Think outside that box of chocolates! There are other ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A romantic getaway for two is ideal, not just for young lovers but for any age.
Like the idea but don’t know where to start? Here’s a little help. Pick up the phone or go online and book a cabin for two at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, just south of Branson. Then start planning all the extras that will customize your adventure. Make it sexy and sensual or outdoorsy and active — whatever fits your personalities.
If you’ve ever been to Big Cedar, you know that the entire place oozes romance. While the lodge rooms are lovely, the private cabins are the most fun. So, splurge for a cabin; you’ll be glad you did. You might be tempted to just hole up in your cozy cabin for the weekend, but there is a lot to see and do that will lure you out to explore your surroundings.
Need to unwind, relax and detox? Head for the Cedar Creek Spa and Salon at Big Cedar. Just entering the soothing atmosphere of the spa helps you decompress. The hand-hewn timber ceilings, natural stone floors, hand-crafted stained glass and other design details set the scene for a day of pampering.
The indoor grotto pool is softly lit by candles perched in nooks on the stone walls. Going from the warm pool water to the invigorating cold therapy of the ice room and back will rejuvenate your system. There are saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs, as well as private open-air showers. A complete menu of massages, facials and other treatments is available.
Maybe you’re more of an outdoorsy couple. Fishing, hiking, horseback riding — it’s all there waiting for you. If golf is your game, you’re in luck. Five different pro courses make up Big Cedar Lodge Nature Links. Be sure to check the weather forecast before planning any outdoor fun.
You’ll want to reserve one day to explore Top of the Rock, the sister property next door to Big Cedar. Hop in an electric cart and explore Lost Canyon Cave and nature trail, pausing to admire the views of Table Rock Lake. Don’t miss the outstanding Native American art and artifact collections in the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum. For convenience, take the loop shuttle to and from Big Cedar and Top of the Rock.
Another option is a day trip to nearby Dogwood Canyon nature park, where the wildlife tram tour loops into Arkansas and goes past herds of bison, elk and Texas longhorns. Or you could hop on a Segway for a guided tour or rent a bicycle and explore on your own.
Chances are you’ll find yourself planning your activities around the dining options so you can sample as many of the eateries at Big Cedar and Top of the Rock as possible.
Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at Devil’s Pool restaurant, featuring Southern home-style cooking. The rustic log interior with hand-wrought chandeliers and antique furnishings is casual by day and elegant by night. For an extra-special, fine-dining experience, consider Osage Restaurant at Top of the Rock. The dining room offers a stunning view of the surrounding Ozarks, while the decor features Native American artwork.
For contemporary Mexican cuisine in a casual setting, visit Arnie’s Barn, which is literally a barn from Arnold Palmer’s hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, which was dismantled and transported to the Ozarks, then reassembled by local Amish craftsmen. Be sure to time your Top of the Rock visit to be at the Buffalo Bar at sunset, for a bagpipe performance and the firing of a Civil War cannon.
Guests arriving on Valentine’s Day will be greeted with complimentary roses.
Both Osage Restaurant and Buffalo Bar at Top of the Rock will offer a special 4-course Romance Dinner Package on Feb. 14 for $85 per person. The regular menu will not be available that night. At Big Cedar, Devil’s Pool will offer a 3-course Romance Dinner Package on Feb. 14 for $69 per person. The regular menu also will be available that night. Reservations are required for either package.
On both Feb. 14 and 15, the Not-So-Newlywed Game Night will be offered in the Table Rock Event Room at Big Cedar Fun Mountain, at 6 p.m. Couples will test their knowledge of their partners in a series of question rounds to determine how well they know — or don’t know — each other. The cost, which includes refreshments, is $20 per couple; participants must be 21 or older.
To commemorate this Valentine getaway, select a memento in the shops at either property. And it couldn’t hurt to top it all off with the aforementioned box of chocolates.