You romantic rascals. The candles are lit, the wine’s uncorked, the flowers arranged in a nice little vase and, if you turn your head just right, you can still watch the basketball game on the big-screen TV.
Bzzzt! Wrong. Whether you’re male or female, lazy or lusty, this charming scenario is marred because the wine was uncorked too early and … no, that’s not right. To get the mood right, Casanova, you’ve got to turn off that darned TV.
For couples age 50-plus, setting the mood can be an all-important factor in keeping that romantic spark ignited and the sex drive surging, according to national experts. And romantic surroundings can top the list as an ultimate mood-enhancer.
Let’s face it, distractions from TVs, computers, screaming grandkids and the bee-ba-beep-boop ring of cell phones can combine with age-specific factors such medications, menopause and heavy-duty stress to spoil — and we mean absolutely obliterate — that magic moment.
“The libido-dampening aspects of everyday life can mean sex sometimes goes by the wayside,” says Elizabeth Scott, a family therapist and counselor writing in an online article for About.com. She recommends fine-tuning your libido through diet, exercise, sleep, laughter and intimate conversation.
Scott also recommends setting the mood with good music, stimulating aromatherapy (rose, jasmine, sage) and soothing surroundings — and not just in the bedroom. Nature walks, mountain overlooks, dimly-lighted restaurants and (here’s a blast from the past) even the backseat of your car can trigger desire.
After all, love can bloom just about anywhere — right?
Here are a few suggestions for romance-enhancing locations around North Central Washington:
Romantic hotel room: “Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.” That’s a good Shakespearean quote to remember when, at age 60, you’re slipping into something more comfortable for a night of passion. The quote is painted on the bedroom wall of the Shakespeare Suite, one of six individually-themed rooms at The Innsbrucker Inn in Leavenworth. These stylish rooms boast a queen-sized canopy bed ringed with lace, roomy private bath and balcony access overlooking the Bavarian village. Plus, it’s located right on top of a bookstore (which could be a turn-on for some folks). Location: 703 Highway 2, Leavenworth. Info: 548-5401.
Romantic snuggling bench: It’ll be chilly this time of year down at Porter’s Pond, the East Wenatchee wildlife habitat between the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail and the banks of the Columbia River. All the more reason to snuggle close when you sit on our favorite riverside bench to watch the geese soar by and evening lights flicker on in downtown Wenatchee. The bench, sort of tucked away and private under a big tree, is just big enough for two adults (in winter jackets) and has a nice railing for setting down your hot chocolate and snacks. Location: park at the west end of 19th street in lot for Douglas County’s office of Transportation & Land Service, walk west to the trail (about 100 feet), turn north (upstream) and follow the trail past the wooden observation platform to a set of wooden steps that lead down to a small beach. The snuggling bench is on the right near the water.
Romantic restaurant: More than a few Wenatchee Valley restaurants offer an intimate dining experience that can start your night of passion off right. But our favorite is The Windmill, the almost 80-year-old steakhouse that, yep, looks like a windmill. The dark wood interior and careful lighting lend a snug feel to this very busy place. Ask for a booth against the wall for maximum privacy. Here’s another tip: Ask for the third booth from the front door and order extra-size cuts of meat that can be shared by a hungry couple. It hasn’t been proven, but the best aphrodisiac could be thin slices of The Windmill’s New York whiskey pepper steak laid across the tongue. Location: 1501 N. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee. Info: 665-9529.
Romantic parking spot: What? You stopped making out when you hit your 50s? It’s time to recommit to the practice of smooching in a parked car on a high hill with a great view. Trust us, it’ll make you feel like a kid again. You can even climb in the back seat, but unless you’ve been attending yoga class regularly, please avoid anything that’ll require a follow-up visit to the chiropractor. One excellent — and nearby — spot to neck (is it still called “necking”?) is the overlook on Skyline Drive in Wenatchee. From this vantage point, the city’s lights are spectacular, and sometimes the Columbia River will catch the reflection of a rising moon. Hard to know where to focus your attention, eh?
Romantic hot tub: OK, hot tubs aren’t everyone’s bucket of water. But for those of you who, um, bubble when you boil, the outdoor, world-class hot tub at Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop has to be one of winter’s ultimate sensual experiences, particularly at night in heavy snowfall. It’s available only to registered guests, so listen up: To double your hot tub time, ask for room No. 414 in the Mount Robinson building. This room, a favorite of regulars, comes equipped with a whirlpool tub situated in a huge view window that looks out on Mount Gardner and the valley floor far below. Even this room’s shower (all glass) has a spectacular view. Location: west of Winthrop on Twin Lakes Road past Patterson Lake. Info: 996-2211.
Mike Irwin: 665-1179