Whether your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day is a remote romantic getaway or a “Do-It-Yourself” relaxing at-home evening in total comfort; and maybe it’s a spare-no-expense over-the-top day of elegance beginning with a skywriter pronouncing your love in letters across the skies of blue – your heart’s desire is our quest this Valentine’s Day list, with reader favorites and P.K.’s top picks to help make our day a success. From events to wine tasting (to which bottle to buy yourself – including on the cheap, but to impress); with tips on how to enhance or create ambiance to where to take dates with kids; sites for gifts for the serious, silly, traditional, special, unique and maybe even potential award-winning. Whether shopping, creating or dating; no matter if going out, staying in or looking for romance in a remote getaway spot – we have you will open the doors and help light the fires for magic and romance – the rest is up to you! In this first part, we begin with events and online shopping guide to help those get started on the gift preparations.
Valentine’s Day events & places to visit - around the Bay from inland to the coast:
February 9, 2013 – Domenico’s Winery Wine Tasting & Chocolates, San Carlos
Wine Tasting & Chocolate Tasting at Domenico’s in San Carlos on February 9, 2013 with more than eight wineries pouring their own wines (including their own treat pairings) and a chocolate fountain provided by Domenico Winery for a spectacular Valentine’s Day celebration. Tickets: $10 each, singles, couples and free for Domenico Bacchus Wine Club members (up to two). Visit the website or call (650) 593-2335.
February 10, 2013 – Gioia Company Italian Gifts, "Joy for Those Who Give and Those Who Receive" – Festa Gioia Valentine’s Day Celebration February 10, 2013 at their boutique located at 16935 Rose Leaf Court in Los Gatos; with assorted Valentine’s Day gifts that include: Murano glass jewelry with heart beads, glass hearts, ceramic hearts, antiqued wine bottle candle décor, Venetian masks, heart plates – and just about heart everything.
February 9 & 10, 2013 at Lightheart Wines, San Martin – Wine Tasting for Valentine’s Day – and the perfect wine to do that with, “Lightheart” and lighthearted enough, with the perfect wine.
February 14, 2013 – Wine tasting at Eno’s at the Ritz, Half Moon Bay
Wine Tasting, cheese and chocolate at “Eno’s” where you can get the crush on, or for those into wine and class – this is the wine tasting bar that will not only impress your date but where romance blooms with jazz playing in the background, the ocean views – with tasting fees ranging from $20 to $40 per person, your taste will win your sweetheart over; call 1- 650-712-7040 for additional information. The special vineyard of the month in February is Merryvale Vineyards with of course, so many others so head on over for the tasting bar you’ve always dreamed of – and near the coast even!
Special and very “unique” gift ideas – shop anytime online
The Perpetual Kid – From unique gifts under $3 such as their “Fall in Love” gum to a “High Heel Cake Server,” “Glow-in-the-Dark Flesh-Eating Zombies” – or more serious gifts such as “Into Focus Coffee Mug” for that camera buff – from silly to serious, whatever your heart desires and then some.
Novica – For the more serious-at-heart for him and her with unique gifts that say “I love you” by talented master artisans who handcraft treasures (many with free gift wrapping). Most ranging under $25 to several hundred, from Valentine’s Day to any occasion.
Brookstone – A well-known site for Valentine’s Day, “Brookstone” ($25 to $200), for Heart Day or any occasion; with a great selection for the entire family; hot tip: Check clearance for there just may be a romantic “something” there, too.
Skywriting through Airads Worldwise Aerial – A very unique gift – not many can afford but it is possible to get your love’s attention if you are one of those that is extravagant and spares no expense.
M&M’s “personalized” – Yes, even with your photo embossed; but order as soon as you can to save on shipping.
Festa Gioia Italian Art & Products – “A glass of wine, a cup of tea and makes for a relaxing evening” Valentine’s Day gifts can be found online (shop early to ensure a Valentine’s Day delivery, gift-wrapped, too) from Murano glass jewelry w/heart beads, glass hearts, ceramic hearts, antiqued wine bottle candle décor and more. Like on Facebook for specials and events.
Name-a-Star after your love at “Star-Namer” – Naming a star for someone is not only impressive, it is forever. The star is registered at the Universal Star Catalog database featuring hundreds of thousands of stars numerically designated by the world renowned Smithsonian Astrophysical Institute, each star copyrighted with its precise stellar coordinates allowing the star recipient to identify the star name and locate the star in the sky using a telescope. The site also has a limited offer for a free engraved star ornament with order of “Ultimate Star Gift Package” ($19.95 value). Star naming prices vary, but start at $19.95.
