Ah, Valentine’s Day: the day of love, sweetness, and chocolate. While not a major holiday, per se, this special day in February can be a little gem of a celebration that brings much happiness … if you treat it as such!
It’s often thought of as a day to be set apart strictly for couple bonding, but kids can celebrate Valentine’s Day, too. I remember being thrilled when my grade-school peers would bring in little valentines, boxes of chocolate or Sweethearts candies! So, send the kids into school on the big day with little goodies for their teachers and classmates (and make sure there is enough for every kid).
You can also have the “sweetest” time at one of these two incredible chocolate stores, notorious for their unique varieties and DeLysscious treats: Jacques Torres Chocolate on Water Street near Dock Street in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood and MarieBelle on Broome Street between West Broadway and Wooster Street in SoHo. Take the kids to help pick out some chocolate for dad, a little something for themselves, and you.
For that classic, romantic V-Day meal with your love, go big and go to Daniel on East 65th Street between Madison and Park avenues in Lenox Hill. It has a quiet, romantic atmosphere that is perfect for the loving couple — and not for the kids. Being one of the only restaurants in Manhattan holding the New York Times’ coveted, four-star rating, Daniel accepts reservations up to a month in advance. So, get dialing, men!
Another beyond-perfect Valentine’s Day restaurant that’s not to be forgotten is Felice, an Italian ristorante with an eco-friendly wine list on First Avenue and East 83rd Street on the Upper East Side. Felice’s featured wineries are all sustainable, organic, and biodynamic. The restaurant’s seating is unique and comfortable and, overall, the ambiance is a perfect mix of upscale and relaxing.
Another Valentine’s Day thrill is a shopping expedition at the famous Agent Provocateur on Madison Avenue between East 62nd and East 61st streets in Lenox Hill; the lingerie collections are absolutely beautiful and a must-have for any woman to feel her sexiest on the most romantic day of the year. Agent Provocateur brings together the finest French laces and silk satins with its signature classic colors: black, cream, and — of course — scarlet and pink, perfect for V-Day!
For those couples who haven’t gotten their portrait taken since their wedding, schedule a romantic photography session. Heidi Green takes absolutely beautiful photos of couples, and her gallery is impressive. She’s also known for her portraits of children, so if you want the kids in on the shoot, that’ll work too!
Manhattan isn’t exactly like living on a beach, but we do have some gorgeous sunsets. Take the time to watch the sun set with your loved one — even if it’s on your terrace or out your window while your kids are eating dinner. It’s sure to evoke some romantic emotions appropriate for Valentine’s Day — and may just lead to a perfect Valentine’s night, even if you’re stuck at home!
If you’re fortunate enough to have the time, take a dance class! In my grandparents’ era, couples could dance fluidly and effortlessly at any occasion. Let’s bring that sweet skill back! Dancing with your husband is a sensual, bonding activity — and, even if you’re both horrible and klutzy, you’ll have fun laughing together. Dance Manhattan Dance Studios on West 19th Street, between Sixth and Fifth avenues, offers some great deals on classes and special events involving couples dance.
But if you’re both in dire need of putting your feet up, schedule a couple’s massage at the Caudalie Spa at the Plaza Hotel on West 58th Street and Fifth Avenue in Midtown. The spa offers phenomenal massages. Remember, you and your spouse deserve to relax and unwind side-by-side after the hard work you put in as parents.
I hope your Valentine’s Day is amazing, and remember ladies: Charles M. Schulz once said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Lyss Stern is the founder of DivaLysscious Moms (www.divamoms.com) and co-author of “If You Give A Mom A Martini … 100 Ways To Find 10 Blissful Minutes For Yourself.”