Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! And this year with the 14th of February on a Tuesday, it is quickly becoming a week-long celebration—from the weekend prior, to Valentine’s and all the way through to the following weekend!
Opening a beautifully wrapped present is always joyful. And in talking with many locals we found that “spending time together” and “being creative” ranked high on the list of thumbs up for Valentine’s gift-giving. So here we have traversed Newport Beach to find some playful and unique gift ideas for both men and women to share. And for those without a valentine this year, many of these can be morphed into a wonderful adventure with girlfriends.
What’s not to love? Here’s hoping you enjoy a special and romantic celebration, and you are welcome to steal any of these fun ideas and say it was “all your idea”!
How about attending a Painting Party at Timree’s Paint Studio on Old Newport Road? The canvas, paints and instruction are all provided. In February they offer a Mother & Daughter event, or here you can: paint your dog, or an adorable Valentine’s bear, Paris poodles, party dress or glitter floral perfume designs. Bring a bottle of wine, and let the painting begin! One of our favorites is to get our hands into it….and enjoy a participatory Cooking Class at Sur La Table Newport Beach. The recipes are provided and all the ingredients are prepped for a great time (and they clean it all up too). The best part is you can replicate the recipes at home again and again. The February calendar includes a host of classes, for example: Paris or Italian Romance Date Night, The Best of New Orleans, Macarons, Girls Night Out with Wine and Cheese, Spanish Tapas, Perfect Pizza and many more!
Plan a special Bike Ride & Picnic along the Coast. Step one. Arrange an electric bike rental at Pedego Corona del Mar. Step two. Prepare (or pre-order) a portable picnic and place it in an easy to carry back pack. Step three. Pick up your bikes and head south to the Crystal Cove State Park for a lovely ride along the coast. They have a map for you to follow, and there are picnic tables overlooking the cliffs for an impromptu lunch together. Another fun outdoor activity is to take a Guided Kayak Nature Tour on the upper Back Bay. The Newport Bay Conservancy leads these two-hour tours with a naturalist on Saturdays & Sundays. And for those who love to be on the water, how about boating on the Bay? Couples can enjoy a two hour Duffy Electric Boat Rental Romance Package at sunset—- right from the docks of the Back Bay Bistro. With a pre-selected gourmet platter and wines at a great value, guests can plan a perfect excursion on the water. Following this, guests will return to the restaurant for a lovely dinner. It is the perfect gift which couples can purchase and redeem year round, or include friends or family too, as the Duffy boat holds up to 6 people! This offer is on deck Tuesdays through Sundays. To book: call: (949) 729-3800.
Be Romantic & Lovable
Who does not LOVE flowers—for any occasion, or no reason at all? Jane Coombes, owner of Corona del Mar Florist, has created two elegant Italian-inspired bouquets for Valentine’s. Her creations are all just so romantic! The Giovanni and Guido are calling, as well as many others. And best of all, they can be delivered anywhere in Orange County! Another favorite of ours is Roger’s Gardens. The flower and plant baskets are so unique, and they have so many specialty items to adorn a kitchen, vanity or living room.
Candy and wine baskets are always popular and Bristol Farms Newport Beach, offers both, as well as a lovely selection of flowers too. Guests can customize a box of someone’s favorite chocolates, as they carry Asher’s Chocolates from a local Irvine company—offering both a selection of sugar and sugar free goodies. They also carry pre-boxed Godiva Chocolates for a quick “dash and run” gift idea.
Be an Escape Artist
Dining out is so romantic. There are a plethora of restaurants here in Newport Beach to enjoy for a sneak away lunch or dinner. From elegant, waterfront restaurants to casual, toes in the sand dining, it is all here in Newport and Corona del Mar.
There are five Spas in Newport Beach and they are all fantastic. The Spa at Island Hotel has lots of space for both men and women to spend time together during their visit. Their head-to-toe treatment sounds amazing. The Spa at The Resort at Pelican Hill has the opulence of an ancient Roman Villa and has a private Spa Suite for secluded relaxation and even dining can be arranged!
Pure Blu Spa at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa offers co-ed outdoor saltwater lap pool, couples massage rooms and local monthly memberships are also available. Spa Gregorie’s is a wonderful retreat for facials and massages. They often have special events, and suggest we be on the lookout for their “Girl’s Night Out” event in March. At the Fairmont Hotel Newport, TheSpa Sante & Salon offers numerous massages including hot stones, BT Micro Facials, and if the weather is nice, the outdoor pool and cabanas is a “must do” resort-type experience.
For some, it isn’t a special night if you have not really escaped the hum-drum and booked a Staycation. Many of the local hotels have created romance packages for Valentine’s evening, as well as the two weekends that book-end this holiday of romance. Or, has she been to the movies lately? You can pre-purchase tickets or gift cards. Go see her favorite “chick flick” and be a hero! Edwards Big Newport 6, Island Cinema and Lido Theater are all nearby!
Be a Hero
From silky, flowing, bohemian blouses from Johnny Was, to heart adorned sleepwear from Victoria’s Secret, there are just so many beautiful items that are unique. It is always fun to open a special gift box—especially if it is something she might not buy for herself. Just sayin!
Neiman Marcus is featuring a sexy Prada patent leather pump with heart appliqués all over. Darling!
Jewelry is always a hit with the ladies and at the high-end there is certainly Traditional Jewelers with a very elegant and sparkly store in Fashion Island.
Kendra Scott, also at Fashion Island, they encourage customers to build their own jewelry creations with stones and settings they hand-select. Another favorite, is building a customize charm bracelet at Brighton. They have hundreds of charms from which to choose and it is such an endearing, personalized gift.
Deirdre has 30 years of experience in marketing, public relations and writing in the travel, culinary, hospitality and destination bureau industries. She writes for her own web site (www.TastesAndTravel.com), as well as for two destination bureaus (Visit Newport Beach and Visit Huntington Beach), and Newport Beach Lifestyle Magazine. She is an active member of IFWTWA (International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association).