With all due respect to Lennon and McCartney’s sentiment that “all you need is love,” we think a little planning goes a long way when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day. So whether you’re celebrating the love you feel for your honey, your family, or your friends, we’ve got 14 ways to help ensure Cupid hits his mark this year.
The outdoor skating rink at the Newport Harbor Island Resort transforms the north lawn of this seaside resort into an experience with far better views (the Newport Pell Bridge and the Goat Island Lighthouse are right there) than Rockefeller Center could ever provide. Open daily (weather permitting) and to the general public, you can bring your own skates or rent them for $12 in addition to the $15 general admission (there are reduced prices for kids, seniors, and military) for two hours’ skate time. Afterwards, head inside to the lounge for a cocktail or hot chocolate, or venture over the Newport Sweet Shoppe for heart-shaped confections, while supplies last.
BEECH Restaurant is a love letter to Jamestown, penned by a group of residents who have adored this spot for more than two decades, back when it was known as Trattoria Simpatico. Jamestown native Kevin Gaudreau, who made a name for himself as owner and chef of KG Kitchen Bar in Providence is now co-owner and chef of this beautiful eatery. It’s been re-imagined with a clean coastal vibe and a menu that is creative and classic at once. Cross the bridge and settle in with an artisan cocktail while you decide between lemon shrimp with housemade pasta or the seared duck breast with sage demi-glace.
Join the Encore Opera Company on the evening of Sunday, February 12 for the perfect Valentine’s celebration: “Love Songs in the Living Room” at Blithewold Mansion and Gardens in Bristol. The gorgeous interior of the 45-room mansion, set on 33 acres along Narragansett Bay, is one of the finest intact examples of American Country Place era architecture, and it’s the perfect backdrop for an evening featuring romantic duets and arias. Bubbly bevvies and chocolates will be served.
The Bodhi Spa in Newport features hydrotherapy, the art of healing through the application of water in any form – hot, cold, steam, or ice – using tried-and-true methods that date back to ancient Egypt. Think plunge pools, steam rooms, and massage tables. You’ll have many options for soothing your soul with water, in increments of 30 minutes, an hour, or an hour and a half, with prices starting at $140.
With destinations as delicious and exclusive as Newport minutes away, a daycation might be a perfect way to celebrate the one you love. But if multiple trolley stops or public parking aren’t your idea of exclusive, Newport Jaguar Tours has the perfect alternative. Your tour guide will pick you up in a beautiful classic Jag – a convertible if it’s warm enough – to escort the two of you wherever your hearts desire, whether it’s a winery or restaurant or a cruise along Ocean Drive. You can also choose from a plethora of themed tours, like “Scandalous Newport,” or “The Kennedys in Newport.” Tours can run from three hours to a full day.
What is it about things in miniature that’s so enticing? Besides the fact that mini can often mean cute, it’s also easy, portable, and often affordable. If you can relate, then you might want to grab your mini-me and attend Bristol Art Museum’s Miniature Monumental, opening February 4 and running through March. The exhibition will feature paintings, drawings, original prints, etchings, stamps, sculptures, and more that can be held in the palm of the hand or measure less than 25 square inches in size. Afterwards, indulge in the big Indian- and Asian-influenced flavors offered by Chef Sai Viswanath at DeWolf Tavern, a romantic waterside restaurant that used to be a rum distillery, replete with warming fireplaces and exposed stone walls. It’s the perfect place for a bowl of seafood stew or a tandoor oven-cooked entree.
A fun and tasty Galentine’s Day celebration at the Surf Club in the Newport Bay Club starts with a glass of wine or beer, some apps, and some fresh pizza dough. The restaurant is famous for pizza, tacos and ‘wiches featuring clean and inventive flavors. Book a private chef-led pizza-making class for you and your gals to craft classic Neapolitan-style pies using fresh, local ingredients. You’ll dive into each step of the pizza-making process:mixing, stretching, shaping, and baking. Oh, and eating it all, too! So what if you’re covered in flour afterwards?
