Romantic Getaways for Valentine's Day

Enjoy a sunset view at one of these romantic destination spots. (Image Credit:

By Serena Norr

With Valentine’s Day a few days away we thought it was the perfect time to inspire couples to take a trip to one of these romantic cities. Renowned for their beauty, exciting amenities and relaxing vibe, you and your sweetie will love venturing away from home – not to mention enjoying a much-better alternative to chocolate and roses. And who knows, your exciting getaway may just inspire an upcoming relocation.

1. Honolulu – With miles of sandy white beaches and clear water, it’s obvious to see why Honolulu is a romantic city. Located on Oahu, Honolulu is a popular travel destination where you and your loved one can enjoy restaurants, museums, beautiful lodging along the Pacific and the areas natural attractions. Travel + Leisure magazine also dubbed it as one of the most relaxing destinations to visit.

2. Charleston – A beautiful southern city seeped in a rich history, you and your sweetie can enjoy the beaches, golf, shopping, or fine dining at one of Charleston‘s numerous restaurants.

3. Napa Valley – A weekend in wine country is surely going an exciting romantic venture for you and your loved one. Research vineyards before you arrive in Napa and expect to find some unexpected places along the way.

4. Santa Fe – A romantic Southwest destination, Santa Fe is filled with gorgeous deserts, rich art and culture, delicious food and romantic adobe architecture that was also recently ranked number one for peace and quiet by Travel + Leisure magazine.

5. San Francisco – The beautiful City by the Bay is the ultimate destination for a romantic getaway. Whether it’s a visit one of the areas numerous museums or visits or a day visiting the Fisherman’s Wharf or the Golden Gate Bridge, couples will find something exciting to do in San Francisco.

6. San Diego – As a beautiful coastal city, couples will love exploring the beaches, camping, hiking, or taking a romantic sunset gondola cruise while in San Diego. The city is also home to numerous museums and galleries and features options for world-class dining and dancing.

7. New Orleans – Couples will love checking out the “Big Easy” for amazing live music, delicious cuisine like crawfish or gumbo and a lively vibe. Explore the historic Le Pavillon hotel or take a stroll along the gorgeous French Quarter for a laid-back and vibrant getaway.

8. Miami – With beautiful weather and gorgeous beaches, Miami is a lively Latin city where you and your sweetheart can enjoy your days in the sun and your nights heating up the dance floor at one of the cities numerous clubs, bars or restaurants.

9. New York – The city that never sleeps certainly has much to offer you and your mate. You can choose to spend your days shopping, sightseeing or exploring at one of the areas museums. You can also take in a Broadway show, concert or dine at one of the best restaurants in the world.

10. Aspen – A ski lover’s paradise, Aspen is the backdrop of amazing mountain scenery, fresh alpine air, recreation, seclusion and surrounding historic towns. You can choose to stay at a luxury resort or a cozy mountain cabins, as you enjoy a week of beautiful scenery, hiking, nightlife and of course skiing.

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The Best Real Estate Blogs in San Francisco

Few cities take their real estate more seriously than San Francisco, so I figured I’d come across some outstanding real estate agent blogs when I poked around the offerings there from local agents.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m doing a virtual tour of real estate agent blogs nationwide, looking to see who’s doing the best job of building blogs that are useful for people who are thinking of relocating to that area.

Real estate agent blogs can be useful to learn more about a city, of course, but they’re even more useful when looking at particular neighborhoods in that city — these blogs tend to be micro-focused on neighborhoods that an agent serves.

It can be hard to find solid neighborhood content, other than the same old tired data you’ll find repeated on a lot of neighborhood Websites that aggregate this information. A good real estate agent blog can tell you a lot about a community. 

A few other criteria we look at:

Market data. People who are relocating want to know average sales prices, sales volumes, days on market, etc. Agents need to give it to them.

Explanatory articles about real estate, whether the basics or current issues. People looking for a home come from varied backgrounds as far as real estate knowledge, so the agent should attempt to give them information about a variety of real estate issues. For example, blogs about buying a foreclosed home are very useful in this market.

So with that, here are the top real estate agent blogs in San Francisco:

The Front Steps

The Front Steps from Alex Clark is a great guide to San Francisco real estate, including market observations, interesting tidbits on the city itself, nice photography and a snarky style that makes for interesting reading.

This is definitely not your typical real estate agent blog – and we can be thankful for that.

Sometimes agents can take the blog thing a little too seriously and never dare show a little leg when writing. Clark has no problem with that. His walkabout category is a particularly fun and insightful read.

Lively comments section as well. It’s the kind of blog I’d read just to see what’s going on San Francisco real estate wise, even if I wasn’t moving there.  

The Marin Real Estate Guide

The Marin Real Estate Guide from Ginger Wilcox is a solid entry point for anyone who’s looking at real estate in tony Marin County. Her Marin Neighborhood breakdown is helpful for folks who don’t know the area, and her market reports page is useful for someone who wants to check in occasionally to see how the market is doing.

Bonus points for solid design – not something you always find on real estate agent blogs, lamentably. (So many sites have good content but lousy design. Agents: spend a few bucks to keep people from feeling like they’re transported back to the late ’90s when they hit your site.)

Wilcox excels in explanatory articles, like this recent translation of a Fed statement and its effect on mortgages.

Absolutely Foster City Blog

 Absolutely Foster City Blog from Jim Minkey gives you a nice feel for the community, with a great mix of local events including contests, local school ratings and discussions about local events. Again, consumers looking to move to your community want to get an idea of your community is about. A Christmas lights contest might seem goofy, but hey, it gives you an idea of the community spirit.

I like this little insight into real estate agent life, as Minkey recounts a debate he had with an overheated homebuyer.

Blogs are about personality, and Minkey’s has loads.

Living Well in San Mateo

Living Well in San Mateo from Raymond Stoklosa, Rebecca Williamson, and Chris Williamson does a nice job breaking down the local neighborhoods in San Mateo (like Hallmark), as well as some real estate basics stuff for novice homebuyers or just homebuyers who could need some brushups about current real estate issues, including this post on questions to ask when buying a short sale

The White Oaks Blog

The White Oaks Blog ( from Chuck Gillooley focuses on the White Oaks neighborhood of San Carlos. In addition to the usual postings on market data and interesting properties for sale, Gillooley takes a particularly close look at issues affecting the community, especially the schools. He also does a very nice job writing about local community issues, as well as issues affecting the real estate market, like this post on home appraisals not meshing with sales prices, and the effect it can have on the transaction.

San Mateo Real Estate Blog
Vicki Moore’s “Official” San Mateo Real Estate Blog is an interesting, newspaperish-feel that does a good job in covering all things real estate (though we’re unsure how it attained its ‘official’ status, but let’s not quibble). This is a nice post on Pedro Point.

Marin Real Estate Blog

Marin Real Estate Blog from Mark Lomas offers good and frequent updates on market conditions, as well as some reports on goings-on in the community.

Read about the best blogs in:


Los Angeles

Minneapolis/St. Paul


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