We all know February 14 is Valentine’s Day, but in this year of Covid and isolation, many of us often find ourselves not sure of the day or even the month. Let this be your reminder that Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, and if ever we needed to show our love, this is the year. Here is a collection of last minute gift ideas that prove that you don’t need some far-flung romantic gift.
No long distance love this year – we’re keeping it local and showing the love to some unique local businesses that have gift ideas we recommend for Galentines and Valentines alike.
Escape the confines of your house and take a romantic drive through the snow-covered landscape to Glendale Ridge Vineyard at 155 Glendale Rd., in Southampton to pick up some wine with your valentine. Owners Ed and Mary Hamel are offering curated Valentine’s Day boxes, that include wines, chocolate and glasses, available for pick up or delivery. Or choose a couple of individual bottles of red, white, rose, or sparkling Petillant. Sales are by appointment only at glendaleridgevineyard.com
A subscription to Al’s Cocktail Club is the perfect gift for couples who like their drinks shaken and stirred. Honing home bartending skills during the pandemic is a creative way to shake off feelings of social isolation, especially when you host Zoom cocktail parties featuring Al’s weekly cocktail recipes. I received a month’s subscription as a Christmas gift from my sister and brother-in-law. Every week in January, we made Al’s cocktail of the week and then gathered on Zoom for conversation and sipping notes. We enjoyed it so much, we’ve renewed our subscription.
Al is Al Culliton, a writer, bartender and historian who, in 2019, moved from New York to Western Massachusetts. Al combines her writing and bartending skills in each week’s email, which includes not only the recipe for a cocktail, often a riff on a classic, but also a bit of history about an ingredient in the cocktail, the origins of the cocktail and where it was invented. Each month, Al introduces a new theme centered on a time period, place, or style. Past themes have included Autumn in New York and 1860s New English Cocktails. Visit alculliton.com for more information.
A heart is the symbol of Valentine’s Day, and this gorgeous, one-of-a-kind mother of pearl heart necklace with a subtle color sheen, vintage Swarovski matted crystals, and crystal highlights for a bit of sparkle, would make me fall in love with my valentine all over again.
The necklace is by Dawn Rizzo of DRE Designs. Dawn, who is based on Boston’s South Shore, creates custom crystal jewelry designs for any and all occasions. She incorporates rare vintage, custom color and select contemporary Swarovski crystals and other elements, including shells and Mother of Pearl. DRE Designs began when Dawn started making necklaces to hide a surgical scar on her neck. She never imagined that eventually designing handmade jewelry would be her full time career. For more information, visit DRE’s FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1544528515845035/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If coffee is the way to your Valentine’s heart, I have a few favorite places in Western Massachusetts where you can show your love with a latte – and if you ask, maybe your barista can create a heart on top. Goodworks Coffee House at 46 Center Street in Chicopee is right off I-91 and 1-391 and there is always parking on the street or in the parking lot across the street. Owned by Katie and Victor Narvaez, Goodworks offers a selection of creative latte flavors and combinations. They collaborate with other local businesses – Monsoon Roastery for the coffee they serve; Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen, for muffins, cupcakes, and other gluten-free treats; and Hot Oven Cookies for the some of the best cookies around. If sweets make your valentine light up, order one of Auntie Cathie’s oversized cupcake creations. Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen can be found at Cooper’s Commons, 159 Main Street in Agawam.
Monsoon Roastery and Espresso Bar is a funky spot at Albany Avenue’s Gasoline Alley in Springfield, where fun and creativity, and really good coffee are key. Their recently redesigned coffee packaging – colorfully designed cans, evocative of the 60s artist Peter Max, will put a smile on any coffee lovers face. No gift wrapping needed. Holyoke’s Dam Café is the place to go for good coffee, lattes, breakfast, lunch, and sweets in the Paper City. Owner Celeste McMahon has created a welcoming spot that has become one of the city’s favorite gathering places and where to grab a latte or coffee to go first thing in the morning.Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers – it’s for all of us to show those we love that we care, so why not start someone’s day with a coffee, tea, or latte on you.
Need some words of inspiration? Browse the shelves at The Odyssey Book Shop at 9 College Street in South Hadley for volumes of love poems or books about love. Owner Joan Grenier and her staff can point you in the right direction and make recommendations.
Is your valentine in the mood for a little pampering or rejuvenation? A gift card for a treatment at The Shot Shop, a medical rejuvenation spa in Enfield, CT will leave him or her glowing. Owner Leah Kenney, PA-C, has created a sanctuary that is welcoming and relaxing. Who couldn’t use a bit of rejuvenation these days?
Getting rid of wrinkles and frown lines for all of those Zoom calls, and for when we once again show our unmasked faces to the world is an act of self-love. The Shot Shop also carries Nest candles in their retail area – the scents are some of my favorites and what better way to set the mood that to light a beautifully scented candle?
If massage, a pedicure, facial, body treatment or new hairstyle would make your valentine feel loved, SkinCatering in Springfield’s Tower Square has a menu of relaxing and pampering choices. Owners Leanne Sedlak and Kim Brunton recently moved the spa to a new, expanded location on the first floor of Tower Square. SkinCatering also features its own line of skin care products. My favorite is the luxurious Body Butter – slather it all over your body daily and you will never have dry or itchy skin again.
A dozen roses may say I love you, but so does an arrangement of mixed flowers. Some of my favorite places to buy blooms for any reason are Durocher Florist, 184 Union Street in West Springfield, Many Graces Flower Farm in Hadley, and Rooted Flowers in Feeding Hills.
Many Graces and Rooted Flowers offer flower subscriptions – I know I would be thrilled with getting fresh seasonal flowers delivered to me every week.
Have I mentioned chocolate? Hot Chocolate Bombs are all the rage this winter. You can find them at one of my favorite chocolate shops – Pop’s Biscotti and Chocolate at 2341 Boston Road in Wilbraham.
While Tangle does not have a storefront location, you can order online from their tantalizing website, which features a variety of beautifully packaged chocolate gifts. All Tangle chocolate products are made from ethically-sourced cacao from the Cahabón region of Guatemala. Shipping and pick up are available.So, this Valentine’s Day, show your love to the people closest to you, to local businesses – and make sure to take care of yourself, too. As the song goes, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”
And don’t forget to order dinner from your favorite local restaurant.
Happy Valentine’s Day.