We all know the tried-and-true ways to express our love and appreciation for the special someones in our lives on Valentine’s Day. While there’s nothing at all wrong with giving flowers and chocolates–and we highly recommend them–you could try some of these unique suggestions for telling them you care not only on Feb. 14, but all year long.
Take a walk on the beach
The beach is a magical place in the winter. Gone is the distraction of the beachgoers and paraphernalia of summer and you’re left with vast tracts of white sand and the sea, sky and beyond. Bundle up and bring a thermos of your favorite hot beverage to enjoy the beauty of our world famous Jones Beach. You can do the four-mile health walk on the boardwalk if you don’t want sand in your shoes. (nysparks.com/parks/10/details.aspx)
Laugh together at a comedy club
Comedians Bob Hope and Milton Berle both liked to say that laughter is an instant vacation. Since they both famously admitted stealing comic material, let’s give them both credit. There are several comedy clubs in Nassau where you can hear our homegrown talent as they do their stand-up routines. Check out Governors’ Comedy Club in Levittown and Brokerage Comedy Club in Bellmore. Perhaps you’ll hear the next Eddie Murphy or Billy Crystal. (www.govs.com)
You and me and doggie makes three
There are beautiful places on Long Island that welcome humans with their leashed dogs, such as Sands Point Preserve and Sagamore Hill, as well as dog parks where dogs can run free and make new friends. LI-DOG, the Long Island Dog Owners Group, is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to public parkland for Long Island dog owners and their dogs. Their web site (www.lidog.org) provides a list of Long Island dog parks.
Get away from it all
The Garden City Hotel has just opened an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa where you can have a side-by-side couples’ massage. Combine that with a dinner at the Polo Lounge and an overnight stay and you’ll feel as if you’ve gone far away from home. The hotel also offers a romance package of overnight accommodations, champagne and truffles in your room, rose petal turndown service and a choice of full American breakfast in the Polo Lounge or continental breakfast for two in the room. (www.gardencityhotel.com)
Are you fans of the Grateful Dead? You can get matching Grateful Dead bracelets in leather and silver from Fortunoff Fine Jewelers in Westbury. (www.fortunoffjewelry.com)
Feed the love
Take some cooking classes and learn to make dishes that the two of you can prepare and enjoy together. A la Carte cooking school in Lynbrook (www.alacartecs.com) offers date night classes once a month. The menu for Date Night in Tuscany includes proscuitto, olive and rosemary focaccia and chicken baked in a salt crust. Sur la Table in Manhasset (www.surlatable.com) has date night classes every weekend with classes such as the Spanish Table where you’ll make a classic Romesco sauce for pork medallions and the traditional Spanish crème brulee type dessert called Crème Catalan. Or you can have the instructor come to you. The Baking Coach offers private lessons just for the two of you. You can make customize the evening to the types of dishes you both want to learn.
Play some pool
Everyone loves a little friendly competition, especially against their sweetheart. Head over to Cue Nine Sports Bar and Billiards at 2953 Hempstead Tpke. in Levittown (www.cue-nine.com) for some eight ball. They have a great menu full of tasty bites like wings, potato skins and delicious salads, burgers and ribs. Cue Nine’s upbeat, energetic vibe will put you in the mood to order a round of drinks and stay here all night. A great place to hang out and relax in a group or just with your significant other.
A romantic dinner for two
Enjoy a casual and quintessential Italian dinner at Domenico’s at 3270 Hempstead Tpke. in Levittown (www.domenicosrestaurant.net). Dine on the classics, such as pizza, pasta and fried zucchini, or feast on shrimp parmigiana, chicken francese and seafood fra diavolo. Top off your meal with everyone’s favorite tiramisu or cannoli.
Split a sundae
The Hollow Creamery in Carle Place (thehollowcreamery.webs.com) offers delicious homemade ice cream that comes in over a dozen flavors. Share a banana split, Affogato, slice of cake or a variety of other desserts; and top it off with some homemade Sangria, beer on tap or coffee.
