By Liz Johnson
COVID continues to impact holiday get-togethers which means Valentine’s Day will be celebrated a little differently this year. Many restaurants are still open, but operating in a limited capacity to comply with state rules, so reservations are a must. That doesn’t mean romance is off the table this year. With a little ingenuity, there are still plenty of ways to declare your love for your partner, kids or your furry friend. Here are a few options in in Hunterdon County:
(Hint: Each of these restaurants is a past Happening List Winner, so you KNOW they’re favorites in the community. To vote for your favorites in the 2021 Happening List, click here.)
Dine in a Romantic setting
11 Bridge Street, Lambertville
Housed in a former train station, this Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Most Romantic Setting several years running is located alongside the Delaware River at the foot of the Lambertville-New Hope bridge. Reservations will definitely be required this year, so call ahead.
In honor of the holiday, they’re even offering special seating in the Riverside Ballroom and a Valentine’s Day menu Friday through Sunday.
The Milford House
92 Water Street, Milford
American comfort food with an international flair, this creekside restaurant is a 2020 Most Romantic Hunterdon Happening List Finalist.
601 Rosemont Ringoes Road, Sergeantsville
A historic stone inn with cozy fireplaces and a charming bar, this restaurant is a 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Romantic Place Finalist. It offers an interesting menu that includes buffalo, pheasant spring rolls and venison London broil.
The National Hotel
31 Race Street, Frenchtown
Latin America and Indian-influenced menu with hand-crafted drinks, including warm martinis, located in an historic hotel, a 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Best Kept Secret Winner. The restaurant is hosting a romantic evening contest. Check out the Web site for details.
The Clinton House
2 West Main Street, Clinton
Built in the 1820s as a tavern and hotel, the landmark Clinton House serves up European favorites. It’s also a Best Place for Steak Hunterdon Happening List Winner 2020.
Create an At-Home Date Night
If you’re not comfortable going out for the holiday, make it a special evening at home! Order takeout from a favorite spot (and/or one of the restaurants listed above), or try a new recipe together!
Take a look at THIS article featuring Arden Hawes from The Ardent Cook, where she shared ideas to make at at-home date feel special as well as a recipe for “Takeout” Chinese Beef and Mushroom Noodles.
Book a Night Away
For many people, the only time you spend a night away from home is when you’re traveling or going to an event like a wedding. But there’s really something special about getting away from the daily routines of home life, even if you’re staying somewhere nearby. (Especially after the year we’ve just had!) Treat yourself and your loved one to a night at a local hotel or bed and breakfast so you can really relax and enjoy each other’s company.
As a 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Date Night and Most Romantic as well as Finalist for Best Hotel, The Lambertville Station Inn is bound to be a wonderful choice for a romantic escape. Be sure to check their Facebook page for Valentine’s Day specials as they’re posted.
Take in a Show
Music Mountain Theater will kick-off its winter 2021 season with the 1950s music revival Strollin’ Down Broadway on Feb. 19. Voted 2020 Hunterdon Happening Best Theater, the venue has imposed several measures for keeping patrons COVID safe. Check out the website for details.
Dinner and a movie is taking on a new look during COVID with theaters such as Hunterdon Happenings 2020 List Winner ACME Screening Room in Lambertville offering virtual screenings. Check out its website for listings and details.
Try a couples massage at Zanya Spa Salon in Lambertville, While a 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Eyelash Extensions, the spa offers a wide variety of treatments and services to relax and recharge with your special someone. Whether it be a therapeutic massage, a session in the warmth of the infrared sauna (designed for two), or a rejuvenating facial treatment, Zanya Spa Salon will revitalize you both inside and out.
People aren’t the only ones who need pampering. Consider spending an invigorating day with your pet with a walk at a dog park or along the tow path, then follow it up with a grooming. Try 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Winner Hill Crest Park for Best Dog Park and Confident Canine in Flemington, 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Winner for Best Grooming. If you decide to hit the tow path, stop in afterwards at the Frenchtown Dog Wash, a 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Finalist.
Sip Wine in a Romantic Setting
Hunterdon County is home to four wineries and several neighboring ones, including 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Finalist for Best Vineyard Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, which hosts music on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons in a tropical oasis.
Love is a Box of Chocolate
A little bit of sweetness can drown out a whole lot of bitterness, which might be how giving a box of chocolates to your true love came into vogue. Try 2020 Hunterdon Happening List Winner Chocolatier Sciascia Confections in Stockton and New Hope for a treat that’s sure to melt your lover’s heart.
Get Cozy with Cooking
Learn your way around both the kitchen and your paramour by taking a cooking class. The Farm Cooking School in Titusville offers a wide variety, including ones geared for couples and a Valentine’s Day brunch.
Tangle in Tango
There’s something inexplicable that happens while waltzing around a dance floor. If you swear you only have two left feet, then try a class at the Hunterdon Dance Studio in Whitehouse Station which specializes in all forms of ballroom and social dancing and hosts dance socials throughout the week.
Get Your Game On
Flemington Pickleball Court is a brand new pickleball-only facility that opened during the pandemic. The club features 5 indoor, climate-controlled courts and a spacious member lounge. They host tournaments, private events, open play, lessons and more. Consider it a COVID-friendly way to get to show your loved one you’ve got game.