With Valentine's Day looming on the horizon, the city streets suddenly seem rose-tinted and everything is looking, well, a little fuzzy and heart-shaped. Let's face it, the world is just a better place when love is in the air. But what about those towns that are romantic all year round? Towns with enviable names like Loveland, Valentines, and (our favorite) Romeoville? Are these towns really that much lovelier to live in? And what are the homes like? To find out, we took a cyber stroll down lover's lane.
Does it get much more romantic than a town called Loveland? Thankfully, it looks about as lovely as it sounds. Nicknamed "The Sweetheart City," Loveland is situated at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and boasts some stunning vistas, particularly around the beautiful Lake Loveland. According to Steve Hayes, managing broker of the Loveland-based 1st Choice Realtors, though people wouldn't necessarily move to Loveland for its adorable name alone, the community's lakes (perfect for "hand-in-hand strolls," Hayes promises), coupled with the gorgeous sculptures at Benson Park will usually do the trick.
For those not so fond of the great outdoors, Loveland also offers a charmingly small-town vibe with its downtown Rialto Theater, which puts on shows, plays and performances all year round, and fun community traditions like the Corn Roast Festival complete with parade, corn shucking contest, entertainment and great food.
Corn shucking aside, what's a typical house look like in Loveland, you wonder? Well, we pulled a pretty one out for your viewing pleasure. Though a little on the steep side at $309,900 (the median sales price for a single family home in Loveland was $215,000 in 2011), this stunning 3,157-square-foot home is a Colorado beauty that could make just about everybody happy. Which is just as well, because according to Hayes, there are no "typical homebuyers" in the community.
"This is the great thing about Loveland actually," says Hayes.
"This community appeals to all types -- it's suitable for senior living, as well as a wonderful place to raise a family. This community works hard to keep great things available to people of all ages. Home buyers can also find homes where they can have horses, llamas or cows, homes in the mountains, on a lake, close to a school, on top of a hill or in a valley. We have a wide variety of areas all in the wonderful location we call Loveland."
And just when you thought it couldn't get any cuter, enter Valentines, Va. We think it's no coincidence that the sweet little town of Valentines is located in a state whose slogan is "Virginia Is for Lovers" (awww). Unlike Loveland, Valentines is not quite as busy or bustling, but that's where its quiet, sleepy charm lies.
Around February each year, however, right in time for Valentine's Day, about 1,000 tourists trickle into the Valentines' post office to get their envelopes stamped with a big, black, heart-shaped postmark. Also, tens of thousands of cards and letters are mailed to Valentines each year to be postmarked and sent back out.
Apart from the post office, the town itself gets plenty of love thanks to nearby Lake Gaston, which boasts 350 miles of stunning shoreline. Like Loveland, Valentines' cutesy name doesn't drive the sales. (Instead it's the usual factors, such as location and price.) But Lake Gaston Dreams Realtor Susan Gordon says that many homes are bought in the area for the proximity to the Lake Gaston waterfront and the recreation it provides.
"I wouldn't necessarily say Valentines is a romantic area," admits Gordon. "But there are many romantic and scenic areas by the nearby Lake Gaston -- where you can watch the many beautiful sunsets we have!"
A typical home in Valentines will set you back $327,400, but we found this lakeside cutie for a very modest $200,000. It boasts beautiful waterfront views, community boat ramp access, and a fireplace.
Our friends at Zillow are right when they say the tale of Romeoville couldn't be better "if the Bard wrote it himself." Apparently, legend has it that in the 1930s, the nearby township of Joliet was named Juliet, and the nearby village of Romeo was known as its twin community. In 1845, Juliet was renamed Joliet to honor the explorer Louis Jolliet and then the (rather insulted, we presume) town of Romeo renamed itself to acknowledge the awkward breakup.
Whether or not that amazing tale is true, we're still huge fans of Romeoville. Located in Will County, the cute town was listed as one of the "Best Small Towns To Live" by CNNMoney and boasts some adorable parks, like Boucher Prairie Park and Village Park. Like Loveland, Romeoville has some great community events such as the Autumn Colors Craft Show and Winter Wonderland, which offers indoor and outdoor entertainment, crafts, face painting, a book fair, reindeer, horse drawn wagon, and ice sculptures.
Plus, some gorgeous properties call Romeoville home! We love this one, located on the cheerful-sounding Misty Ridge Drive. Though it's well above the median home price ($122,125) at $273,590, the Aspen-style home boasts 2,450 square feet of space, fireplaces and soaring cathedral ceilings.