Get Away Without the Kids

Looking for a kid-free vacation, but want to stay in the Anne Arundel, St. Mary’s, Prince George’s or Baltimore area? Try a local bed and breakfast for a Valentine’s Day full of romantic relaxation. The advertisers say Valentine’s Day should be celebrated with dinner, dancing and diamonds. Maybe jetting off to a Carribbean island or to a high-end hotel, where the bathrooms are always clean and chocolate-covered strawberries magically appear... But for most parents, the Super Bowl of Romance involves fighting for a babysitter, then a rushed dinner so you can get home at a reasonable hour. Or perhaps a nice dinner prepared at home—one that gets interrupted by the pitter-patter of little feet coming down the stairs hours after said feet (and the body they are attached to) was supposed to be in bed.

Sometimes, to create romance, you have to get away for longer than a three-course meal. But parents-only vacations seem to bring up more stress than they’re worth: Where to leave the kids? With whom? Can we afford it? Can we really relax if we’re far away from home? But getting away, partner to partner, is one of the best things you can do for your marriage. Taking a vacation from parenthood gives you a chance to stop being “Mom and Dad” and reconnect with the individuals you used to be. You remember them. They liked hanging out and talking for hours, without once using the word “poopy.” Take a vacation from kids—and not just yours. Take a vacation from all kids by using a local B&B; many don’t accept young children at all.

Staying at a bed and breakfast gives you a cozier, more intimate atmosphere than a typical hotel; you also get more individualized service and attention. Plus, B&Bs vary from rural escapes to urban hotspots, so you can tailor your getaway to what you’d like to do. “A B&B is absolutely unique, says Cory Bonney, innkeeper at the five-room Inn at Horn Point in Annapolis. “Every room is different, even within a B&B.”

When you stay at a B&B, “You’re with people who care about hospitality, who care about what you need,” continues Bonney. If you’re looking for romance, “we’ll do chocolate-covered strawberries or any special foods.” Bonney has often done a trail of flower petals leading into a room, or placed a bouquet to celebrate a special occasion.

“Innkeepers … we’re the concierge. When it comes to making dinner reservations, or a special carriage ride through downtown Annapolis, or a limousine--we have contacts to do that sort of thing.”

While the Inn at Horn Point is located in Eastport, giving easy walking access to Annapolis, The Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast is for those who really want to escape. Located in Hollywood in St. Mary’s County, innkeepers Jim and Susan Dexter have constructed an eight-bedroom house that, while only five years old, has a Victorian air about it. And peace and quiet rules here. “As a rule, we don’t rent to people with children,” says Jim Dexter. (The exception is when a family rents out the entire in, such as for a wedding. “We tend to couples who are here for privacy.”

“We have a lot of couples who live within 20 miles and they have somebody watch the children and they take a night and steal off to themselves,” he continues. And here you can get even more private than at a typical B&B. While breakfast is served communally at an Amish-made table for 16, one room takes exclusivity to a new level. “The Penthouse” is a two-level room with a private entrance, sitting room and sleeping loft with a king-sized bed. “Someone could be in the room and no one else would even know they’re there,” says Dexter. The Victorian Candle also offers a special “Romance Package” that includes two nights, two breakfasts, one dinner, choice of beverage and a dozen roses.

You can’t do any job if you never get a break; that includes parenting. Recharge your batteries by getting away to a bed you don’t have to make, a breakfast you don’t have to cook and a room you don’t have to clean.

Your Excuses Debunked

We can’t find an overnight babysitter.
Swap nights with friends. You get away for one night and they watch your kids. A week or two later, you switch. Just don’t fight over who gets to go first.

We don’t have the money.
B&Bs tend to be cheaper than hotels; plus B&Bs are often located in places where there are no hotels. To cut costs, try to get away for a weeknight—they’re usually cheaper.

We don’t have the time.
You have the time for soccer practice, homework help, dentist’s visits and “American Idol.” Now is the time to invest your time into something that pays real dividends—your partnership.

I don’t want to stay at some country-cute inn.
You don’t have to. Go to bbonline.com/md/ to search B&Bs by region. You’ll discover that the decors aren’t limited by anything other than the innkeepers’ imaginations. There you can also search by amenities like hot tubs (the Victorian Candle has one), eco-friendly B&Bs and even kid-friendly ones. For next time.