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August 20, 2014

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Love is in the air

... and on the ground at these romantically named locations
By DIANE SLAWYCH, SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO SUN


Many marriage-minded suitors in Tennessee pop the question atop Lover's Leap.

Who wouldn't want to take their "significant other" to a place called Love City, Love Beach or Loveland, on Valentine's Day? This weekend, plenty of couples will be doing just that -- travelling to uniquely named islands, resorts and castles, which, as it turns out, are located throughout North America and the Caribbean. Here's a sample:

LOVE BEACH, BAHAMAS

Cable Beach is easily the best known stretch of sand on New Providence Island. Love Beach, on the other hand, is a favourite among locals who like to keep quiet about its charm. The beach, located about 19 km west of downtown Nassau, has stunning turquoise water, good snorkeling and is rarely crowded -- ideal for a romantic afternoon by the sea. You'll find Love Beach across from Sea Gardens and next to the brightly painted cottages and huts of Compass Point, which, incidentally, is said to have one of the best restaurants on the island.

LOVER'S LEAP, TENNESSEE

Here's one way to impress your partner: Show him or her seven states in one afternoon! It's possible at Rock City, a lush garden attraction 9 km from downtown Chattanooga. Aside from caves, waterfalls, a walking trail and soaring rock formations, Lover's Leap is considered one of the highlights. Situated high atop Lookout Mountain, it affords a view of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia!

They call it the "See Seven States" view and it's been popular with romantic types for decades.

"We've had several marriage proposals at Lover's Leap, and a lot of couples mark their anniversaries here," says Karen Baker, Rock City's Marketing Manager.

Lover's Leap gets its name from a legend involving a Cherokee maiden named Nacoochee who escapes with her lover, Sautee, a brave from a rival tribe. When the two are discovered, Sautee is thrown from a cliff. To her father's shock, Nacoochee decides to follow suit and leaps to her own death rather than live without her one true love. Visit www.seerockcity.com or call 1-800-854-0675.

LOVELAND CASTLE, OHIO

Ohio may not be the romance capital of the U.S. But it does have an historic museum castle named Loveland that's worth a visit. It's located in the City of Loveland, north of Cincinnati, and was designed in 1929 by Harry D. Andrews, an author and notary public. Andrews worked as a nurse in France during the First World War. Building this full-scale replica of a medieval Normanesque castle became his life's work.

The structure's distinctive architectural details include four towers, domed ceilings and a dry moat. Visitors can tour 17 rooms including a great hall, banquet hall, chapel and dungeon. There's lots to learn about the castle's history and resident ghosts and you can view an extensive collection of period weaponry on guided tours. The castle is open on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


"LOVE CITY," U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

You won't find Love City on a map. That's because it's a nickname for the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The name was coined decades ago by a British Virgin Islands' disc jockey who began the trend of popularizing local island nicknames: St. Thomas became "Rock City," St. Croix was called "Twin City." But, according to the free local tourist guide, This Week, it seems no island nickname is used with more regularity than "Love City."

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact St. John is one of the most secluded islands in the Caribbean. Two-thirds of it is national park and the rest is comprised of a dozen or so beaches, several of which are popular with couples, including Salt Pond Bay, Bay Beach and Cinnamon Bay.

LOVELAND SKI AREA, COLORADO

If the idea of getting married in a snow suit on a Colorado mountaintop is appealing, you'll want to book your ticket to Loveland Ski Area in Georgetown, west of Denver.

But be quick about it. Couples can tie the knot or renew their vows at the 13th annual Mountaintop Wedding, one of Loveland's most popular events. It takes place this Saturday at the Ptarmagin Roost Cabin, elevation 3,791 metres, located at the top of Chair #2 at Loveland Basin.

All couples take part in one big ceremony, which lasts about half an hour. When it's over, participants and guests ski or take a chair lift down the mountain to a reception area with food, drink and music!

"Wear your best 'ski-wedding' attire," advises Loveland spokesman John Sellers, "there will be a prize for the best dressed couple!" See www.skiloveland.com/wedding.

Toronto / Camaguey 297$ tx 209$
Toronto / Panama 397$ tx 201$
Toronto / Puerto Plata 209$ tx 319$
Vancouver / Puerto Plata 404$
Calgary / Puerto Vallarta 386$


















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