I’ve never been a firm believer in Valentines Day. It has always felt like an arbitrary holiday dropped after Christmas, just as that last holiday bill has been paid off. However, when the last chocolate sampler has been polished off, and the roses are well and soaked, it makes the perfect opportunity for shared adventure and travel opportunities. One doesn’t even need to travel far, spend copious amounts of money, or fight off a barrage of reservations to find solitude out in the open. This Valentines day, get out and get wild.
You’re sitting there, the hottest restaurant in town has reservations booked to least two centuries from now, the flowers are backed up, and the only chocolates left are the dark bitter ones that everybody pretends to enjoy.
Instead of fretting, head out into the open space of the natural world. Realizing the opportunity for couples wanting to get out into solitude for a day the National Park Service has published this handy guide to Valentines Day activities across the country. Why compete with a $300 spa treatment, when you can head to the natural hot springs in Florida or Arkansas. Lay out in the naturally healing waters, taking in the view of picturesque mountains and mangroves, while a bevy of animal life plays on the shores. Take a boat out through California’s Channel Islands spotting whales as they migrate back towards warmer waters for the winter. Head up into the mountains of Wyoming or Colorado and get lost in a majestic wonderland of the coniferous forests, about to explode into springs bloom. In the Southwest, head into the desert at sunset, watch the burst of color through the sandstone cliffs of Arches National Park, or get inspired by the Painted Canyon in Arizona.
For the less adventurous, get historical. Take a carriage ride through old New York, Washington and Philadelphia. Explore the old colonial sites, harkening back to a time when the word gentleman held much more weight. Walk through the old forts of Key West as the setting golden Atlantic sun falls through it’s decrepit halls. The historical societies of Philadelphia and Chicago are offering special ghost tours through their popular sites of legend. Weird Chicago is offering a special night of lore and spirits as it revisits the famed St. Valentines Day Massacre, and a look into it’s gangster past.
Museums throughout the country are spreading the love all week with a series of exhibits, lectures, and events with the romantic edge. The Museum of National History in New York is hosting a special exhibition on the facts, myths, and realities of aphrodisiacs. Art museums nationwide are hosting their more romantic exhibitions. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is hosting a special Valentines Day brunch and guided tour through their exquisite collection, while the MET in New York features a special showing of Italian illustrations ranging from the 16th to 19th century.
Take in a shared activity, if you’re in Florida, bike the miles of untamed trails hugging the spectacular coast. Take a rock climbing course and see the feeling of holding your partners life literally at the end of a line. Join a sea kayaking group off the California coast where seals and sea lions frolic in the azure Pacific waters. The solitude, the wildlife, and the setting sun make for perfect moments.
This Valentines Day, move away from the masses, the reservations, and the general madness and go into the open spaces. Use it as an opportunity to explore your wild and cultural side and find a unique experience that could never be matched.
Happy Valentines Day, and Happy Travels,