For most people, Valentine’s Day can be one of two things: a time to show someone special you care about them through holiday-themed acts, or a dreaded time of year where everything you see on social media, the internet and in the supermarket reminds you of how lonely you are.
But regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, Valentine’s Day can actually be fun. Cupid’s holiday, like so many others, is an excuse to treat ourselves and/or our partners to an overpriced but delicious meal, eat way too much artificial sugar or simply go out and explore somewhere new.
Escape to a coastal New England town
Newport, Rhode Island is an iconic and walkable New England harbor town, home to a variety of restaurants and boutiques. And during Valentine’s Day, many restaurants and inns are taking advantage by offering various romantic packages and events. The Newport Cliff Walk’s only hotel — The Chanler — is a vintage mansion turned luxury boutique hotel that will be debuting a romantic package that includes a bubble bath and complimentary bottle of wine. The recently opened Cara at the Chanler Cliff Walk will be offering a seven-course tasting menu for Valentine’s Day.
Get here: Ride the Peter Pan bus to Providence from Port Authority or take Amtrak from Penn Station. Once in Providence, you can hop bus number 60 run by RIPTA from Kennedy Plaza towards Newport. Get off at the last stop at Newport Gateway Center at 23 America’s Cup Avenue. The ride from Providence takes just over an hour.
Spend Valentine’s Day with The Smiths
Last year’s Valentine’s Day consisted of rose petals and champagne. The year before that — a mountain town retreat. This year, you’ve made the promise to do something unique. Something different from the usual stereotypical Valentine’s Day thing. Luckily, you don’t have to search beyond the five boroughs to find it. For its eighth consecutive year, The Bellhouse will be hosting the annual “Valentine’s Day With The Smiths” event, put on by the Rolling Stones’ Rob Sheffield. The Sons and Heirs will be performing classics from Morrissey and The Smiths all night.
Get here: The Bellhouse is accessed by the F, G or R subway lines.
Relax in upstate New York
New York’s Catskills region is great for outdoor recreation. Every year, outdoor enthusiasts gather to hike, climb, ski and sleep under the stars in this pristine mountain destination. But you don’t have to be a top-notch climber — or even like the outdoors at all — to enjoy the solitude and beauty of New York State. Located on the Shawangunk Ridge and surrounded by 40,000 acres of forest, the Mohonk Mountain House is a Victorian Castle Resort perfect for an escape from the city. During Valentine’s Day week, the resort will be offering a variety of events such as Sip’N’Paint and Live Music: Day Dreaming of Disney and Broadway.
Head to Times Square to see a design exhibition
For the month of February, the 11th annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition will be featuring a sculpture by Reddymade Architecture and Design. The 18-foot tall aluminum “X” is a physical representation of interpersonal and civic love. The structure has openings that take the form of hearts when viewed from specific angles. Get your annual Times Square visit out of the way and reframe the chaos as a place where people from around the globe cross paths.
Get here: It’s Times Square.
Embrace singles life — by partying hard
If getting all lovey dovey with your partner is not your idea of a good time or you are currently focusing (maybe involuntarily) on self-love, there are still ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. And some may argue the alternate options are way better than rose petals and jacuzzis in a fancy room. For those who just want to say “F” it and give the middle finger to chocolates, gifts and consumerism as a whole, head to the House of Yes in Brooklyn for their “Fuck Love” dance party. Go alone, bring your partner, or do whatever you want. As long as it includes dancing and partying hard.
Get here: House of Yes is within walking distance from the Jefferson stop on the “L” train.
Explore the Hudson Valley’s wine region
If you’re the type who likes to justify your drinking habits by pulling out the “educational experience” card, then Emerson Resort’s Wine Excursion may be the perfect Valentine’s Day activity. Enjoy a 7-hour private chauffeured winery tour, a picnic lunch for two, massage sessions and a bottle of Emerson Private Label wine. At the end of the day, unwind with a relaxing walk around one of the property’s many hiking trails.
Get here: Emerson Resort is accessible from NYC by taking the Trailways bus to Mt. Tremper or Amtrak to the Rhinecliff Station. With advance coordination, the resort can offer transportation to and from the stops.
Embark on a “staycation” at the Q&A Residential Hotel
Located in the iconic 70 Pine in Lower Manhattan, the Q&A Residential Hotel is encouraging New Yorkers to go on a “staycation” for Valentine’s Day this year. The modern decór in this downtown hotel often caters to extended-stay business travelers, but this year they are offering a “Stay Romantic” package perfect for locals and visitors looking for an escape from daily life without having to leave the city. For an additional $75 per night, couples enjoy a bottle of champagne and a bed of roses upon arrival, daily chocolate truffles, a room upgrade if available and 1pm late checkout.
Get here: The hotel is accessed by the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J and Z subway lines.
Feature image courtesy of Mahkeo via Unsplash.
Josh Laskin is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. When he is not at work or on the road, you can find him in the mountains snowboarding, climbing, hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, and eating bagel bites.