Valentine's Cake

We’ll make sure you look for love in all the right places with – A Dozen Red-Hot Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Has Valentine’s Day been reduced to grabbing a box of chocolates off the store shelf and picking up a cello-wrapped bouquet of flowers at the grocery checkout line?  Confess, romance has taken second place to a busy life.

But this year with Valentine’s Day on a Thursday and coinciding with the long President’s Day Weekend, it presents an ideal opportunity to indulge in an extended Valentine’s Day celebration.  Here are a dozen fun and imaginative ways to spark romance and show your loved one(s) how much you appreciate them on Valentine’s Day.

#1 Star Bright Lover’s Retreat in Palm Springs, California for Starry-Eyed Sweethearts

The Riviera Pool, Palm Springs California

The Riviera Palm Springs will help you rekindle connections under the magic of desert stars and in the warmth of a glowing fire.  Begin your evening with a wine tasting at 50’s retro Starlite Lounge, followed by an al fresco dinner for two at swanky Circa 59.  Cuddle up beside your own private camp fire and enjoy a nightcap in the moonlight while toasting marshmallows and building s’mores .  Serious stargazers can experience the world’s largest rotating tramcar by taking a ride in the Palm Springs Aerial Tram to the top of Mount San Jacinto to view a dazzling sky and views to snowcapped mountains.  And of course no romantic weekend would be complete without a Twilight Massage Treatment th SpaTerre.  Finally look to the future with a zodiac turndown service feature a personalized astrological reading.  Packages start at $410/night and are available now through February 28, 2013.  Ask for promo code STARBRIGHT.

#2  New Orleans is dazzling this year with the Superbowl, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras.

Carousel Bar New Orleans

With Mardi Gras just two days after Valentine’s Day, what better destination could there be!  The grand Hotel Monteleone in the heart of the French Quarter is offering a “Romantic Interlude” package that includes romantic treats like champagne and chocolate covered strawberries on arrival, dinner for two, including wine, at their newly opened restaurant, and breakfast at famous Brennan’s Restaurant, one of the city’s best-known spots for exceptional NOLA cuisine.  Rates are from $369/night for two including taxes and gratuities.  A 2 night minimum stay is required.

#3 Create amazing art together and make a “Couple’s Masterpiece”

Chicago Skyline Painting

At Arts n Spirits in Chicago, ( with the motto Laugh, Drink, Paint) invites couples  to bond while creating a memorable piece of art for their love-nest or bachelor/bachelorette pad.  While sipping on a cocktail, novice painters are guided in recreating a well-known artwork, which can be done in one panel or two.  By the end of the evening you and your Valentine will have a new piece of art to adorn your walls and forever remind you of this fun Valentine’s Day celebration.  Pre-registration is required with class beginning at 7pm for a fee of $40 per painter.

#4 Get Mushy together in Jefferson New Hampshire  on a weekend Dog Sledding Adventure.

Mush-In Experience Jackson New Hampshire

The Mush-Inn Experience features the longest dog sled ride in New England, right in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest.  The staff and four-legged assistants at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, have joined forces with the rustic Mahoosuc Inn in Milan NH, to offer an unforgettable Valentine’s Day experience.  Your adventure begins with a cozy night at the inn, followed by a filling home-cooked country style breakfast.  Mid-morning finds you transported to the Muddy Paws Kennel where you’ll meet your enthusiastic team of rescue dogs and second-chance Alaskan huskies.  Buddle up in the sled and you’ll soon be off mushing over the trails at adrenaline pumping speeds with your sweetheart “driving” the pack.  Ride through the woods right back to the inn where you’ll enjoy a catered dinner before a crackling fire, followed perhaps by a hot tub soak while you tell stories of your thrilling day.

#5 Don’t have a sweetheart at the moment?  No Problem.

Available at Cupid's Cup Run

Make a love connection on Valentine’s Day at a Cupid’s Chase 5K fun-run.  Singles wear “Available” t-shirts and taken people/couples wear “Unavailable” shirts, so you’ll know just who to bump into!   The goal of the day is to have fun, raise money for charity and possibly make a love connection.  This year there will be a Cupid’s Chase taking place in Kentucky, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

#6 Calling all you rugged guys, “Get Dirty on Huge Construction Equipment with your Loved One” on Valentine’s Day

Get Dirty on Valentine's Day

(arrgh, arrgh, arrgh, as Tim Allen would say).  The folks at People at Play in Southwest Florida near Sarasota, operate a one-of-a-kind heavy construction equipment playground.  The “Get Dirt-y Couples Package” includes a dozen red roses and fine chocolates for your sweetheart, and machine time for two to learn how to operate a CATERPILLAR 312 Steel Track Excavator.  Couples will each compete for the best time on the challenge course, which is be commemorated with a hard hat and 5×7” photograph of your Dirt-y experience.  The couple’s package is available now through March 2, 2013 at $865 plus tax per couple.