Name a star after your love on Star Register – The other known star site for a treasured star registry is the “Star Register” for that unique and personalized gift for astronomer or just someone special. View this unique star on Google Sky. Special winter discount: $48.95; also, same day shipping and free postage and handling – a special Valentine’s Day gift any sweetheart would love.
Adopt-a-Rose Program at Guadalupe River Park & Gardens, San Jose – Not just a rose, but chocolates, a special cookie, and a rose every month for a year and a special message. Give the gift that keeps on giving with a living rose featuring a package that lasts all year long (and one I still remember loving the most). You can pick the rose bush in the garden (either by visiting the gardens and choosing a rose bush yourself or by visiting the map online) and then write a personalized message that will go on a plaque that sits in front of the rose you choose (and they can visit anytime, all year long), accompanied by a small box of Schurra’s fine Confections Chocolates, a gourmet cookie from Café Too! located at the San Jose Museum of Art, and one free red rose each month for a year from Citti’s florist delivered to your sweetheart. This spectacular gift is maintenance-free and part of the cost is tax deductible (about $12). So what are you waiting for? Not only do you wow your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day and all year long, but you support the upkeep of San Jose’s Heritage Rose Garden, the largest collection of rose varieties in the western hemisphere. Special note: The office is open for adoptions Monday through Friday from 9 am. To 5 p.m. with an online order anytime policy (although online orders will not be processed until the following Monday; with a deadline of Feb. 11 for St. Valentine’s Day orders. Gift packages will be available for pickup only (no shipping) and available prior to Valentine’s Day at the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens Visitor & Education Center located at 438 Coleman Avenue. Pick up your beautifully arranged basket of goodies at the Visitor & Education Center beginning about the 11th or 12th of February; call for additional details: 1-408-298-7657. Gift package cost: $50. Also available are rose pruning classes, and so much more.
Donate Blood, a unique gift for the unique – It may be one of the most unique gifts of the year: Don’t just give them something they will put on a shelf to collect dust – give the gift that keeps on giving, and maybe that will even save a life. Give the most unique gift ever and donate your blood to the American Red Cross. A continuous gift that is absolutely priceless and maybe even something you and your sweetheart could do together. Sometimes people say, “Don’t get me anything, please donate something instead” – how perfect is this gift? Or, this could be that perfect gift for someone who has everything.
Give a Camellia Bush (and then enter the blooms in the Camellia Show) – Give your sweetheart a Camellia Bush is the perfect gift that keeps on giving – and just might be award-winning. Give your sweetheart a camellia bush on Feb. 14, then enter the blooms in the 72nd Santa Clara Camellia Show on Feb. 23; they just might become an award winner bush that they can enter blooms from every year; how cool is that? They will think of you every time they look at their camellia bush, and also have a bloom to enter every year. The 72nd Annual Camellia Show will be held at the Community Center at 969 Kiely Blvd. (between Homestead Road and Benton Street) in Santa Clara on Feb. 23 & Feb. 24, with more than 3000 bloom varieties of every color from miniature to dinner-plate size, accompanied by an amazing Art Show. The Camellia Society Members will be on hand to help identify and place all entries. Entrants can also call 1-408-615-3080 or visit the website for additional information. Entries will be accepted the first day of the show, on Feb. 23, from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.; with the show to run Saturday, Feb. 23 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 24, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Places to visit (bring the kids, too), near and afar, inland and along the coast:
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose – This is not only a museum, but also a place to view the stars – such as the one you register above. Attached to the amazing Egyptian tombs is a planetarium, great for a second, third or fourth date where the kids are joining in. Hint: Be sure to check out the planetarium hours prior to arrival or immediately sign up upon arrival to ensure seating as it fills up quickly.
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, San Jose – This place has been around for a long time, with constant improvements. From animals to parks to playgrounds – the zoo is always the best. The kids will think you are the perfect date if you bring them here – and it’s close to home so there is still time to take mom out in the evening on a real date (don’t forget to ask her to plan for a sitter for time alone in the evening).
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey – The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a huge hit with dates and most especially, the children. The beaches along the surrounding edges of the bay are absolutely incredible (just be forewarned that shoes are necessary as the shells are very small and can be painful on the soft feet bottoms. The restaurants near the aquarium on Canary Row are plentiful and varied (most good); a win-win for dates and their kids, hands down.
The Discovery Museum, San Jose – A great place for the kids – and for the adults to have as much fun as the kids (I know we did with my girls). There is always something new every time we went, and the kids got lost for hours; this is always a sure bet for dates with kids.
