As written for iluvlocalplaces.com:
Usually when someone talks about Valentine’s Day I’m the first to retort with a “bah humbug” and a dissertation on the evils of commercialized holidays. You see, I believe that love (and chocolate) should be celebrated everyday! That being said I’d like to offer the following ways to make the day special no matter your relationship status or your political slant towards cupid.
1. Gifts: There is always the traditional notion of flowers and candy. These can be affordable even if you are on a budget and what girl doesn’t love both?! If you haven’t been to Sugar Buzz Bakery yet be sure to check out their cupcakes and treats. But for a really unique gift idea why not peruse the local antique stores? There are several downtown and you are sure to find something to surprise and delight that special guy or girl. Whatever your taste or budget be sure to shop local!
2. Be My Valentine: Don’t forget the card. Remember those old school Valentines you use to make and send as a kid? An old-fashioned Valentine (with a spritz of perfume or cologne) is sure to be swoon-worthy, especially if it shows up in the mail. Imagine the surprise of a handwritten note among the junk mail and bills.
3. Must Love Dogs: Sometimes you just need to hug a puppy. The Humane Society is always looking for volunteers, why not spend the day helping ease the hearts of some unwanted animals? You might even find a new love there! On a related note, if you already have a dog there is a great new dog park open in Kiwanis Park. You could treat Sparky to a run and meet other dog lovers in the area.
4. Tunes for the Troops: Maybe you have a loved one that is currently deployed. Why not pop a USB or CD full of music in that care package. And ok, I’m going to show my age, we need to bring back the mixtape! You know what I’m talking about and you know you loved them! Your special mix of 80’s hair band ballads and Marvin Gaye is sure to get their toes tapping. No compilation is complete without some Miles Davis. Check out “It Never Entered My Mind”, a very romantic song indeed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsb-lXec76w
5. Luck Be A Lady: The Isle of Capri has dinner specials, slots by the dozens and live music by the Zac Perry Band. If it’s warm enough check out the patio upstairs at Keller’s, it is beautiful and quite relaxing.
6. Lunch at First Bite: Maybe one or both of you are working the evening of Valentine’s Day. Why not meet for a lunch date? Broussard’s has a great menu and you could enjoy a walk down by the river after lunch. And then you get to think about each other the rest of the day – how’s that for romantic?
7. Play and Be Crafty: Moms we are lucky to have several arts and crafts places in our area. One such place is Cateye Glasses Studio. They offer art classes for kids and adults. Or if you don’t think paint and your kiddo mix you could make an afternoon of fun out of the Discovery Playhouse. They have all kinds of kid-friendly exhibits.
8. Dinner and a Movie: If you are more the traditional type, Bella Italia and Rays of Kelso are sure to please. Both are a lovely choice for a romantic dinner before heading out to cuddle up during a movie. Don’t forget Bella has bottomless mimosas Saturday and Sunday afternoons!
9. Happy Hour: Cathy at the Library Bar puts on a fantastic happy hour on Fridays. Relax in the upscale ambiance while enjoying a bite to eat, good music and of course great company. The Library is a very popular destination for all age groups over 21!
10. Quality Time: This is a great day to spend time with a family member. You could Netflix a night in and watch old movies or go out for something fun like pedicures or a day at the spa. Don’t forget My Daddy Cheesecake for a sweet treat.
11. Shake Your Groove Thing: Rude Dog, Rhymer’s and Whiskey River always have something fun lined up for the weekend. Check out The Mike Renick Band at Rude Dog on Friday night. Seems Legit will be at Whiskey River and Shades of Soul at Rhymer’s on Saturday, all are sure to pack the house!
12. A Date with Humphrey Bogart: All the wineries are doing something special for the Valentine weekend, as they should! If a trip to one of the local wineries is your thing check out Walkers Bluff in Carterville, Illinois. They are showing Casablanca in The Tasting Room with hors-d’oeuvres and a champagne toast. (Yes, please!) There is a second movie on Saturday with giveaways and live music. And dinner at Legends won’t disappoint. Check out their page for more info http://www.walkersbluff.com/
Well there you have it. With so many fun things to do in our area it is hard to narrow it down. No matter how you spend the day or who you choose to spend it with, always believe in the magic of love. (And chocolate.)