Valentine’s Day inspiration

love-opera-victoria-bakerValentine’s Day. Some people think it’s a commercialized mockery of love while others think it’s a chance to celebrate it. But, maybe it’s simply whatever you make of it.

Most people celebrate with a romantic dinner which is a wonderful idea. But what if you made this Valentine’s Day the most romantic ever? After all, if you’re going to celebrate the holiday you might as well go all out in doing it. Perhaps the words of James Dean are apt in this situation “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today!”

Romance isn’t something tangible, literature is full of it but sometimes those of us in the real world need a little inspiration, sometimes we need to step out of the humdrum routine of everyday life and have a little getaway. Sometimes it’s inconvenient to travel too far so I’ll share with you my favorite Valentine’s Day weekend getaway in the Northeast.

Once home to the Astors and Vanderbilts whose Golden Age mansions still grace the Atlantic Ocean, Newport is a unique city: modern yet completely at ease with its former grandeur. It’s a city I’ve long had a special relationship with.

In Newport last summer, I stayed at The Chanler, a luxury boutique hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I had often walked past it as I strolled along the famous cliff walk on former trips to Newport years ago. Majestic and grand, its French Belle Époque façade is the kind that leaves passersby mesmerized and I was no different. Staying at The Chanler is more than just a hotel experience. It’s a journey back in time to an era when elegance, poise and manners mattered. And yet, the ultra-modern amenities keep this Grande dame as young and relevant as when she first stepped into Newport Society back in 1873 when John Winthrop Chanler first created her as a summer home for the then steep price of $30,000. To learn more log onto

I stayed in the Louis XVI Signature room. The royal blue color scheme, the four poster bed whose majestic grandeur would have made Marie-Antoinette herself a little envious, the ocean view accessible from the room’s private balcony all contrived to make this, in my mind, one of the most romantic places in the United States.

As I write these words I know that more than one person is planning a special Valentine’s Day and debating as to the best place to enjoy it. Perhaps your reading of this piece is a sign that The Chanler should be on your wish list, it is after all the ultimate New England escape.

Ladies, you will awaken the princess dormant inside each one of us and gentlemen, surprising your significant other with this kind of getaway will put you in her good graces for a while to come. If you were looking for a unique Valentine’s Day idea I hope my suggestion helps, if it makes even one couple’s Valentine’s more special, then it will have been well worth sharing.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected] 

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