Art-o-mat, Sacramento (and online) – Get started on collecting fine art by starting with miniature original piece of art by the artist. If you haven’t yet checked out this incredible fine art from Art-o-mat art, you haven’t been amazed. Original miniatures by the artist that are just smaller versions of their life-size originals, and for just $5 you can own an original piece of fine art. How cool is that? The closest Art-o-mat that we know of is in Sacramento at the Crocker Art Museum located at 216 O Street so make a day of it and surprise your date and her kids with the start of a new tradition – collecting fine art. Come birthday and Christmas, you will found a way to order the original life-size artwork to match the mini size purchased from Art-o-mat; would that not be the most amazing gift? Don’t have an Art-o-mat near you? Inquire as to why not.
Romantic Weekend Getaways – local and afar, inland or along the coast
Disneyland Anaheim Resort, Anaheim – Truly the happiest place on earth becomes the most romantic on Valentine’s Day where “Dreams Come True” and where your fairy tale awaits (for those wanting to have more than just a romantic getaway – so whether you’re wanting to escape Silicon Valley and have some fun in the day and escape to your room for some alone time with your sweetheart, or maybe Downtown Disney for some on-the-town fun, Disneyland can accommodate it all. Enjoy your stay for two (or, for those dates with kids, get an adjoining room).
Madison Street Bread & Breakfast, Santa Clara – Can’t afford to go far? You don’t have to if you live in the Bay Area and want a quaint little B&B with chocolate chip cookies, a pool, hot tub, home cooking and best of all – privacy. The cozy “Bed & Breakfast” Valentine Special for those who want to get away but just don’t want to take the time to travel – in the backyard of hometown; who knew?
The Fairmont, San Jose (or San Francisco) – You just can’t beat the Fairmont, in San Jose (or San Francisco) with not only the views, but the local sites all within walking distance. With San Jose centrally located in the heart of the city with theater, museums and even wine tasting within blocks; or there is Eco City Cycles to cart them here and there to make Valentine’s Day saweeeeet. And speaking of sweets, there’s also Psycho Donuts around the corner for breakfast. Or, if in San Francisco, just around the corner are the local Chinese restaurants, or for a view like that – room service just can’t be beat; valet park and definitely bring your own white lights, candles and order in.
Marin Bed & Breakfast, Marin – From $70 to $180 per night for European-style alternative to staying in hotels. Call 415-485-1971 for additional help. Check out these adorable little romantic cottages for all types of romantic getaways. Contact anytime for accommodation questions.
Point Reyes Vineyard Inn & Winery, Point Reyes – We’ve heard good things about this little hideaway and for Valentine’s Day it just can’t be beat. Get a Champagne, Cabernet or Pinot suite (all varied pricing from approx. $135 to $395) with private bath and seating area; rental of entire house available. If you like wine tasting this is the perfect getaway. Call Steve and Sharon Doughty at 415-663-1011 for additional information.
The Ritz Carlton by the Bay in Half Moon Bay (evening or weekend getaway) – The Ritz is always at the head of class – and Ritz along the coast of Half Moon Bay is even better. Whether you’re stopping in for the evening or an entire weekend of romance, The Ritz Carlton knows how to accommodate. Located at 1 Miramontes Point Road in Half Moon Bay, just get your reservations in now so they can start to help you plan your romantic, cherishable moments. From magical stays and getaways, to dining and coffee by the fire outdoors while the sound of the ocean carries in from the waves – or was that the sweet sound of jazz coming through the doors of the Conservatory Lounge? You’re scoring points with this getaway package so call today for the start of an incredibly romantic getaway that just can’t be topped.
Now that you can start with gifts and getaway plans, you know how easy it is to make Valentine's Day "your way" whether a no-expense spared event or a DIY Valentine's Day a sweet, romantic getaway for two. Continue reading with PART 2 of the second half of our Valentine's Day special with "The perfect Valentine’s Day–from a remote romantic getaway to a complete DIY" because whether you and your date venture out or decide to stay in for a DIY Valentine's Day, restuarants, wines, hints and tips are provided to make any evening evening as romantic and memorable as if staying in a high-class hotel without any of the costs.Be sure to check out P.K.'s Weekend Roundup for Feb. 1 (and the upcoming Feb. 8) for the other Valentine's Day specials as well; those always have the list of events in your area, including the free museums, local theater and all of our reader favorites that are submitted to P.K. directly (P.K.'s Weekend Roundup's can be found in the Events and Arts & Entertainment sections of Examiner.com). Enjoy your Valentine's Day and honor love the way it ought to be celebrated. And remember, there is always "more" of what you're looking for on Examiner.com
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