DO YOU SPEND Valentine's Day scrubbing Elmer's glue and doily bits off your dining room table? Share your bon- bons with people who tend to smear them on the walls? Stay up late worrying about exactly what your teenaged daughter's boyfriend meant by his inscription to her, Thanks for Everything?
Look, you need to get away. Yes, the Bahamas would be lovely, No, nobody with kids can afford it, but still -- it's time to get out. If you've got $150 or $200 you were planning to do something frivolous with, like pay the utility bill, we can get you something Really Romantic this weekend.
Imagine having a whole day and night -- get this, sans children -- with your Beloved. Not your dearly beloved (those are the people who show up for your funeral), or your loved ones (we're trying get you away from them), bt the person you'd most like to spend a weekend with in a Jacuzzi.
For, say, $35 to $125, we can get you a night together in a bed with clean sheets you neither washed nor dried, and no G.I. Joe men hidden in the pillow cases. For an additional $40 or so, you can have a candlelight dinner without watching the person across from you pick out all the green parts.
Then you could take an evening dip in an indoor pool with someone whose potty training you're certain of. Or relax together in a whirlpool or a marble bath, without the dog trying to use it as a giant water dish. Pad around on carpeting someone else vacuumed, and find no Legos under your toes. Snuggle up in front of a movie that contains no references to Han Solo, He-Man or Huckleberry Finn, or watch the flickering flames from logs you didn't have to split. Wake up to a freshly baked something you didn't have to brave the cold to get, and a cup of coffee brewed by someone who was much more awake than you.
Pretty sexy, huh?
But wait -- what wl you tell the children? Mom and Dad wanted a Romantic Weekend together? You could try telling them you went away to . . . see something historic. Like Annapolis, Charlottesville or Frederick, which are nice places to roam around in when you're not, um, relaxing. And if you stay in a historic inn, you can still make the same claim without ever leaving the room. Try these: OLD 'N' GOLDEN
CLIFTON, THE COUNTRY INN
On the outskirts of Charlottesville near Shadwell, Clifton was the home of the recluse husband of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter. Its three suites and two rooms -- beautifully restored and filled with antiques and made-to-order, queen-size four-poster beds -- offer working fireplaces, private bathrooms, a complimentary bottle of wine, nuts and candy, fresh flowers and lots of privacy. Rumor has it that Thomas Jefferson took advantage of some of that privacy himself.
You can get your own thing going here for $120 for a single room or $135 for a suite on Friday or Saturday, which includes afternoon tea and a humongous breakfast of homemade things like scones, cooked-to-order eggs, freshly squeezed juices and real coffee. You also get a paper of your choice and tea or coffee in your room, and the bubbling enthusiasm of innkeepers Cindie and Jim Smart, Minnesotans who left friends like Garrison Keillor to come cater to your every whim.
CLIFTON -- Route 9, Box 412, Charlottesville, VA 22901. 804/971-1800. Children are not turned away, "but we have no cribs or high chairs. And nothing for little kids to do," says Cindie Smart. Starting in the spring, the inn will begin offering "murder mystery" weekends, wherein guests solve an imaginary killing. To get there: From the Beltway, take I-66 west to Warrenton, then U.S. 29 south into Charlottesville, left onto U.S. 250 east toward Shadwell, right on Rte. 729 and look for the Clifton sign on your left. %&HISTORIC INNS OF ANNAPOLIS
Five restored and renovated historic buildings take in guests for $80 to $110 on Fridays and Saturdays -- $150 for a room with a private Jacuzzi. On Church or State circles right in the heart of the city, the inns offer double, queen or king-size beds, TV with HBO, a free morning paper and complimentary breakfast of bread, fruit and beverage.
