Valentine’s Day, a day devoted to love, is ironically one of the most unloved holidays of the year. But even the most embittered soul can feel soothed by a chocolate-covered strawberry latte. Whether you go all in on romance, invest in self-care, or take up axe-throwing to forget your ex, here are myriad ways to make this Valentine’s Day the best one yet. Show us your date pics by tagging #heyrhodyphotos
There are few ways to express love as passionately as gifting an assortment of cheese. Rhode Island is full of artisanal cheese wizards who can guide you through their selection, or better yet, you can pre-order a specialty board and indulge in all the gooey romance yourself. Try East Side Cheese & Provisions in Providence – that black truffle heart from Godminster will cure the blackest of hearts – or choose a cheese or dessert board at Wedge in Warren. And if you want to play matchmaker and help your cheese find its perfect mate, Graze on Main in East Greenwich provides wine pairings as well.
If you’re looking for a way to show a friend, family member, or significant other that you love them, look no farther than giving the gift of rest and relaxation. Bodhi Spa, located in both Providence and Newport, is the perfect introduction to the ancient art of hydrotherapy, with hot mineral pools, cold plunges, saunas, and steam rooms. It’s also fully equipped with traditional therapies, from age-defying facials to hot stone massages. Turn relaxation into a date with the Bodhi Bliss Couples Massage: 30, 60, or 90 minutes of refreshing wellness alongside your partner.
If the thought of Valentine’s Day makes you want to throw sharp objects, there’s a place for that: Far Shot Providence. Ideal for a group of friends, you’ll receive a quick coaching lesson before trying your hand at ax and knife throwing. Reservations are encouraged, and all equipment is provided. Beer and soft drinks are available at the bar, and you can bring your own food (might we suggest a cheese board?). Enjoy the thrill of hitting your target or discover a new way to get over an ex, free of judgment.
Engage all of your senses with a tea ceremony at Ceremony, where teas are sourced from small farms across Asia and can be directly traced to their origin. “Tea is the whiskey of hot drinks,” says owner Michelle Cheng, and this 90-minute tasting focuses on the delicate and subtle differences that make each tea special. Journey through this authentic experience with another person or a group of up to five. If a British-inspired afternoon tea is how you envision tea time, reserve a spot at Sweet Marie’s Tea Cottage for a sampling of finger sandwiches, scones, and sweets, along with specialty cocktails and bottomless tea. This is the perfect excuse to dress up and celebrate with your Galentines.
Spend a steamy staycation in the heart of Rhode Island’s capital city at The Christopher Dodge House, or plan your escape to The Surf Shack, only a stone’s throw from the beach in Narragansett. Choose from a variety of styled rooms and add a “Romantic Getaway Package” to your stay at the Christopher Dodge House to receive a dozen roses, a half-pound box of assorted chocolates from Sweenor’s Chocolates, and a $100 gift card to Mill’s Tavern. If you want to extend your stay at The Surf Shack to include the weekend, you can indulge in a Valentine’s Day package that will include dinner and champagne at their eponymous restaurant and bar, where you can sip cocktails by the sea or share sparks with your loved one by the firepit out front.
For a truly romantic atmosphere, The Reef in Newport allows you to dine in the dark by candlelight, snuggling up near the fireplace and enjoying the soft serenade of a violinist. A special menu features elevated New England dining with an international twist. If magic is what you’re after, try dining outdoors in one of their eight specialty igloos, professionally decorated with chandeliers, fireplaces, and themes – from Winter Wonderland to The Gilded Age. These are available all day and can be reserved for two to eight people. On the other side of the bay, the Coast Guard House provides more options of dining by candlelight and igloos against a backdrop of rolling waves below.
If staying cozy at home is your style, then ordering Bites By Bre’s Valentine’s dinner is a 100 percent must. Each of her three courses is thoughtfully prepared and infused with love. For lucky Providence dwellers, you don’t even need to change out of pajamas to enjoy this mouthgasm – it can be delivered to your door. However, anyone is welcome to pick up their dinners from her base of operations. Past dinners have included Truffled Shepherd’s Pie, All Day Braised Brisket, and a special Belgian Spaghetti Bolognese, which Bre describes as “the ultimate convergence of love.” You’re also likely to receive a surprising touch with dinner, whether it be a bouquet of flowers, a heartfelt note, an artistic drawing on the delivery bag, or dog treats for the most loyal kind of Valentine.
