Krause Handmade Chocolate sign in Saugerties. Photo: New York Makers
73% of Americans believe it is important to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year especially during the pandemic, and we are right there with them!
While we will welcome chocolate, romance, and jewelry, and virtual celebrations for those we cannot be with during these COVID -19 times, it is still possible to find unforgettable, pandemically mindful, New Yorkie ways to celebrate Valentine’s together. Just make sure you wear enough layers and don’t forget your mask!
The ultimate romantic destination in New York is Niagara. The Falls themselves are an easy sell, but there’s so much to do in the region if you have time for an extended weekend. Within a short driving distance of the falls there are more than 20 wineries with social distancing policies in place, or get a couples massage at Serenity Spa by the Falls.
Photo: Niagara Falls State Park
Whether your skating pirouette is on point or headed for a crash, ice-skating is one of the best ways to bond with loved ones. A classic skating destination is Bear Mountain Ice Rink in the Hudson Valley, with views of, you guessed it, gorgeous Bear Mountain.
Photo: Caroline Bradley D'Allura
If you want a complete wining, dining, sightseeing, and romancing package, dinner cruises are an excellent option. There are several fantastic, socially distant options in New York City, which provide couples with a cozy yacht to glide around the city with views of the sunset on the water, then the night skyline as it lights up. Hornblower offers the classic private dinner cruise, but they also have a brunch option, with bottomless mimosas. Event Cruises also has private dinner cruises, with a live DJ, roses and chocolate covered strawberries.
It would be hard to find a more iconic image than Robert Indiana’s classic LOVE sculpture, resting auspiciously and with eternal sunny optimism in the midst of NYC’s Midtown bustle at 55th Street and 6thAvenue. We like to start or end long romantic strolls to or from Greenwich Village, Fifth Avenue uptown, Soho, or Central Park here. (There are so many gorgeous walks in New York City, but those are a few of the most architecturally rich, simply brimming with behind-glass eye candy). Make sure you snap a selfie with your partner in front of LOVE because you know you’re going to want to post it on Instagram.
Photo from Pinterest
Why not start at LOVE and end in Central Park? You can either stroll up through and around the ramble, take a carriage ride, or visit Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon.
Photo from Pinterest
WOODSTOCK & NEARBY
The small towns of the Hudson Valley each hold their own charms, but to us, the mere idea of Woodstock always has a sheen of exuberant romance attached to it (even though the music festival that goes by that name did not actually happen there). Start at Tinker Street, which offers everything from antiques and gorgeous arts and crafts made by local artisans to tie-dyed underwear. Then hit the Ashokan Reservoir, which offers a 2.7 mile paved walkway and connects to Overlook Mountain. The hike is beginner friendly and steady, and you’re rewarded at the top with a panoramic view of the Valley. But our favorite part of the hike is the ruins of a 19th century resort, leftover from boom times. It would be difficult to find a better place to stay than the Emerson Resort & Spa, which also offers an incredible array of spa services, food options, and...the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope.
Culture vultures should flock to Dia Beacon, the museum for Dia Art Foundation’s impressive collection of art from the 1960s to the present day. (It is one of Dia’s 11 locations, each of which has its own laser-like focus). The art is housed in Nabisco’s defunct print plant, and there are 160,000 square feet to wander in, making it one of the country’s largest and most impressive collections of contemporary art. Come for Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Imi Knoebel, Dorothea Rockburne, Richard Serra, Marian Zazeela, and Dan Flavin. Stay for the current exhibitions of Mel Bochner and Barry Le Va. And make sure to end the trip with a stroll downtown, one of the most exciting under-the-radar art communities in the country. There are galleries, exhibit spaces, boutiques, and farm-to-table food, and drink places galore.
Photo: Dia Art Foundation
ETERNAL FLAMES FALLS
This small waterfall in Shale Creek Preserve leaves an indelible impression. It is located in Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York near Rochester, with a natural grotto at the fall’s base which emits natural gas and can be lit to produce a small flame. The “eternal flame” has long drawn lovers for its strange and alluring spectacle, but geologists have also studied it. In 2013, scientists from Indiana University and Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology determined that the Eternal Flame has higher concentrations of ethane and propane (about 35%) than other gas seeps.
The Saugerties Lighthouse, located on the Hudson River where the Esopus Creek in Saugerties converges with the river, is accessible through a trail from the Ruth Reynolds Glunt Nature Preserve. The Lighthouse, built in 1869, serves as more of a home than a classic towering lighthouse. An Italianette red-brick structure housing a museum, gift shop, parlor, kitchen, and two guest bedrooms, the operational light tower itself is located on top of the roof, and offers panoramic views. While in Saugerties, indulge your sweet tooth with some of the best chocolate made in New York. Krause’s Handmade Chocolate goes all-out for Valentine’s Day. (Check out the sign above!) Our favorites are the assorted caramels, assorted peanut butter truffles, chocolate covered pretzels, and cookie dough fudge.
Photos: New York Makers
The amazing thing about our state is that this list is only a fraction of the many possibilities available in New York. Please let us know how you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year!