Valentine’s Day activities for lovers at heart

Happy Valentines wall at Rosemary-Duff Florist, 101 W 2nd Ave., Escondido.

Valentine’s Day is coming. Time to get your sweetheart plans together, all you lovers out there and you know who you are.

Many Escondido restaurants, obviously, are putting together Valentine’s Day experiences. The fun begins from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 as the Escondido Chocolate Festival takes over Grand Avenue, downtown, Enter a world full of chocolate treats and other delectable goodies. Escondido Municipal Gallery also offers a Valentine Card Making Workshop for hands-on types.

Some of the most romantic and top experiences, as rated by Visit Escondido, the city’s official tourism and marketing agency, include the following Grand Avenue restaurants: Bellamy’s, Vinz Wine Bar, Cuscatlan, Intertwined Bistro & Wine Bar and A Delight of France Bakery& Bistro.

The Centre, Escondido and Ventana celebrate Valentine's Day.

The Centre, Escondido and Ventana celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Going beyond downtown, Carin de Riad near Westfield North County, Vintana Wine + Dine at the Escondido Lexus Centre and Canyon Grille Restaurant & Bar at Welk Resort in North Escondido also come highly recommended by local tourism officials.

Another great event is the Valentine’s Special: Wine-pairing dinner and concert at California Center for the Arts, Escondido (CCAE). Costing $65 for CCAE members, $75 for non-members, the fun begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15.

The Center’s very own award-winning kitchen does the culinary honors that are “thoughtfully paired” with wines from some very hot vineyards, Vesper Vineyards and Stehleon Vineyards. Eat, drink and then enjoy the romantic stylings of famed Icelandic cellist Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir. Call (760) 839-4138 for more information.

Oh snap, there’s more than dining going around the Valentine’s Day buzz. Enjoy the “Love Exhibit by PhotoArts Group at the Escondido Municipal Gallery. Actually, the show opens Feb. 7 and runs through March 1. The opening reception is 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8.

Local and regional artists explore the theme of love at the gallery show. This is a “people’s choice exhibition” meaning those who show at the show get to voted on their favorite pieces. Best of all it’s free at 262 E Grand Avenue.

That’s not all. Sikes Adobe Farmstead is open for Valentine’s Sunday Teas from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 9, Feb. 16 and Feb. 23. For $10 per person, Valentinees can bring lovers, family and friends to High Tea at this uniquely historical venue. Reservations required, no walk-ins. Call (800) 988-4553 or email [email protected]

Perhaps some may want to turn the celebration into an overnight affair. The Ranch at Bandy Canyon is the place to spend a romantic overnight experience. Stay on one of the cozy cottages. The Ranch will have chilled champagne in your room paired with special chocolates.

Guests also will enjoy The Ranch Continental breakfast and a red rose for your loved one. Private trail rides for two, a romantic carriage ride and very unique “Chef’ Tasting” dinner at Bellamy’s also can be scheduled. For more information, visit http://bandycanyon.com.

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