If a “love fern” worked for Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, perhaps a “love bonsai” will be the symbol of your relationship. On February 11, make plans at LineSider Brewing, where you can learn the art of trimming tiny trees while drinking your favorite beer. You’ll receive all the materials and walk away with a cute potted and pruned bonsai. (Bonsai Bar also makes appearances at Smug Brewing on February 10 and 24, Pivotal Brewing February 15, and Jake and Johnny’s Lounge February 24; book online at BonsaiBar.com.) For the more traditional green thumb, join BloomBack Flowers at Gracie’s on February 8 or at The XO Bar on the 13th, where you will learn about floral design. You’ll create a beautiful arrangement to make your loved one feel extra special and craft your own delicious cocktail or mocktail to complement the occasion.
Not only is Matunuck Oyster Bar’s waterfront location a stunning place to dine; it’s also guaranteed to have the freshest pond-to-plate seafood, including the infamous bivalves known for their libido-boosting qualities. Dine in, where flavor meets beauty and the lights reflect off the salt pond outside the huge windows, or order oysters to go. If you choose the latter, be sure to pick up some chocolate covered-strawberries from Jennifer’s Chocolates and a nice bottle of wine from Wakefield Liquors to hit all of the major aphrodisiacs. We look forward to seeing photos of your baby come November!
The best sign that a date is going well is that hours will pass without either person realizing it. Audrey’s Coffee House & Lounge is perfectly designed for such occasions, where morning coffee turns into cocktails, and – on February 14 – into a specially designed romantic dinner. Owned by Bachelor in Paradise’s success story, Jared Haibon and Ashley Iaconetti, you can be sure that the romantic dinner will involve roses (perhaps the final rose?). There’s also a Galentine’s brunch planned for February 11, with a potential special appearance from a friend of the owners, but truth be told – they had me Chocolate Covered Strawberry Latte.
Groundswell in Tiverton should be synonymous with “a match made in heaven.” The owners, a landscape architect and an interior designer, have perfectly curated a magical aesthetic that feels a bit like Narnia. Inspired by travels to Europe, and influenced by the seasons in Rhode Island, the cafe and bakery’s items will keep you satisfied from morning until afternoon, with locally roasted artisan coffee, delectable pastries, and freshly made salads and sandwiches. In between eating and drinking, you can explore Table + Provisions, a two-story home filled with everything you need (or will want to have) for the perfectly stocked kitchen: berry jams, pour-over tea pots, nautically themed cookware, sipping chocolate, cookbooks, and cocktail shakers. Across the street at the Garden + Home, you’ll find terrariums, planters, and garden decor – inspiration to breathe life into your home. After all of this perusing, you’ll want to enjoy another round of decadent hot chocolate and the monthly croissant, perhaps by an outdoor firepit, where you can sit back and allow yourself to feel enchanted.
One of the best ways to combat Valentine’s Day blues is to do something kind for someone else. This year, Ink Fish Books is partnering with the George Hail Free Library to Give the Gift of Reading, which will run from January 29 through February 14. Books from a wish list (for both adults and children) can be purchased at Ink Fish Books and donations can be made at either location. And while you’re shopping for books for others, pick up a little something for yourself. Owner Lisa Valentino recommends Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love, or the forthcoming book, Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle. While in Warren, hop over to the Winter Market at Hope & Main on February 13 and enjoy some Hawt Chocolate and other treats while exploring more than 20 rockstar foodpreneur booths. Best of all, there’s a Buy One, Give One meal program that began in 2020 and has since provided over 60,000 meals to people in the community facing food insecurity. Order a meal in advance or in person – you can nourish your soul while nourishing others.
While it’s always fun to make a memory that can be hung on a wall, what sets Paint and Vino’s Valentine’s Day paint night apart is that couples must work as a team to create a painting. Each person is responsible for his or her canvas individually, but the final piece of artwork is a bigger picture that fits together side by side. It’s the perfect opportunity to unleash your inner artist, imbibe on a favorite beverage, and create a piece of artwork together. Whether this is a second date or a 20th anniversary, a paint date night can be a new and exciting way to connect with your sweetheart.
