For some, the word conjures up images of dates gone wrong, loves lost and chances blown. For others, it's a reminder of love shared with a significant other, fond memories and future promise.
It doesn't matter into which camp you fall, one thing that's generally true is you want a little romance in your life - if for no other reason than to keep Mom from harping at you.
So here are some ideas for romantic activities and escapes in Missouri, with consideration given to everyone from first-daters to well-established couples.
First-date fun: Keep things relaxed and casual with a visit to one of Missouri's ice rinks, like Crown Center's Ice Terrace in Kansas City (provided you can skate, and look cool while doing so). Along with eliminating some of the pressure of being interesting and a great conversationalist, it's pretty much guaranteed you'll have to hold hands at some point during the outing. If your date is happening outside of the ice-skating season, a stroll along the city's Country Club Plaza is always fun and casual.
Buy your sweetie a sweet read: Take a tasty tour of Missouri with "Delectable Destinations: A Chocolate Lover's Guide to Missouri." Along with showcasing a variety of places to sample and buy delicious chocolates in the Show-Me State, this book might help inspire your next romantic getaway, as it includes information on sites to see and attractions to visit during your search for all things chocolate.
Impress your new boyfriend/girlfriend: You've been on a few dates and want to show you're interested in seeing where things will go. Dinner at a fine restaurant is always a good way to crank things up a notch. Add in beautiful views of Lake of the Ozarks and Baxter's Lakeside Grille in Lake Ozark is an ideal place for a romantic meal.
Find a spot to take the next step: Are you ready to drop down on one knee and ask the love of your life a pretty important question? You can't do that just anywhere, it has to be memorable. Pop the question while enjoying incredible surroundings at Top of the Rock near Branson. You can celebrate with a meal on-site at Osage Restaurant or Arnies Barn.
Show 'em the spark is still there: You've been a couple or married for a while - maybe 10 years or more - and have "been there, done that" when it comes to romance. Take your sweetie on a getaway to a place like The Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs or Chaumette Vineyards and Winery in Ste. Genevieve. Along with dining and lodging options, each has access to spa services.
Get outdoors together: Spend time enjoying the outdoors - and maybe a night away from home - when you visit Echo Bluff State Park near Eminence. The park has a beautiful and well-appointed lodge to keep you warm and toasty when you come in from exploring trails and natural features. It's a great place to connect with nature and your special someone.
Missouri-made, at home: Bring home a bottle of Missouri wine, perhaps a nice selection from Adam Puchta Winery or St. James Winery, and find a made-in-Missouri movie. While there are a range of options with romantic leanings, including "White Palace," you might choose to keep it comical with "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." Another approach is to watch something scary - a classic tactic for making sure you sit really close together. Try "You're Next." It's a good one.
Date like it's 2017: Basically, this entails taking a selfie in front of a picturesque backdrop - maybe The Gateway Arch in St. Louis or the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City - sharing it with someone you're interested in on SnapChat and saying, "Hey, I'm thinking about you."