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10 Fun Ideas for Valentine’s Day

10 Fun Ideas for Valentine’s Day

| Sande Caplin |

What memories do you have of Valentine’s Day? Maybe it was a special gift or something that you did. Valentine’s Day always brings me back to my childhood. The anticipated moment in grade school when you exchange those little drugstore box cards and/or the small pink & white heart-shaped candies that have those little messages on them that seem to partially wear off.

Isn’t it true, that sometimes the smallest things in life are what we treasure most? I don’t remember the cards that I received, but I do remember the event. If you are looking to create a memory with your loved one this Valentine’s Day you may want to know experts say experiences a couple share together will create a bond greater than a gift received. Going somewhere you have never been or doing something out of your normal routine, will allow for new conversations and shared memories and perhaps a laugh or two.

For this Valentine’s Day, I put together 10 fun things to do in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Since the special day falls in the middle of the week, some of these events will take place either the weekend before or after.

Sweethearts Stroll Art Walk: Village of the Arts, Bradenton, February 2nd: 6PM-9: 30 PM & February 3rd 11AM-4PM. The Village comes alive on Friday night & Saturday afternoon for this fun event. Artists will have their galleries open, come for dinner on Friday night or maybe lunch on Saturday. Meet the artists, enjoy live music and pick up a little something to remember the night. The local artists will have new work created just for Valentine’s Day.

Tony Bennett: Van Wezel, Feb 10th, 8 PM-10PM: The music legend, Tony Bennett, comes back to the Van Wezel for one night of award-winning music. Tony’s music spans all genres from jazz to pop. For more information, call 941-953-3368

Happy Valentine's DayWine Tasting on Main, Lakewood Ranch. February 14th, , 8111 Lakewood Ranch Main Street.  5:30PM-7: 30 PM. $20 PP. Taste over 20 different wines from around the world at the Fine Wine Tastings on Main. What’s nice about a wine tasting event is that you don’t have to know anything about wine! The wines are pre-selected and the all the information will be provided.  So, if you like wine this is a great way to spend a few hours. This is one of my favorite places to buy wine. They carry over 450 selections. Appetizers are served during the wine tasting. But if you are still hungry afterward, walk to one of several restaurants in downtown Lakewood Ranch. Many eateries have outdoor dining and live music too. Reservations are required for the wine tasting. You can call them at 941-355-4718

Hire a Personal Chef: I have a friend who is a private chef for a professional athlete and she is the one that made this suggestion. Hiring a private chef for a special night will not cost you any more than dining out at a higher-end restaurant. Hire a personal chef if you want to have a romantic evening at home, avoid the crowds on Valentine’s Day or on the following weekend. Most chefs bring everything they need to prepare your special meal, plus they clean up! What could be better than a wonderful meal cooked just for you, in the privacy of your own home and no dishes to clean afterward?

McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre: I always look forward to going to McCurdy’s. We go early to have a drink in the green room before being seated for the show. On February 14th, they are having the Black Diamond Burlesque Troupe perform at 8 PM. However, if that doesn’t sound like your thing, then go for the Friday or Saturday night shows. McCurdy’s has two shows on Friday or Saturday night (6:30 PM & 8:50 PM). Tickets are $23 Per person and you can buy them online. I just bought mine for the second show on Friday the 16th and it was filling up fast.

Marina Jacks Cruises: February 14th Lunch & Dinner. Two evening cruises are available for Valentine’s Day (5 PM & 7 PM). If you have never been out on the bay, this is your chance! In addition, Marina Jacks is preparing a special buffet for this occasion. Enjoy live music, the wonderful view, and hopefully, Mother Nature will include a spectacular sunset! Reservations are required. Call 941-365-4232. $69.95 Per person.

Say “I Do” Again!!: February 14th, 6 PM: 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. This popular event returns to the beautiful beaches of Siesta Key. The ceremony starts at 6 PM, however, you will want to be there about an hour in advance to check in. Online registration closes Feb 12th. The fee is $10. Each couple will receive a certificate, flower and a gift to mark this special day. Call 941-861-5000 for more information.

Wine & Dine in the Vines: Fiorelli Winery, 4250 County Road 675, Bradenton, FL. 34211. February 17th. If you are up for a little road trip, this is your place! According to Fiorelli Winery, they are the only grape winery and vineyard on the gulf coast. Nestled among the vineyard is the romantically lit, covered dining area where you will enjoy a 3-hour open bar of wine, sangria, or beer. Dinner is catered by Seven Continents Catering and live music will be  provided. The grounds of the vineyard are beautiful and you will have the opportunity to walk around before dinner. A February evening should be a perfect night, not too cool or hot. If you are looking for a fun, romantic dinner, you should consider Fiorelli Winery. Go online at to find out more. It is easy to find.

Restaurants for Valentine's DaySpa Weekend: Both the Westin and Ritz Carlton hotels have spa packages available. If you are wanting to get away, but not leave town, have your “staycation” right here. The new Westin has a beautiful rooftop bar and sweeping views of the bay. This casual eatery serves craft cocktails and light bites. The Ritz Carlton has 2 restaurants and a beach club facility that comes alive for the sunset celebration. Both hotels are located in downtown Sarasota.

Picnic on the Beach: One of my favorite things to do is grab a bottle of wine, a pair of chairs and catch the sunset on Anna Maria Island. We are so lucky to live on a beautiful coast with flat, sandy beaches and some of the best sunsets ever. You can make a picnic basket by stopping at Fresh Market on Manatee Ave before you head onto the island. If you want to dine at one of the restaurants afterward, remember this is our busiest time so reservations might be a good idea.

Finally, I thought I would share one of my favorite quotes for Valentine’s Day, “I don’t want to live, I want to love first and live intentionally.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sandy Williams is a licensed Broker Associate with EXP Realty and sells in the Sarasota area. With over 22 years of experience, Sandy and her team have sold over 2,100 homes. Nationally recognized. Sandy is originally from the Midwest but calls Lakewood Ranch her home

Photos by Shutterstock


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