Longtime Annapolis admirers are familiar with the Maryland Inn and its King of France lounge, where some of the hottest jazz in the city plays. The latest inn to open is Reynolds Tavern, an authentic 18th-century Chesapeake tavern owned by the National Historic Trust. The other three buildings are Governor Calvert House (the colonial governor's residence from 1700 to 1727), Robert Johnson House (next door to the present governor's mansion) and the State House Inn (a tiny establishment serving turn-of-the century Austro-Hungarian food). The consortium of inns runs a special Sunday night package for $125, which includes lodging, breakfast, dinner at the Maryland Inn's Treaty of Paris room (French food with entrees averaging $15 to $18), and admission to the King of France. This weekend, the lounge features the be-bop and swing group Mad Romance.
HISTORIC INNS OF ANNAPOLIS -- 16 Church Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401. 261-2206. Kids under 16 are free in double rooms; $10 extra to rent a cot. They advise making reservations two weeks in advance. To get to Church Circle: From the Beltway, take U.S. 50 east to Rowe Boulevard exit, go past two lights, follow arrow to the right, go left at the criss-cross and go straight to Church Circle. State Circle is just a block away. SPRING BANK INN
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this house in Frederick was built in 1880 for George Houck, who listed himself on the tax rolls with refreshing honesty as a "capitalist." The six guest rooms, one with bath, have 111/2-foot ceilings and Victorian furnishings bought at Frederick's famous antique stores. The inn is a "quiet place" that caters to honeymooners and disdains children and smokers, says innkeeper Ray Compton. For $60 on weekends ($70 for that private bath), you get a room, a 101/2-acre setting, and fresh bread, fruit and beverage brought to you each morning. The inn also sets out sherry for guests "all the time -- I guess they could have it for breakfast if they like," says Compton.
SPRING BANK INN -- 7945 Worman's Mill Road, Frederick, MD 21701. 301/694-0440. To get there: From the Beltway, take I-270 to U.S. 15 through Frederick, then Rte. 355 south for 1/4 mile, turn left into the driveway. CLIMB TO NEW HEIGHTS
Any number of Washington area hotels offer special weekend getaway packages. Here are a couple of suburban Virginia establishments that can really put you above the rat race: RADISSON MARK PLAZA HOTEL
The 30-floor glass-and-metal marvel in Alexandria is filled with three-piece-suited executives on expense accounts during the week. But for $99.95 for two people on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, you can climb as high as the 27th floor and get a complimentary bottle of champagne with take-home goblets, a king-size bed or two doubles, a color TV with remote control, $15 to spend in any of the four restaurants, and access to the Radisson's indoor swimmiming pool, four racquetball courts (they'll provide racquets, balls and shorts if you forget yours), outdoor tennis courts, whirlpool, sauna and exercise room, which is filled with machinery that looks as though it was invented by the Spanish Inquisition.
If you want to pay a little more ($145), they'll shoot you up to one of their top three executive floors; give you bathrobes, breakfast in the restaurant, cocktails and hair dryers; shine your shoes; and give you $25 to spend on food.
RADISSON MARK PLAZA HOTEL -- I-395 and Seminary Road West, Alexandria, VA 22311.845-1010. Kids under 18 stay free, and the hotel has cribs and rollaway beds. QUALITY INN, PENTAGON CITY
This is where all those guys with the news cameras go to capture the Pentagon -- the revolving bar on the 14th floor delivers you in front of the Pentagon every 48 minutes. The rest of the time you can watch the airplanes at National and cars crawling out of the city. Rooms, which run $55 on weekends (including a full buffet breakfast), come with king-size beds or two doubles, a color TV with 12 channels, including HBO, and a bathroom with its own telephone, in case the kids call. There's also an indoor pool, a restaurant serving surf and turf, a small weight room, and a sauna, if you want to turn up the heat. This weekend, the restaurant is running a Valentine's special for two, where for $39.95 you get filet mignon and stuffed shrimp.