#7 Get the whole family involved with a “Valentine Sleep In The Deep” experience.

Tennessee Aquariumm Sleep In The Deep

­­Families get the opportunity to visit the Tennessee Aquarium after-hours, see an IMAX 3-D movie, have a behind-the-scenes tour, and when it’s bed time, you’ll sleep in the grotto with sharks and brightly colored fish circling overhead.  Pizza and breakfast is included.  This is a Valentine’s Day everyone in your family will remember for years to come.  Tickets are $50 for members/$55 non-members.  As you might guess, spaces are limited so don’t wait to reserve your family’s tickets.

#8 Help your beloved tune up their BBQ skills with a BBQ Butler at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge in Georgia.

BBQ Butler Experience

Guests enjoying a Cottage Stay over Valentine’s Weekend will get a Private Three-Hour BBQ Butler Class.  Available Thursday 2/14 through Sunday 2/17, the classes will be held from 6-9 pm by one of the lodge’s acclaimed BBQ Butlers.  This experience is for families of 2-6 people staying in a three-bedroom cottage.  The fee is $75 per person.

#9 The Maimi Seaquarium invites sweethearts to “Dine With The Dolphins on Valentine’s Day.

Dine with Dolphins at Miami Seaquairum

Lucky couples will enjoy a delicious four-course candlelight dinner under the stars while in the company of the Seaquarium’s very special dolphins.  To make the experience even sweeter, tickets will include two Sea Trek Reef Encounters and two Dolphin Odyssey Experiences.  The Sea Trek Reef Encounter is a helmet diving experience that allows guests to become one with reef and experience near zero gravity.  The Dolphin Odyssey is a one and a half hour adventure that includes feeding, touching and deep-water interaction with the dolphin.  Tickets for Dine With The Dolphins are $398 plus tax for two.

#10 Set Sail at The Valentine’s Day Cup in Turks and Caicos

Middle Caicos Valentine's Cup

One of the most romantic settings in the Caribbean celebrates the holiday with the Middle Caicos Valentine’s Day Cup.  While the Turks and Caicos Islands are all magnificent, Middle Caicos simply takes your breath away with seemingly endless miles of undeveloped silky white sand beaches, dramatic coral formations and translucent aquamarine waters.  Now in its 11th year, the Valentine’s Day Cup festival is a model sailboat competition designed to promote and encourage the traditional TCI hand-carved model sailboats.  Revelers gather on Bambarra beach to watch the hilarious races, gorge themselves on local dishes prepared by the Middle Church and dance to the Caribbean beat of down-home bands.  Turks & Caicos Reservations can set you up with accommodation on Middle Caicos, nearby North Caicos or Providenciales and help to coordinate an unforgettable day at the races.

#11 Savor the “Scent of Love” on Valentine’s Day at Chateau Elan in Georgia, with the Valentine Fragrance Blending Experience.

Signature Winery Georgia

Chateau Elan is a 16th century styled French chateau located 40 minutes north of Atlanta Georgia.  Surrounded by lush vineyards this 3,500 acre resort is sure to make you feel like royalty.  Couples will meet with a representative of Galimard, the oldest parfumerie in France, to blend and design their own personal fragrance.  Will it be a vintage floral essence, a citrus blend, mysterious oriental fragrance, or spiced up with exotic island scents?  Only you will decide with the assistance of the master blender to produce a fragrance exclusively for you and your sweetheart.

#12 No Valentine’s Day would be complete without a kiss of sugary goodness. 

Valentine's Cake

Join the folks at Sugartooth Tours in New York City for their “Find Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen” Dessert Tasting Tour.    Every participant will have their sweet-tooth satisfied by this tour that samples some of the best locations for dessert in the City.  The 2 ½ hour tour costs $50 per person and makes stops for 5 outrageously decadent dessert samplings while participants learn tempting tidbits of knowledge about New York’s cultural and culinary history.  In February $1 of every ticket sale will go to benefit City-Harvest a wonderful organization for feeding the hungry of New York.


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