Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we all know the pressure to plan an evening worthy of The Most Romantic Night of the Year can be daunting. Fortunately there are plenty of shows, concerts and special events happening around the state to set a romantic mood all month long.
Let’s start with the classics …
Visit The Storyteller’s Cottage in Simsbury on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. for a Valentine’s Date Night Chocolate Tasting with chocolatier and author Nikki Woolfolk. If you have children, bring them too: while parents are sampling the chocolates in the Steampunk Library, the tykes can enjoy a Kids’ Ice Cream Social and board games upstairs. (Tickets are $30 for the chocolate tasting and $15 each for the ice cream social.)
Wine lovers won’t want to miss Royal Rosé in the Premier Ballroom at Foxwoods on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m., a celebration of rosé-infused drinks and “delectable food offerings” taking place among a giant pink cake, oversize wine glasses and more Instagram-ready photo spots. VIP tickets get you in an hour early and small plates to whet your appetite. (21 and over; $45 / $60 for VIP tickets)
For a wine adventure to last all month (or longer), the 2019 CT Winter Wine Trail is waiting for you, consisting of 14 wineries open for the winter season. Visitors 21 and over who have their passport stamped at all 14 locations before April 7 can enter a drawing to win a wide range of restaurant and getaway prizes from establishments in and near the state. Hours of operation vary among the wineries; see the website for links to the participating wineries and their hours of operation.
CRAFT YOUR OWN VALENTINE
Historically, the tradition of sending Valentine cards is closely tied to Victorian England, where the custom first flourished. At Loving Litchfield: A Valentine’s Celebration on Feb. 8 from 5-7 p.m., visitors of all ages can create a Valentine by drawing inspiration from the Victorian and early 20th-century examples in the Litchfield Historical Society’s collection. (Enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, too!). Registration is required; the cost is $15 for member families and $20 for non-member families.
The Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich will also offer a chance to make Your Own Victorian Valentine, on Feb. 10 from 1-3 p.m. Guests are encouraged to dress in their Victorian finest; crafting materials — as well as a “sweet treat” — will be provided. Free for members and $5 for non-members; call 860-425-5563 to register.
Kids can create special gifts for parents or someone special during Valentine Crafting day at the Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center on Feb. 10 from 12:30-3:30 p.m., with a variety of age-appropriate crafts, and enjoy Valentine treats. To pre-register, call 860-583-1234 or email email@example.com.
There is no shortage of great restaurants in our state, and many offer special options for the most romantic night of the year. If you’re looking for the the cream of the crop in romance and ambiance, we have several suggestions for you to consider. (Of course, no matter where you decide to go, better to make those reservations sooner than later.)
… AND A SHOW
Several theater companies around the state have productions this month with a suitably romantic theme. (Check with the venues for showtimes, ticket prices and availability.)
Following up their hit 2017 production about the early years of the comedy team of Burns and Allen, Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury continues one of the 20th century’s great love stories with George and Gracie: Part II. (Thu.-Sun. between Jan. 31 and Feb. 24)
Curtain Call in Stamford is presenting the Connecticut premiere of Shakespeare in Love at the Kweskin Theater, based on the Oscar-winning film about the young Bard struggling with writer’s block and the forbidden love that ultimately inspires him to write Romeo and Juliet. (Fri.-Sun. between Feb. 1-23, plus two Thursdays, Feb. 14 and 21)
An elderly widower gets another chance at love in The Last Romance at the Bradley Playhouse in Putnam. (Feb. 22-24 and March 1-3)
If black comedy is more your thing, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder at the Warner Theatre in Torrington follows the distant heir to a royal title whose quest for love — and, not incidentally, the family fortune — is impeded by a long line of inconveniently living relatives. (Feb. 2, 3 and 8-10)
Are your Valentine’s tastes are a bit more … unconventional? Consider the Sherman Playhouse production of Venus in Fur, about a theatrical director who becomes obsessed with his lead actress during production of a play based on the classic story of sadomasochism. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the theater is offering a complimentary cocktail to attendees prior to the show on Feb. 14, 15 and 16. Recommended for mature audiences. (Feb. 14-16 and 22-24, and March 1-3)
LADIES AND LAUGHTER
If you’re making it a girls’ night out, head to the Palace Theater in Waterbury for Legally Blonde: The Musical, the stage play adapted from the classic comedy about a seemingly ditzy law student who proves to herself and the world her true potential. (Feb. 15-17)
Hartford’s Sea Tea Improv will present The Galentine’s Day Show, a celebration of women and comedy featuring a lineup of all-female-identifying improv performers, including the all-girl high school improv team GirlProv. (All genders and relationship statuses are invited to attend.) (Feb. 13)
Members of local bands Wilton Rocks and Acoustic Wilton, and other local musicians will converge on The Wilton Playshop for an evening of Love Acoustic Style on Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. ($35).
