Sweet nothings are best whispered softly in surroundings equal to the occasion. A case in point: on Valentine’s Day, when countless sweet nothings are exchanged, sweethearts should set the stage, like in a theater watching a Shakespeare play, over a bottle of wine from a vineyard whose name means “a place for lovers,” or at a country inn while dining on a gourmet breakfast served atop fine china.
From across the Bluegrass, here are some sweet spots for you and your Valentine:
“Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.” —Shakespeare
Does “a rose by any other name” smell as sweet? The Public Theatre of Kentucky performs Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s homage to love, at Bowling Green’s Phoenix Theatre February 3-6 and February 10-13. Show times: 7 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; www.ptkbg.org; (270) 781-6233.
“Endless Love” is the theme when Orchestra Kentucky, also in Bowling Green, performs great love songs from the 1960s through the 1980s. The Retro Series at 8 p.m. on February 11-12 will be performed in Western Kentucky University’s Van Meter Hall; www.orchestrakentucky.com, (270) 846-2426.
Relive the days of ballroom-dancing lessons when boys learned how to hold girls and, ultimately, to connect with them. Shelby County Community Theatre brings nostalgia to the stage with its production of The Snow Ball on February 11-13 and February 18-20; www.shelbytheatre.org, (502) 633-0222.
“In wine one beholds the heart of another.” —French proverb
If only you could bottle amoré. Lovers Leap Vineyards and Winery did. Its Amoré White—“the romance of French Columbard, Traminette, Niagara, and Cayuga White wed to create the perfect union of sweet fruit flavors”—captures the romance of the “lovers leap” atop a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River and the picturesque rolling hills where the winery sits.
Feed each other chocolates at Red, White and Woo, the Lawrenceburg winery’s signature Chocolate Buffet paired with its wines. Partake of Passion, Bottled, a Valentine’s weekend “steaks and grapes dinner” sweetened with a dessert of double dark chocolate blackberry wine cupcakes infused with chocolate ganache. Local musicians perform at both events; www.loversleapwine.com, (502) 839-1299.
Lady Genevieve is soft. Renaissance is spicy. Duke’s Ridge is somewhere in between. Bravard Vineyards & Winery, 17 miles northeast of downtown Hopkinsville, has likewise succeeded in bottling amoré with labels harkening back to courtly love and chivalry; www.kentuckywine.com, (270) 269-2583.
Heed the call of romance of the open road and take Northern Kentucky’s Back Roads Wine Trail, home to these unique wineries and more than 40 wines: Atwood Hill (www.atwoodhillwinery.com) in Morningview; Seven Wells (www.sevenwellswinery.com) in California; Camp Springs (www.campspringsvineyard.com), famous for its honeysuckle wine; StoneBrook (www.stonebrookwinery.com) also in Camp Springs; and Baker-Bird, (www.bakerbirdwinery.com) in Augusta.
“Journeys end in lovers meeting.”
Share a romantic dinner with a view of the Ohio River illuminated by city lights while floating along on a heated cruise. Later, luxuriate in either the Loretta or Beverly Rose Junior Jacuzzi room at Christopher’s Bed and Breakfast in Bellevue; www.christophersbb.com, (888) 585-7085 or (859) 491-9354.
Escape to First Farm Inn in Petersburg for “Sweets for Your Sweetheart” and share a heart-shaped brownie and box of chocolates in your room. The innkeepers will ice down your favorite champagne and provide glasses to sip it in the hot tub or before the fire with your choice of movie; www.firstfarminn.com, (859) 586-0199.
Eddyville’s Maple Hill Bed and Breakfast on Lake Barkley has a Valentine Spa Weekend that includes massage, dinner at Patti’s 1880s Settlement, flowers, gourmet crystal-and-china breakfast, and chocolate-covered strawberries; www.maplehillbb.com, (270) 388-4963.
The Valentine’s special at The Narrow Way Bed and Breakfast in Lucas includes chocolates or
chocolate strawberries at bedside and a full country breakfast featuring homemade cinnamon rolls; www.thenarrowwaybb.com, (270) 646-2957.
“While there’s moonlight and music and love and romance let’s face the music and dance.”—Irving Berlin
Barren River Lake State Resort Park invites everyone to go to the hop during Honeymooners’ Weekend, February 11-13. Stay for the weekend and return to the 1950s at the Sweetheart Sock Hop on Saturday, with a DJ spinning hits, plus games, couples’ activities, and sweet treats; www.parks.ky.gov/findparks/resortparks/br, (800) 325-0057 or (270) 646-2151.
Stroll by the light of the silvery moon at Bernheim Forest following the annual catered Valentine’s Dinner, from 7-10 p.m., February 11 and 12. Dine and dance in Bernheim’s candlelit Visitor Center—and find a special gift for the ladies. Reservations required by February 4; www.bernheim.org, (502) 955-8512.
“Love is the greatest refreshment in life.”
Sweeten Valentine’s Day weekend with luscious works of art from these candy shops and restaurants:
Gallery Donuts & Bakery in Horse Cave is a small-town shop with big sweet-tooth sensations, like the cheesecake and truffles handmade by local artist/chef Karen McGinn; www.gallerybakery.com, (270) 786-4663.
In Central City, share delectables sliced for two with the Sweet Spot Café’s 10-pound Tower Chocolate Cake surrounded by fresh, chocolate-dipped strawberries; (270) 754-9633.
Pick up some hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries, wrapped in a special take-home box, from The Miller House in Owensboro; www.themillerhouserestaurant.com, (270) 685-5878.
As seen on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Chef Rick Paul’s famous bourbon balls and Kentucky Bourbon Pie are made from scratch at his White Light Diner in Frankfort; www.rickswhitelightdiner.com, (502) 330-4262.
Chef Ouita Michel, owner of Holly Hill Inn in Midway, is serving her annual romantic menu for an extended Valentine’s weekend, Friday, February 11-Monday, February 14 (with extra-special touches on Valentine’s Day). Desserts will include “sensuous chocolate creations that continue to stoke romance”; www.hollyhillinn.com, (859) 846-4732.
Harrodsburg’s Beaumont Inn serves up its Chocolate Trifecta: three decadent miniature chocolate desserts in one. Pair it with a flight of bourbons from Buffalo Trace Distillery and you have the Superfecta; www.beaumontinn.com, (800) 352-3992.
Savor sweets made for two at Difabio’s Casapela Italian Restaurant in Madisonville and Louisville: Samoa cookie cheesecake, Italian cream cake, tiramisu, crème brulée, and caramel pecan cheesecake–all made in-house; www.difabios.com, (270) 825-1900 or (502) 891-0411.
Dine by candlelight on Kentucky favorites and Shaker recipes for Valentine’s Dinner on Monday, February 14, in the Trustees’ Office Dining Room, 5-8:30 p.m., at The Inn at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill; www.shakervillageky.org, (800) 734-5611 ext. 360, (859) 734-5411 ext. 360.
Somerset’s Carnegie Community Arts Center will be stocked with gifts, cards, and sweetheart roses, plus exquisite confections made by Kasandra McNeil, owner of Kasandra’s Cakes & Country Desserts, including candies, cookies, pies, cakes, cheesecakes, special Valentine treats, and oversized muffins and scones; www.carnegiecac.webs.com, (606) 677-0333.