Adventures are sexy, and what better culinary adventure is there than a multi-course tasting menu? Having transitioned in 2022 from a beloved pop-up to a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Foglia (pronounced “fo-lee-a,” meaning “leaf” in Italian) offers a completely vegan and nut-free tasting experience. You’ll be astounded by their creativity, and the talented young pastry chef Piper McAloon will be providing desserts. Alternatively, having just celebrated their 25th anniversary, Gracie’s will be offering their classic five- to seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, with optional wine pairings (non-alcoholic pairings also available). You can also add flowers or a cake from Ellie’s when making your reservation.
Courtland Club is the next generation of what once was a gentlemen’s social club in the 1940s (and before that, Crugnale Bakery in the 1920s). Nestled in the heart of a residential neighborhood on the West End of Providence, it bears speakeasy vibes and is no longer just for old men. In February’s past, the ValenTaco and unique ValenDiner booth have been rolled out to accompany their special menu. This year is a surprise, not only in the form of their mystifying cocktails (edible gold stars have been known to garnish their drinks), but also because rising star chef Nikhil Naiker will be debuting his restaurant concept Nimki out of Courtland Club on Valentine’s Day. Be among the first to indulge in this new relationship.
Catherine and Heathcliff. Romeo and Juliet. Gin and Tonic. Some of the greatest pairings of all time, and you can find these while simultaneously flexing your literary knowledge at Riffraff Bookstore + Bar’s Literary Trivia night on February 14. As a bookstore, bar, and cafe all wrapped into one sensational package, Riffraff is the perfect place to enjoy solitude, or join a group of friends, or meet that mysterious man at the bar who’s sipping a martini and reading that book you’ve been curious about. At the very least, it’s a great conversation starter.
A listing of places included in this article, plus a few extras! Plan ahead and make any reservations needed in advance. Check with each location
for hours, availability, and mask / COVID updates.
All South County Luxury Cinemas | South Kingstown
Avon Cinema | Providence
Contemporary Theater Company | Wakefield
Frosty Drew Observatory | Charlestown
Hope & Main | Warren
Imperial Ceramics | Warwick
LineSider Brewing | East Greenwich
Ocean Mist | Matunuck
Paint and Vino | Pawtucket
RISD Museum | Providence
Charter Books | Newport
Ink Fish Books | Warren
Rarities Books & Bindery | Wakefield
Symposium Books | Providence
East Side Cheese & Provisions | Providence
Graze on Main | East Greenwich
Wedge | Warren
Hawt Chocolate | Warren
Jennifer’s Chocolates | Wakefield
Seacoast Sweets | Cranston
Sweenor’s Chocolates | Cranston & Wakefield
Audrey’s Coffee House & Lounge | South Kingstown
Groundswell Cafe + Bakery | Tiverton
MainStreet Coffee | East Greenwich
Rachel’s Cafe | South Kingstown
Rise ‘n Shine Coffee | Providence
The Beach Rose Cafe | Charlestown
Beech | Jamestown
Bites by Bre | Providence
Breachway Grill | Charlestown
Cafe Nuovo | Providence
Camille’s | Providence
Capriccio | Providence
Chapel Grille | Cranston
Chaska | Cranston
The Coast Guard House | Narragansett
Dan’s Carriage Inn | North Kingstown
Foglia | Bristol
Gracie’s | Providence
India | Providence
JB’s on the Water | Jamestown
La Masseria | East Greenwich
Matunuck Oyster Bar | Wakefield
Pasquale’s Pizzeria Napoletana | Wakefield
Twin Oaks Restaurant | Cranston
The Reef | Newport
Wickford On The Water | North Kingstown
Audrey’s Coffee House & Lounge | South Kingstown
Courtland Club | Providence
GPub Restaurants | Providence
The Guild | Pawtucket
Riffraff Bookstore + Bar | Providence
Zoe and Co. | Westerly
Mrs. Robinson’s | Providence
Bodhi Spa | Providence & Newport
SeaMist MedSpa | Wakefield
The Christopher Dodge House | Providence
Grace Note Farm | Pascoag
The Surf Shack | Narragansett
Ceremony | Providence
Chinese Tea House | Newport
Sweet Marie’s Tea Cottage | North Kingstown
Val’s English Tea & Pie Shop | Smithfield
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