5 romantic restaurants with character

When it comes to restaurants with romantic settings, the Baltimore and Annapolis area has its fair share.

Baltimore couple Oliver and Mandy Higgs fell in love with the Elkridge Furnace Inn's particular blend of history and romance more than a decade ago and chose it as the site for their wedding. Today, it remains a destination they love — and one of the region's more unique and romantic restaurants.

"It has a charm and warmth that, in combination with the well-preserved building and consistently outstanding food, make it a great place to celebrate special occasions,” Oliver says.

The Elkridge Furnace Inn is unique, but it is not the only restaurant in Maryland that is both romantic and distinctive. Here's a look at some of our favorite spots around the area to enjoy special meals in settings that are a little out of the ordinary.

Restaurant romantic Baldwin StationWBaldwin Station

In addition to a skilled kitchen, Baldwin Station in Sykesville boasts one of the most charming locations in the state. The restaurant is in an old railway station on The Old Main Line, the oldest railway in the country, and overlooks the Patapsco River.

"People have strong connections to the train station's history and ambiance," says owner Stuart Dearie. "The station, built in 1883, is full of romance and memories. Then, you throw in the river flowing past!"

Dearie's favorite tables for romance include those on the verandah, where the view of the tracks and river are best, and one particular table in the right corner of the largest dining room, where couples have privacy, even during a busy dinner service.

Baldwin Station, 7618 Main St., Sykesville; 410-795-1041, baldwinstation.com

Chart House

During a recent visit to Chart House in Annapolis, Hyattsville resident Shy Johnson spotted several perfectly romantic spots.

"They have areas with blue glass fire pits to sit by as a couple," she says. "And at night it is dim, so it's even more relaxing and romantic."

The lighting and fire pits create little blocks of intimacy in a space with high ceilings and windows framing a breathtaking view of downtown Annapolis. Originally a boathouse in what was a shipyard for John Trumpy & Sons, Chart House combines the best of several worlds — maritime history, a great view and excellent seafood.

Chart House, 300 Second St., Annapolis; 410-268-7166, chart-house.com

Click Next for three more romantic restaurants.

Elkridge Furnace InnRestaurants Romantic ElkridgeFurnaceWInn

The "charm and warmth" that wowed Oliver and Mandy Higgs are palpable throughout Elkridge Furnace Inn's many small dining rooms.

"There's a working fireplace in every dining room we have," says office manager Matthew Balan. "That's always nice to dine by."

Balan explains that the fireplaces were originally built out of necessity — since when the home was built, central heating was not yet available — and they have since been converted to gas (for ease of function).

The Inn's layout also lends itself to romance.

"The dining rooms on the tavern side of the mansion are pretty small, so there aren't a lot of people in them and they're never very noisy, which helps create an intimate setting," he says.

Elkridge Furnace Inn, 5745 Furnace Ave., Elkridge; 410-379-9336, elkridgefurnaceinn.com

Treaty of Paris at The Maryland Inn

Located in the basement of the Maryland Inn and dating back to the 1700s, Treaty of Paris in Annapolis is a romantic standout in a town filled with bits of history at every corner. Not only does the building exude 18th century charm, it also has all the hallmarks of a great date night spot.

"Nice fireplaces and low lights make it a cozy place," says restaurant supervisor Erkan Yurekli.

Dim lights and roaring fires are even better when paired with great food by Chef Tim Johnson and centuries of history all around.

Treaty of Paris, The Maryland Inn, 16 Church Circle, Annapolis; 410-216-6340, historicinnsofannapolis.com

Restaurant Romantic Peacock2 WPeacock Restaurant at the Inn at 202 Dover

Since it was built, around 1874, the building that houses Peacock Restaurant and The Inn at 202 Dover in Easton has served many purposes.

"It was originally a private home, many years ago," says Shelby Mitchell, a co-owner of both the Inn and the restaurant. "It was medical offices and apartments and it was very run down and neglected."

Thanks to Mitchell and her partners, the space has been returned to its former glory, with many original architectural elements and plenty of hidden spots perfect for romantic assignations.

"We have tables along what used to be the porch of the building, where the lighting is soft, and some particularly nice tables set off in the corners," says Mitchell. All perfect spots to enjoy a private moment — and Peacock's food, which Mitchell promises is "interesting, innovative and pleasing both to the eye and the plate."

Peacock Restaurant, The Inn at 202 Dover, 202 East Dover St., Easton; 866-450-7600; www.innat202dover.com

By Kit Waskom Pollard

For more date night ideas, visit ChesapeakeFamily.com/lifestyle/out-on-the-town.