Illustration by Liluya Kulianionak/Shutterstock
Valentine’s Day: the dreaded February holiday that — depending on how you choose to celebrate it — can make you the apple of your mate’s eye, or land you in the doghouse until Memorial Day. Not interested in snoozing with Fido for the rest of the winter? Check out these unique, Valley-centric ways to spend the holiday with that special someone.
While you and your honey may never appear as graceful as Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, ice-skating together in the great outdoors remains a one-of-a-kind way to celebrate your love. Something about stumbling along together on the ice, hand in hand, can bond the two of you like nothing else. Luckily, two picturesque outdoor rinks in our region allow you to giddily glide to your heart’s delight while taking in the spectacular scenery. The Rink at Bear Mountain in Rockland County offers approximtely 17,000 square feet of ice to get your groove on. One-and-a-half hour sessions all weekend long start at 10 a.m. and cost $4 for adults ($5 after 6 p.m.); skate rentals are available for $4 per pair.
At the world famous Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, you can skate à deux at the stunning 18,000-square-foot open-air pavilion, which overlooks Mohonk Lake. Don’t forget to stop for a hot chocolate or to warm up at the 39-foot high stone fireplace. Day visitors can ice-skate midweek for a fee of $25 per session. Please call 845-256-2775 to check on weekend access to the ice. And if you’re able to celebrate the big day a few days early, take advantage of Mohonk’s overnight Valentine’s Special on February 11th (that’s a Thursday). For $164 per person you can stay in the sprawling 265-room Victorian castle and enjoy a four-course candlelit dinner, a breakfast buffet, and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival. Besides ice-skating, overnight guests can also get a burst of fresh air by snow-tubing or snowshoeing.
Skating away: Treat your beloved to an ice-skating session at the picturesque open-air rink at the Mohonk Mountain House in
Photograph courtesy of Dove Photography
The Hudson Valley is rife with a wide variety of hiking trails and a winter walk can be the ideal way to get closer to that special someone. Scenic Hudson is offering a special twist on the romantic stroll by leading a two-hour walk in Beacon’s Madame Brett Park which will teach you fascinating facts about animals and their mating habits. Find out what gets hawks, eagles, muskrats and other creatures “in the mood” and learn all about their strange courtship rituals. Who knows, you might pick up some dating tips. Contact Anthony Coneski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-473-4440, ext. 273 for more information.
Poets Walk Romantic Landscape Park (manned by Scenic Hudson) in Red Hook offers another ideal winter escape for lovers. Benches perfect for cuddling dot the two miles of trails which provide stunning views of the Hudson River. It is believed that Washington Irving strolled for inspiration among the woods and open fields of this 120-acre park before writing “Rip Van Winkle.” What a spot to write a love poem of your own.
If you really want to command your honey’s heart, head to the historic Thayer Hotel at the United States Military Academy at West Point for an overnight stay. On Saturday, February 13, $329 per couple will snag you a luxury room at this 1926 hostelry (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) as well as a show-stopping four-course dinner, a bottle of wine, and dancing with live music. For another $40, throw in the Thayer’s award-winning buffet brunch the next morning. Year after year, our readers vote it the best brunch in the Valley.