My winter of love: I was on holiday with my boyfriend – and the B&B owner told me a horrifying home truth

We went for walks, marvelled at the views, saw baby eagles and had a lot of sex. But as the proprietor of the guest house could tell, not all was well between us

Back in 2008, I lived in New York. I wasn’t a total stranger to North American winters – my stepmother is from Michigan, and the one and only time she persuaded me to go on a family sledging outing I was so cold I bailed and went back to sit in the car, like the moody teenager I most definitely was. But I’d never been on the continent for an entire winter. I bought a gigantic army surplus parka and resigned myself to months of wading through freezing slush, alternated with sitting in my studio apartment at night with the windows open because the ancient radiators had one setting: on. That was until I read an article in the New York Times travel section about upstate getaways. The mere mention of a charming B&B overlooking the Delaware River, where you could watch nesting eagles on a nearby bluff while sipping cognac, was all it took. Manhattan’s dreary ice-bound streets slipped away momentarily, and I imagined myself on that very deck. I was in a long-distance relationship at the time, and what, I reasoned, could be more romantic than such a weekend?

It was February, the very worst part of winter, and any twinkle of New York City’s seasonal cheer had well and truly died. My boyfriend was due a visit, and I was ecstatic at the prospect of a trip out of the city. We would go somewhere a hundred times more romantic than my apartment (which housed the world’s smallest and most uncomfortable bed), a thousand times more interesting than the corner diner, and a million times more nurturing than the intersection of Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. I could see it all: the icy river threading its way below the B&B’s deck, the eagles soaring majestically above us, me and my boyfriend holding hands and laughing in the snow, pink-cheeked and very much in love.

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