See the longest-running R&B band in history at the Kool & the Gang Valentine’s Celebration at Ridgefield Playhouse on Feb. 14. The show starts at 8 p.m. and will be preceded at 6:30 by champagne, chocolates and a prize raffle. ($175)
On Feb. 15, Foxwoods has An Evening of Love featuring a lineup of R&B legends including Keith Sweat, Silk, Lloyd, Bobby Valentino and Mya. ($75-$178)
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra brings a Latin-infused musical show to the Bushnell’s Belding Theater with Latin Lovers, Feb. 15-17. HSO assistant conductor Adam Boyles will lead, with Julien Labro on bandoneón. (Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m. and Sun. 3 p.m.; tickets are $38-$72)
The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra will perform Leonard Bernstein’s and Stephen Sondheim’s Romeo & Juliet-inspired music in West Side Story: Symphonic Version, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. at the New Paradigm Theatre in Stamford ($10-$50).
Broadway vocalists and the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus will join the New Haven Symphony Orchestra at Wicked Divas, performing of showstopping tunes from Broadway favorites like Wicked, Les Miserables and Chicago, at Woolsey Hall in New Haven on Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ($15-$74). (Prior to that will be separate performances at Hamden Middle School Feb. 9 at 2:30 p.m., and Shelton High School Feb. 10 at 3 p.m.)
TALES OF LOVE
The Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford will host Behind the Scenes: Love and Lust on Feb. 9, focusing on objects connected to stories of love — some of which may be a bit racy, so adults only. The hour-long tour takes place at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. ($10 for CHS members / $15 for non-members.)
On Feb. 9 at 8 p.m., award-winning storytellers Eshu and Motoko will present a Valentine’s Day Live Storytelling at The Storyteller’s Cottage in Simsbury. (Ages 16 and over; $20)
In Hartford, Sea Tea Comedy Theater is hosting Tianna Glass-Tripp’s sketch comedy show Worst Date Ever!! for an evening of re-enactments of real dates gone horribly, hilariously wrong, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m. ($15)
Matt and Elysha Dicks of Speak Up Storytelling will share some true tales from the front lines of romance at Infinity Hall in Hartford in Crazy Little Thing Called Love Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. ($19-$44)
The winter landscape is a sight to behold at ski resorts in and around Connecticut, and even if you’re not a skier there’s lots more to do than lounge inside by the fire (not that we’re knocking that). Many resorts have activities like snowboarding and snowshoeing, year-round ziplining, and great food, drink and music that anyone can enjoy this time of year.
EXPAND YOUR MIND
You and your partner may find some insight to deepen your understanding of your relationship at the Odiyana Meditation Center in East Hartford. Through meditation and discussion, the 3-hour program Love, Desire, and Attachment: A Buddhist Perspective on Relationships aims to help participations find “clarity, joy and a relaxed, loving attitude.” (Feb. 9 at 10 a.m.; $30)
You might unlock your unconscious — and break the ice with that new special someone — on Valentine’s Day at Hartford’s Real Art Ways. During A Night of Surrealist Games, participants will play surrealist word and drawing games (no drawing skills required), enjoy cocktails and listen to a “surrealistic soundtrack” chosen by the evening’s master of ceremonies, musician Roger Clark Miller. (Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.; $10 / $5 for members)
‘A DATE NIGHT TO DIE FOR’
And finally: For a variety of reasons, the approach of Valentine’s Day can be just plain terrifying. That’s especially true this year, as Stratford’s horror house Fright Haven opens up for a weekend to subject visitors to a Valentine’s Day Massacre. (Feb. 8-10; tickets start at $25 each)