February is the month for Valentine’s, and I’m just awakening to the fact that since I’m in a relationship involving an actual person, I probably need to care this year. What does that even mean? While I might appear as cool as the February sunshine on the outside, inside my mind is racing: What’s a sweet gesture? What’s a memorable date idea? What’s a gift people actually want?
As I contemplate life’s pressing queries, my surroundings offer some inspiration. The Outer Banks’ casual but alluring romance and charm draws many a couple for their vacations and weddings and has inspired Nicholas Sparks on at least one occasion. Between the ocean’s magic, local shops' treasure trove of potential gifts and the Valentine’s Day events at restaurants, maybe – just maybe – I can pull together something special.
Don’t have a Valentine yet? Don’t sweat it ... or do – I hear that sweating releases pheromones. Work one up and maybe meet a new cutie at the Love on the Run 5K at Sanctuary Vineyards on Saturday, February 8. Run or walk through the vineyard’s scenic sound and countryside settings in Jarvisburg. Afterwards, join your fellow runners and potential Valentine’s material at the after-party in the winery. Here runners and spectators (the fun is open to both) can enjoy a wine, cheese and chocolate tasting, the winery’s delicious red and white wines and mingling. Tickets also include a commemorative glass and a bottle of wine to take home – not a bad gift to give your Valentine either. The race begins at 9 a.m., and you can register in advance online.
Photo credits to Sanctuary Vineyards
Chocolates are another go-to gift for the occasion. But don’t settle for the store-bought box that screams last-minute Valentine. Your boo deserves better, such as a box of scrumptious homemade chocolates to show them you’re skilled and planned ahead. Don’t know how to make chocolates? Learn how at an After Dark class at All Saints Episcopal Church. Local Geoff Fountain has been sharing his special recipe for creamy chocolate turtle truffles at After Dark classes for years, and on February 13, his class will give you the savvy to lovingly craft a batch to surprise your Valentine. Space for the class is still available – register here.
For a simple but romantic activity you can share with your Valentine, take a note from the Romantic era’s writers and turn to the great outdoors. The natural beauty across the beach, sound and maritime forest settings drips with romance, so absorb it during a stroll. Wake up with a sunrise walk on the beach – bonus points if you bring coffee. Not a morning person? Head to the island’s sound side for a sunset stroll. For a saccharine flourish, bring travel mugs of hot chocolate.
Photo credits to Unsplash.com
Valentine’s Day Dinner
Of course, the classic Valentine’s Day dinner date deserves a nod too – around the beach, special dinners aim to inspire romance and set hearts aflame.
Spellbinding sunsets, warming firesides, live acoustic music and elevated food and beverages … what more do you need to set the mood for Valentine’s Day? You find all of this when you celebrate Valentine’s at The Village Table & Tavern in Duck. Head there early to catch the sunset from their sound-side location and sip one of their fine wines or craft cocktails by the fireside. Starting at 5:30 p.m., Birddog brings the musical talents of Dan and Laura Martier to the restaurant’s fireside lounge. Make your reservations now by calling or emailing (252) 715-1414 or email@example.com.
Photo credits to The Village Table & Tavern
For another setting that oozes with romance, settle into a cozy two-top or retro booth underneath the sort of gentle lighting that makes everyone look good. When you dine at Ocean Boulevard Bistro & Martini Bar, indulge in a special Valentine's Day Dinner of a four-course menu with optional wine pairings for each course. With dishes crafted in the restaurant’s signature gourmet flair, it’s a winning destination if you and your date share a love for good food. Reservations for the evening are filling up fast; call (252) 261-2546 to make yours.
Then again, who’s to say that Valentine’s Day dates should be a formal affair? Set yourself up for a dinner date that includes playtime with puppies and a masquerade dance. The Outer Banks Brewing Station hosts a Valentine’s Day Dinner and Dance that provides more than festive drink specials and a three-course meal. From 5 to 7 p.m. furry friends from the Outer Banks SPCA will be meeting and greeting people in the Brewing Station’s backyard, and you can take home a new love of your life if you meet them there. Following dinner, DJ Ohkay gets the groove going, spinning love songs for a masquerade dance and accompanying costume contest (there will be prizes for best costume!). Learn more on the Brewing Station’s website.
Fill the night with music you love at the Outer Banks Brewing Station.
You can find even more ways to spend Valentine’s Day on the Outer Banks on our Daytime Events and Nightlife calendars. Now that I have your ideas percolating, let us know how you’d love to spend the day of love on the Outer Banks! And to all the singletons out there, stay strong – all the candy in stores will be half price come February 15.