Treat your guy or girl to a sports-themed afternoon of fun featuring fast-moving objects like tennis balls, classic cars, and sailboats. Newport, after all, is home to three prestigious and official museums devoted to sports. At the Sailing Museum, you’ll find the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, featuring almost 200 sailors who challenged the seas. The International Tennis Hall of Fame boasts 25,000 artifacts devoted to the sport, located on the grounds of the circa-1880 Newport Casino (you may recognize its classic court from the recent season of HBO’s The Gilded Age).
Newport Vineyards on Aquidneck Island has long been known to have excellent conditions for growing grapes. The warm Gulf Stream waters and the moderating effects of nearby Narragansett Bay create a long growing season; this allows the complex flavors of good wine to develop. And great wines are what you’ll experience here, whether you’re into red, white, rosé, or specialty varieties. A tasting here is a perfect way to celebrate your love of wine, the good life, and each other.
If prime time for your little Valentine is afternoon, sign up for an after-school cooking class for parents and kids at Newport Cooks. This lively and creative chef-taught class will teach children 8-13 years old some of the basics of cooking and baking skills. They (and you!) will learn to navigate recipes, practice new skills, and try new kinds of food. In the right environment with the proper tools, you and your mini-me can lay the foundation for future traditions and holiday fun. Check out the vast array of classes offered while you’re here, not just for kids but adults too.
Thinking of proposing in an epic way to your one-and-only? Skip the family skate at the ice rink at the Newport Harbor Island Resort and rent out the whole thing for $600 for an hour of totally private ice time. What with the twinkling lights of the Goat Island Lighthouse and Newport Pell bridge seemingly an arm’s reach away, how could they say no? Then, as the sun is setting, retire to one of the resort’s heated, outdoor, see-through igloos, replete with cozy blankets, pillows, and seating, and enjoy cocktails and a delicious, hearty coastal-inspired or a special apres-skate menu. $150 food and beverage minimum.
In the past few years, it seems that goats have become the animals we all want to be around (the furry ones here, not the football ones). And it’s no wonder. Mild-mannered, affectionate, playful, and loud, they make for fun outdoor company. At Simmons Farm in Middletown, you and the family can take one goat or a couple on leashes for a guided walk led by Farmer Karla. There will be stops along the way to let the goats nibble and explore. You’ll have the benefit of gorgeous views of Narragansett Bay as you pass through open pastures and say hello to some of the farm’s other residents: pigs, cows, ducks, and chickens. Hikes happen Thursdays and weekends. $25 per goat, with two kids admissions included.
If you have a big brood with whom you’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day, consider the organized and oh-so-fun chaos at Ryan Amusements in Newport. Perfectly located in the heart of Thames Street, the arcade offers old-school pinball machines, bowling, ax throwing, the hottest new video games – Ryan’s has something for all ages. Snacks and drinks keep kids and adults in tip-top form. A New England-based business for more than 60 years, the Ryans know that the family who plays together stays together.
If your idea of a romantic afternoon is to take a meandering drive exploring the coastline, stopping at art galleries, bakeries, or artisan jewelry shops, Tiverton is your jam. Founded in 1694, this charming coastal community is a microcosm of what’s best about the Ocean State: great views, historic architecture, clam shacks, sea- and farm-to-table restaurants, peaceful farmland, windswept beaches, comfy cafes, and more. Take routes 24 to 77, which will lead you through all of it. Stop where your heart desires. Fancy a cone of vanilla with your Valentine? Gray’s Ice Cream is open 365 days a year, and for some of the best food in the state, check out the Red Dory. Chef-owner Aaron DeRego’s family has been farming these fields for generations and his cuisine will never disappoint.
Built in 1873 in a prime location on the famed Newport Cliff Walk, The Chanler was originally the summer cottage of New York Congressman John Chanler and his wife Margaret, the great-granddaughter of John Jacob Astor. It’s been named numerous times in the “most romantic hotel” category by magazines and websites alike because of its sublime views and beautiful, but warm and welcoming, interior. Rooms here come in a half-dozen varieties, from ocean or garden villas to estate or manor rooms, and all are appointed in meticulous period decor.
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