Skate the night away
If you’re looking for an excuse to hold hands all night, head over to the ice skating rink at Cantiague Park in Hicksville (www.nassaucountyny.gov/2791/Cantiague-Park). The large indoor rink is a great place to heat things up with your sweetheart. Grab a quick bite or some hot chocolate from the snack bar and if you need a break, chill out on the bleachers and watch the other skaters.
Sweet tooth Valentine’s
Nothing says ‘I Love You’ like candy. But in New Hyde Park, couples on Valentine’s Day cannot only satisfy their sugar rush, but take a trip back in time as well. Bobb Howard’s General Store (bobbhowardsgeneralstore.com) at 518 Lakeville Rd. transports you back to the 1950s with its vintage toys and old-school candy. From Astro Pops, to Marshmallow Twists or Goldenberg Peanut Chews and Circus Peanuts, Bobb Howard’s has everything a loving valentine could ask for.
Birdwatching is unique way to create some lasting memories with the one you love as well as a rewarding experience. Identifying them and drawing them near is easy, and will create a lifetime of pleasures. Centennial Gardens in Floral Park will participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count this month (Feb. 13-16). Call the gardens at 516-326-6336 or visit www.birdcount.org for details.
A belly full of pub food at Morrison’s gastropub (www.morrisonsny.com) and comfort-inspired restaurant in Plainview can be inspirational. Located at 430 Woodbury Rd. in Plainview, the fit-for-foodies eatery boasts plenty of aphrodisiac-angled food and libido-revving libations. Grab a quiet, cozy spot in the dining room for a full dinner or sidle up to the bar with your love for an array of provocative foods off the bar menu.
Treat your sweet tooth
Didn’t get enough dessert at dinner? Planning a special evening of sweets and treats? Pop into Dortoni Bakery (www.dortonibakery.com) at 3264 Hempstead Tpke. in Levittown to curb your cravings. Take your pick from pastries, cream puffs, cupcakes, cookies and custom cakes or grab a couple of chocolate-covered strawberries to go. Deliciousness awaits.
Go East, wine lovers
You can visit wineries on both the South and North Fork, although the bulk of the wineries are on the North Fork. Once you exit the LIE, follow the green Wine Trail road signs. The Long Island Wine Council hosts an excellent webpage (liwines.com) with loads of information to help you plan your trip, including a map of the wineries. Those who prefer not to drive can arrange to be driven around by one of several car services. (There is a list on the web site.) You can arrange home-to-winery service, take the train to Mattituck or Riverhead and be driven or park your car at Tangers Outlet.
Take a romantic “getaway”
Go on a romantic escape without going too far at the Glen Cove Mansion (www.glencovemansion.com). Start with a five-course dinner in the Garden Ballroom at 7 p.m., which includes a complimentary glass of champagne, heart-shaped ravioli, tropical salad with orchids and a passion fruit vinaigrette, lover’s surf and turf and double chocolate fudge cake with chocolate-covered strawberries. Then stay for live entertainment in Pub 1910, spend the night and enjoy breakfast the next morning. Call 516-674-2955 for reservations.
What could be more special than listening to live music surrounded by beautiful greenery and flowers in the dead of winter? A trip to Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay (www.plantingfields.org) will warm you up and bring romance to life. On Friday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m., kick off the weekend with the The Brooklyn Sugar Stompers as part of the Music at the Mansion Concert Series at Coe Hall. The fee is $20 for nonmembers or $10 for members and no parking fee. The Brooklyn Show Stompers perform hot jazz and blues, inspired from the Prohibition Era 1920s “Jazz Age” throughout the “Swing Era” of the 1930s. For tickets contact Antigone Zaharikis at 516-922-8668. Or stop by the Camellia House from noon to 3 p.m. and hear live music by Ricky Roche while you explore hundreds of varieties of camellias inside the Camellia Greenhouse.
—Jill Nossa, Jen Fauci, Christy Hinko, Steve Mosco and Rich Forestano contributed to this article.