by Willa Blair)
Amazon just came out with its annual list of the top 20 most romantic U.S cities (based on customer purchases of romance-related books, movies and other products), and my city, San Antonio, is No. 1 on the list! Mix warm weather, margaritas and a melting pot of Mexican, German, cowboy, and other cultures, and oh yes, you've got romance.
Horse-drawn carriages, some decorated like Cinderella's coach and fancifully lighted at night, clip-clop around downtown. Gaily painted barges that double as tour boats, floating restaurants and parade floats navigate the San Antonio River surrounded by diners, dreamers and lovers along the River Walk. San Antonio is so romantic, the Romance Writers of America are coming here in July for their annual convention. Fiestas, parades, a two-week rodeo and other celebrations take place all through the year, but the holiday season is when the city really shines — with thousands of colored lights twinkling from the trees over the River Walk.
"Highland Seer" by Willa Blair
To celebrate San Antonio's top spot in Amazon's survey, I've asked some of my fellow San Antonio Romance Authors what makes San Antonio the most romantic city in the U.S. Their responses may persuade you to sample the romance here, or to create some of your own at home.
Patricia W. Fischer, author of Deep in My Heart
Diversity. Our city has rich traditions influenced by Spanish, French, Greek, German, English, and Native American cultures, which can be seen in its businesses and restaurants, churches and neighborhoods. Add in the military presence and the cowboys from the surrounding Hill Country and you've got an incredible formula for romance.
Jolene Navarro, author of Lone Star Holiday
San Antonio, Texas — the city of love. Where you can eat outdoors while watching tourists on the River Walk, or enjoy the cool shade of ancient trees as you meander through timeworn plazas filled with art and music. Dreams of cowboys and mariachis fill the air. How can a writer not be inspired by the old missions and grand estates? San Antonio is old and new all mixed together.
Laurie Olerich, author of Stone Angels
San Antonio is a military city, host to thousands of Air Force, Army, and Navy personnel who deploy on a regular basis. While they're gone, their spouses anxiously await their return … when they get back, the sparks fly! It's no surprise SA is the most romantic city in the U.S. With so many homecomings to plan for, there's always love in the air!
Angela Smith, author of Burn on the Western Slope
San Antonio's River Walk offers an array of choices such as riverboat cruises and indoor/outdoor eateries, all within walking distance, that make couples feel like they're in a small town instead of a large city. Daytime tours to historical sites or a visit to one of San Antonio's several amusement parks, give couples plenty to do. Nighttime brings more great food and carriage rides along the city streets. I believe these are what makes San Antonio the top romantic city in our country.
Tara West, author of Say When
San Antonio, where the weather is warm, the food is hot, and the romance is sizzling!
Teri Wilson, author of Unleashing Mr. Darcy
One of the things that makes this city feel romantic to me is that we have so many cozy, intimate places to visit that are unique and one-of-a-kind. There's a bakery in my neighborhood where I write, where the air smells like frosting, every item is a gorgeous work of art and everyone there remembers your name. I'm very much inspired by settings in my writing, and it's wonderful to live somewhere like San Antonio, a community that values such individual charm and beauty in everyday life.
In addition to being a lover of the romance of San Antonio, Willa Blair is the author of Highland Seer. Her website is willablair.com.