February 14th will soon be upon us… can’t you just feel the love in the air??
Ulster County is a destination for lovers this time of year. What could be better on a cold winter’s day than to spend some quality time with your love, enjoying a delicious meal and some sweet treats to go along with it? There’s lots of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day here in Ulster County with your love, so much so, that for the ambitious, it may be hard to fit your whole desired Ulster County itinerary into one single, love-filled day. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday (which is a little bit of a bummer for those trying to squeeze in plans around weekday work schedules), so why not celebrate a little early- start the weekend before and stretch the festivities and love a little further?
We’ve got some suggestions on how to surprise your love with an exciting and romantic weekend getaway (or ‘staycation’ for Ulster residents!) that will please a range of couples... We’re going beyond your typical and traditional Valentine’s Day related activities here, so let’s jump right in!
A Sweet & Sinful Weekend in New Paltz
If you and your love are looking for a weekend of relaxation and laid back exploring, New Paltz is just picture perfect this time of year. There’s no denying that Mohonk Mountain House oozes a spirit of cozy, woodsy sophistication that is hard to parallel in our area. With personal fireplaces in guest rooms, an award-winning spa, the stunning and serene views from rocking chair front porches and great food and activities, Mohonk Mountain house is a sought after getaway for lovers in any season, but especially surrounding Valentine's Day. After a lazy morning of sleeping in, take a drive down the mountain and follow scenic Albany Post Road to Robibero Family Vineyards for a romantic afternoon of sweet and sinful indulgence. The Sweet & Sinful Revenge Wine & Cupcake Pairing will feature tastings of Robibero’s own wines, paired with delicious, mini Moxie cupcakes (also from right here in New Paltz!). Despite offering three different seatings on February 11th & 12th (at 12:45pm, 2:30pm & 4:15pm) these events are expected to sell out, so get your tickets in advance at Robibero’s website. After an afternoon of sinful snacking, it’s a good idea to walk some of it off on a leisurely stroll through the village of New Paltz, taking in the eccentric shops, street art, and picture perfect views of the Shawangunk Ridge from the newly re-built Carmine Liberta bridge overlooking the Wallkill River and farm flats. When you’ve walked off your cupcakes and worked up an appetite again, there is no shortage of restaurants and cuisines available directly in the village, but for a quiet, relaxing and truly romantic dinner, bring your love to A Tavola Trattoria, a small, cozy, authentic Italian restaurant, with a loft overlooking Main Street and the heart of the downtown village.
A Jammin’ Weekend on the Mountain
Not every couple is looking for the standard, traditional wine & dine related Valentine’s Day events, which is super convenient for us here in Ulster County, because there’s much more here to do than just those activities. If you’re looking to escape a bit further into the woods, but still be near many of the great Valentine’s Day related suggestions and events in New Paltz, venture to the other side of the Minnewaska and Mohonk Preserves to the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa in Kerhonkson, where they will be hosting their 2017 Winter Folk Weekend, February 11th and 12th. This laid back winter folk music festival is an ideal event for musicians or music lovers, who are interested in informal jamming, singing and playing spontaneously and on your own schedule (For more information about the festival, visit www.folkmusicny.org/weekends.html). Weather permitting, this area of Ulster County is known for its hiking and scenic beauty… take a hike, or a ride, through the scenic Shawangunk Ridge for beautiful vistas of the valley and beyond and while you’re out exploring, stop into Rough Cut Brewing Company for a selection of local craft ales and some great pub food (And if you’ll be in town on Valentines Day, check out their Valentines Day specials price-fix menu for two; reservations required).
A Competitive & Athletic Weekend on the Slopes
Active couples looking for excitement and a little competitive spirit this Valentine's Day can get their hearts racing and blood pumping trying their hand at the “fastest sport on ice.” The USA Luge Challenge, taking place the weekend of February 11th & 12th at Belleayre Mountain, is a free event, where no experience is necessary. USA luge athletes and coaches will show you the basics on beginner luge sleds, then line up to race the clock on practice runs down a complete luge track to take the title, and win a prize. Luge registration starts at 9:00am and the event runs all day with live music and entertainment. The rest of the ski center will also be open so if you prefer to ski or snowboard with your sweetheart, you can do that as well! While Belleayre doesn’t have their own onsite lodging (yet!), there are plenty of places to stay if you’re looking to make a weekend out of your ski trip. Emerson Resort and Spa is located only 20 minutes from the mountain, in the town of Shandaken, with luxury accommodations where you and your love can wind down together after a long day on the slopes (bonus, quirky perk for couples who dig ‘Roadside America’ attractions- Emerson Resort is also home to the world’s largest Kaleidoscope). For couples looking to escape to nature, the northern part of Ulster County delivers, but admittedly, it is a bit further of a drive when you want to leave the mountain and explore nearby attractions. For a quick bite, and to experience one of Ulster County’s favorite diners, hit up the nearby Phoenicia Diner (we know- a diner might not sound overly romantic, but we’re sure you won’t be disappointed with the food, service and atmosphere!)
And if a Valentine’s Day weekend just isn’t in the cards this year for you and your honey, the old standbys are always appreciated for a romantic night together: grab a bottle of locally made wine from any of the wineries on the Shawangunk Wine Trail, a box of delectable Krause’s Chocolates (from either of their shops in Saugerties or New Paltz) and make a reservation to any of the amazing Ulster County restaurants, or just enjoy that chocolate and wine from the comfort of your own couch. If you want to switch things up a bit this year, The Chateau, a newly opened event space in Kingston is hosting a Valentine’s Day Party, starting at 5:00pm on Tuesday night. For $39.95 a person, you can enjoy a night of live entertainment, a champagne accompanied 3 course dinner and a box of long stemmed roses. Or, if you’re looking for a little more excitement after dinner, (or maybe if you’re already looking ahead to the next holiday on the horizon) head on over to the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston to catch the Rockin’ Road To Dublin, a world class hybrid group featuring Irish dance, Rock N Roll and Broadway vibes for an upbeat, fun, out of the ordinary night!
Do you and your sweetheart have a favorite Valentine’s Day tradition here in the Hudson Valley? Where is your favorite place to spend some quality time with loved ones? Share them with us, below!