PENTAGON CITY QUALITY INN -- 300 Army-Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. 892-4100. Children under 16 are free, and the hotel has cribs. GETTING TO KNOW WASHINGTON
If you long to get off the home/office/Kennedy Center triangle, here's a way to get a parking place in town: Stay there overnight. KALORAMA GUEST HOUSE
This is actually five restored Victorian townhouses at two locations in D.C. -- one in Woodley Park near the Zoo, the other in Kalorama just south of Adams Morgan. They're homey, eclectic and cheap -- $35 to $95 for two people, depending on whether you want a room or a suite with or without a private bath. The innkeepers live right there with you, pour the sherry at 5, tell you how to find the best ethnic restaurants in Adams Morgan or how to get to Metro, fight over who gets the funnies with you in the morning and serve fresh bagels, fruit and coffee at a communal table downstairs. You can bring your laundry (they have free machines), stash your noshes in their fridge, and spend the day in their claw-foot bathtubs.
KALORAMA GUEST HOUSE -- 1834 Mintwood Place NW, Washington, DC 20009 (667-6369), or 2700 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 (328-0860). Kids onrollaway beds are $10 extra. BRISTOL HOUSE
As posh as the Kalorama is cozy, this former apartment house -- on Pennsylvania Avenue just across from Columbia Hospital for Women -- is an easy walk from Georgetown. Pick up some gourmet goodies while you're on M Street, or use the shop downstairs at the Bristol; each room has a kitchenette with all the amenities of home. Like coffee beans, and a coffee grinder -- and a fully stocked honor bar, including champagne in the fridge. Don't pick up breakfast, though -- the hotel provides complimentary fresh fruit, croissants, sweet rolls, juice and coffee in your room in the morning; turn-down service at night includes Harvey's Bristol Cream. The color TV, with remote control, gets HBO, ESPN and CNN; the bed is king-size; the bathroom is made of Italian marble and comes with a phone, a pull-out hairdryer and imported soapy things; and, if you ask, you get a fluffy bathrobe. All this costs $95 per weekend night through March (ask for the Treasures Package); for $185, you get all the above plus a living/dining room and a basket of British goodies. And for $750, you can get the presidential suite, where they do everything but run your campaign.
BRISTOL HOUSE -- 2430 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20037. 955-6400. Overnight valet parking is $7.50; kids under 18 free. WAITER, MORE WATER PLEASE
One of the basic necessities for traveling executives, it seems, is a whirlpool -- a fact you can take advantage of all over the city. Try: BETHESDA MARIOTT
Its basic package, for $59, gives you a room with a queen- size bed or two double beds, and access to the indooor pool, sauna, whirlpool and exercise room. A $79 price tag also gets you a bottle of champagne in your room, plus breakfast in bed or, if you've really worked up an appetite, a restaurant brunch. And for $119, you get all that and more with either the Italian or South Seas package -- the difference being the kind of snack they have waiting for you and the restaurant they steer you to for dinner. The exercise room includes computer- programmed cycling and rowing machines that give you feedback on how you're doing. The color TVs in the rooms offer HBO, CNN and eight in-house pay movies, like "Return of the Jedi" and "Silverado."
BETHESDA MARRIOTT -- 5151 Pooks Hill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20814. 897- 9400. Kids 12 and under stay free. EMBASSY SUITES
This Tysons Corner hotel is eight floors centered around an atrium. For $69 on Fridays and Saturdays, you get a two-room suite with two color TVs; free cocktails and popcorn in the lounge from 5 to 7; a full buffet breakfast downstairs with cooked-to-order eggs; a game room, an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and whirlpool. EMBASSY SUITES -- 8517 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22180. 883-0707. Children 12 and under stay free.
QUALITY INN EXECUTIVE
This is a medium-priced, medium-sized, This-Looks-Adequate motel near the Seven Corners Shopping Center -- with a difference: The rooms come with their own Thermosoll whirlpool. The motel also has a tiny exercise room, and a restaurant featuring American, Korean, Chinese and Japanese food. Rooms run around $56, less if you have a corporate or government discount.
QUALITY INN EXECUTIVE -- 6111 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22044. 534-9100. Children 16 and under stay for free.