Romantic Road Trips
Continued (page 4 of 5)
After a couple of days on the River Tauber, get back on the road, this time making pit stops in Dinkelbühl (home to a famous Children’s Festival) and Nördlingen (which sits in a crater so moonlike, NASA has come to train). Finally, arrive at the highlight of your drive: Neuschwanstein (pronounced Noy-SCHVAN-schtine) Castle, a turreted manse built by Bavaria’s King Ludwig II in the late 1800s. Honeymooners are allowed to tour the princely palace, but be warned: You may experience déjà vu. The castle was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s royal home. Neuschwanstein is but a glance away at Hotel Müller Hohenschwangau, in Füssen, where you can spy the fairy-tale scene from your window. Doubles from $170, including breakfast, April to October; 011-49-836-281-1990, hotel-mueller.de.
Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake
"The prettiest Sunday-afternoon drive in the world": That’s what Sir Winston Churchill once called the journey from Niagara Falls to the very quaint, very English village of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Start your wanderings by tooling across the Peace Bridge, which connects Buffalo, New York, with Canada. You’ve just entered a land where the speed limit is designated in kilometers, currency pops out of the ATMs in rainbow colors, and there’s a good chance that native jazz singer Diana Krall is crooning a love song on the radio. Follow the signs past million-dollar homes and gurgling whirlpool rapids until mist starts coating the windshield and water starts roaring in your ears. That’s your cue to pull over and gaze upon that most extravagant of cascades, Niagara Falls. Over the years, developers have filled the eponymous town with kitschy wax museums, souvenir shops, and sparkling casinos. But it’s that awesome cataract, an ever-moving mountain of blues, greens, and whites that keeps those digital cameras snapping.
Later, slip back behind the wheel to travel the scenic stretch along the Niagara River toward Niagara-on-the-Lake. It’s only a 30-minute drive, so pause on the way to coo over the flutterers in the Butterfly Conservatory and pose in front of the Floral Clock (made entirely of seasonal blooms). When you arrive at the village, turn onto the main drag of Queen Street, an Anglophile’s dream of historic inns, natty shops, and mouthwatering bakeries—mmmm, butter tarts. Ready to toss back a couple? Pub and grub it at the Olde Angel Inn, a 200-year-old establishment known for cold brews and ghostly happenings.
Other quaffing options: Visit a vineyard along the Niagara Peninsula wine route, or check in to the Inn on the Twenty in the tiny town of Jordan. Don’t let the antiques and gas fireplaces in the 29 freshly renovated rooms fool you; this find, popular with hip Toronto weekenders, will win you over the moment the grape-seed-extract hits your skin in the spa—or, as soon as you taste the Niagara Valley Chardonnay, straight from the nearby Cave Spring Cellars. Doubles from $258, May through October; 800-701-8074, innonthetwenty.com.