Editor’s Note: We welcome new travel columnist Jennifer Campbell this month. A partner and travel consultant with Explorations, Jennifer will be writing about getaways close to home and across the globe.

There is nothing like the prospect of an ice storm in February to focus Atlantans on a change of scenery. Couple that with the romance of Valentine’s Day, and you’ve got a perfect reason for a weekend away.  It turns out, an escape may be closer than you think – there are great travel options in our own back yard.

Serenbe Inn in Palmetto is quickly becoming known as the “Hamptons of Atlanta.” Less than an hour away, stay at the Inn, dine at The Farmhouse restaurant, enjoy a massage from BLUE Medspa and check out the charming livestock on Serenbe farm.

Across town, but still just an hour away, Barnsley Gardens offers a romantic escape as well.  Choose a gorgeous room or suite, or book an entire cottage for the coziest of getaways.  Two restaurants and a beer garden provide unique dining options and the spa’s 10 treatment rooms offer a quiet respite from your hurried world.

Just outside of Knoxville and a 3½-hour drive from Atlanta, Blackberry Farm is the epicure’s delight.  In the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, the 4,200-acre estate offers a world of food, wine and relaxation or adventure!  Be as active as you like – biking, horseback riding, fishing. Or, simply sit by the fire and enjoy the fruits – literally – of a 180,000-bottle wine cellar.

Still dreaming of the white sands of the Caribbean but want to avoid the airport? Atlanta beach lovers can always drive the five-plus hours to lovely Alys Beach on Florida’s Panhandle. Rent a house for the weekend, and enjoy the Spanish architecture, white-ridged rooftops, private pools and pristine beaches. Take advantage of an abundance of dining options, or grab a great bottle of wine, visit the local market and create your own meal in your vacation home.

Wherever you decide to go – enjoy, relax and experience!

Contact Jennifer at Jennifer@explorationsltd.com.

Be sure to register to win a romantic Valentine’s weekend getaway to Tybee Island. Details are this link.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.