For God’s sake, forget the Valentine’s chocolates and roses; try something new
Love. As I mature, it becomes increasingly clear that this single word – you know, the stuff that makes the world go ‘round – means something different to each of us. There’s no single formula for the perfect relationship or the perfect love. If there were, we’d all be monkey wrenches in the machinery.
I guess this is where I’m supposed to segue into the idea that there’s no single, perfect Valentine’s Day outing either, then trot out lots of ideas anyway. Instead, I’m going to tell you that the idea of celebrating love on just one day out of the year is total bunk. What were you planning to do on the other 364 days – take it for granted?
So yes, I’ve got some great Valentine’s Day ideas for you – but I’m hoping you’ll use these all year (or at least all season) long, not just in February. Do we have a deal? Great.
Try Something New
Love’s an adventure, right? That makes the day-o-love a perfect opportunity to try some outdoor activity you’ve never done before. Hire an ice-climbing guide (check out Ascending Path at ascendingpath.com), and don’t forget to have them take a photo of you and your sweetie smooching at the top of the climb. Not ready to pony up the cash for a guided outing? Rent snowshoes, skis or ice skates from UAA or APU and give them a whirl. (You can also rent snowshoes from AMH and REI.)
For the indoor-oriented, you can always get your jig on at The Irish Club of Alaska’s Valentine’s Day ceili. Translation: A big party with lots of live Irish music and Irish folk dancing, and an instructor on-hand to guide you through the moves. You might even see a few steps from Riverdance if you’re lucky. The party’s at McGinley’s Pub on Sunday, Feb. 17; get the details on the “Irishclub Alaska” Facebook page. (Full disclosure: I’m on the Irish Club board.)
Not spicy enough for you? Platinum Jaxx hosts salsa and other Latin dances – mostly bachata and merengue – every Sunday from 9 to close. There’s no cover, but for just $5 you can catch a lesson and meet other dancers from 8 to 9. Because Valentine’s Day falls smack in the middle of the week, that gives you two Sundays of dancing to bookend the holiday.
Get Up Close and Personal
Look for couples yoga from All Life is Yoga in Eagle River on Feb. 9 (alllifeisyoga.org) or treat yourself with a weekend yoga retreat at the The Hotel Alyeska from Feb. 15-17, led by Svia Rothstein of Laughing Lotus Yoga. If you’re not up to a full-on retreat, you can just drop in for the classes – including (you guessed it!) couples yoga on Saturday, Feb. 16. Get more information at laughinglotusanchorage.com.
Stay Family Friendly
Unfortunately Anchorage Parks & Recreation won’t be doing its usual Sweetheart Ski event this year, but they’re going to have a Sweetheart Skate instead. It’ll be held in conjunction with the usual Family Skate at Westchester Lagoon, so bring the whole family out to enjoy hot cocoa, warming barrels, and the works 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9.
Into the Woods
If your sweetie isn’t the outdoorsy type, Valentine’s Day might be a good opportunity to change that. It’s all about the soft pitch: Let’s say you’re attending the Valentine’s night talk about celestial navigation at the Campbell Creek Science Center (It starts at 7p.m.).
Once class lets out, you have the perfect opportunity for a romantic walk in the (hopefully, snowy) woods. The trails around Campbell Creek Science Center are adequately signed, so as long as you have a good light source it’s hard to get lost – but there are enough of them that you won’t have to worry about dodging crowds.
You don’t have to be an intrepid winter wanderer to reach some halfway decent sky-gazing spots. Your odds are good almost anywhere between Anchorage and the Valley, or head south and take advantage of the overlooks on the Turnagain Arm Trail between Potter and McHugh. (If you start from Potter, look out for side trails that head up toward the lookouts on the bluffs – and watch your step.) Dress in layers and bring something to sit or lie on; having an extra blanket along wouldn’t hurt.
If You Like to Move Fast
For the adrenaline junkies among you, Alyeska will be open for skiing from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day – why not make a day of it with a romantic drive along Turnagain Arm, a day of fun in the snow, then top it all off with dinner at the hotel or in Girdwood? If you’re not the downhill type, there’s plenty of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to be had in the flats just outside Girdwood.