) or some cool jazz at Murphy s Place downtown. But there are more traditional getaways waiting for area residents without having to get away too far.

Nothing s better for romance than the sight of the setting sun on shimmering water, which is why the Sandpiper offers its Sunset and City Lights Cruise.

The river is beautiful at night ... It s like a fairy land, said the boat s owner, Mary Dalby.

The Sandpiper is a 100-person vessel docked downtown that resembles an old canal boat, though most public rides have no more than 60 people on board, she said. This cruise floats past Walbridge Park around sunset and shows off the gleaming city lights of downtown after dark. Couples are invited to bring a bottle of wine to help them enjoy the evening, a casual affair that includes snacks and love songs piped on board.

It is offered Sunday evenings in June, July, August, and September from 8 to 10 p.m. The cost is $17 per person and reservations are required. For more information, call 419-537-1212 or go to sandpiperboat.com.

The Lake Erie Islands are another option. Put-in-Bay has 17 beds and breakfasts, many of which are romantic, secluded, and couples-only, according to Rachel Klimentov, marketing manager for the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau. There s plenty to do kayaking, parasailing, biking and the Heineman Winery has tours and a garden where you can sit outside and enjoy some good vino. Not to mention the beaches and boardwalk.

For more information, go to lake-erie.com or put-in-bay.com.

Maumee Bay State Park in eastern Lucas County also has a boardwalk and a sea wall that offer a stunning view of the sunset. People have found all kinds of romantic spots at the park, said Jim Brower, park manager, including out on the beach in the early evening watching the sun set or sitting on top of the big hill watching the lake.

Couples have lots of possible recreational opportunities, including biking, golfing, or swimming. They can stay at the resort, where rooms can run between $79 and $179.

For more information, go to maumeebaystatepark.org or maumeebayresort.com.

If you re looking for something indoors, lots of area hotels can help with romantic offerings.

Belamere Suites in Perrysburg makes it easy to get away without leaving town. You don t have to pack. You don t have to buy gas. It makes for a very nice place to go, said owner John Kranjec.

The suites arranged like townhouses with no hallways offer Jacuzzi tubs, walk-in showers, and masseuses who will come to the hotel. Special packages include candles placed around the suite and rose petals laid out on the bed in the shape of a heart. Suites with their own Jacuzzis start at $119 per night. Rooms with their own pools start at $219. For more information, call 419-874-2233 or go to www.belameresuites.com.

For those who don t mind getting away a little farther, there s always a reasonable road trip to places like Chicago or Traverse City. Cleveland could offer a beautiful night in Little Italy with some fabulous food.

Of course, all this is just something to get you started. The rest is up to you.

Contact Ryan E. Smith at: ryansmith@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.

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