Getting in the spirit for Valentine’s Day

Places to go! – Valentine’s Day options abound in Southwest Riverside

Alex Groves, Staff Writer

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, a number of area businesses and organizations are planning events to satisfy couples looking for the perfect date. Whether those couples are night owls looking for fun and entertainment until the early hours of the morning or daytime people looking for an excursion beneath sunny skies, there is always something to find in Southwest Riverside.

Here is a list of happenings that will be sure to please those looking to make their Valentine’s Day special:

Pechanga Resort and Casino – Take a trip to the newly renovated Pechanga Resort and Casino. The resort’s $20 million upgrade marks yet another era of positive growth and change that is exemplified as soon as visitors step foot inside its grand entryway. The area seems brighter, lighter and more open and the restaurant atmosphere matches this impression excellently.

Restaurants like Paisano’s Italian, Umi Seafood and Sushi and Great Oak Steakhouse provide a variety of dishes to meet anyone’s palate. These restaurants are more than just nice places to go, however. In fact they’re very appropriate for Valentine’s Day, as many of them will be featuring Valentine’s-inspired menu items throughout the course of the evening.

Resort Representative Ciara Green said the restaurant scene has a totally different atmosphere since the renovation and the addition of two new restaurants.

“We were able to add more seating capacity to both Blazing Noodles as well as to Umi,” Green said of the renovation. “Umi has turned into this very wonderful restaurant as well as a bar.” Umi, which was formerly the Seafood Grotto, now specializes in sushi and seafood with a South American twist and strives for what Green calls “fine casual dining.”

Another new addition to the restaurant scene at Pechanga is Blends Coffee & Winery, an upscale fair trade coffee brewery by day and a place for resort guests to grab a glass of their favorite red or white varietals by night.

But what’s dinner without a show? British singer Engelbert Humperdinck will be taking the Pechanga Stage at 8 p.m. on February 14 and 15.

Magical Adventure Balloon Rides – What’s more romantic than an aerial view of Temecula’s landscape? Those looking for a unique way to spoil their cherished ones can take a trip to the skies with a discounted ride aboard Magical Adventure Balloon Rides’ hot air balloon for some unique sites.

But the trip aboard the hot air balloon is anything but just a trip up to the air. Customers get the full Temecula experience with champagne or juice toast, digital souvenir pictures and two-for-one wine tasting at one of four different Southern California wineries. All sunset flights include a light appetizer. Packages start at $125 per person.

Old Town Temecula – Plan a day in the cozy atmosphere of Old Town Temecula, with its many small businesses and restaurants. It may seem busy with all its hustle and bustle, but shopping and dining in this area is a great way to spend an afternoon. Visitors will likely find something interesting here. Check out Old Town Temecula Olive Oil Company for a taste of regionally grown olive oil and unique artisan items or hit up the record shop for a trip down memory lane. Whatever your significant other’s interests are, you will likely find something that tickles their fancy in this downtown


South Coast Winery Resort and Spa – Deep in the heart of the Temecula Wine Country lies an award-winning vineyard and resort where stars from L.A. have occasionally been known to mingle. That vineyard is South Coast Winery and Spa and it’s a great location for the wine enthusiast.

The winery will be serving up heart-shaped bananas foster pancakes every day during their “Month of Romance”, which will culminate in a special Valentine’s dinner at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant which will be paired with a bottle of their award winning wine. Crystal Magnon, director of sales and marketing for South Coast, said the resort is constantly changing and incorporating new things regularly.

“It’s always new and the menu for Vineyard Rose Restaurant is different and the entertainment is different,” Magnon said. “As far as the accommodations, our hotel tower just opened in March of last year.”

Magnon said things are constantly changing at the resort right down to the varietals that are offered, as the resort runs out of previous years’ vintages due to high demand.

Looking for more of an extended get away? The resort will be offering a “Wine Lover’s Packgage.” Visitors can take a one night stay in a hotel tower or villa with a bottle of pre-selected wine and other items like chocolate covered strawberries. Guests can start the following morning off right with a winemaker’s breakfast for two. Packages start at $369.

The Santa Rosa Plateau – Nature lovers looking for a fun adventure under the sun that won’t break the bank may want to consider a trip to the Santa Rosa Plateau, a nature reserve located off Clinton Keith Road between Murrieta and Wildomar. The resort is a fantastic way to escape the hustle and bustle of nearby Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore and will make visitors feel like they are stepping back in time with its rocky landscape and ancient oak trees. On the park grounds visitors can find a scattering of picnic tables that are perfect for a mid-afternoon picnic. What’s better than enjoying great food when there’s an equally great view and an opportunity to see a sunset descending upon a vast and wild landscape?

Things to do! – Valentine’s Day date ideas to share with your special someone

Stephanie C. Ocano, Editor

Roses, chocolates, teddy bears; it can only mean one thing: Valentine’s Day. The fourteenth day of February has arrived and you are deemed to spend it with the one you love to express your care and compassion. While the air is filled with romance and love ballads overtake the radio, there are also long lines at movie theaters, crowded restaurants, and couples filling the aisles at shopping centers. This year, step outside the lines of comfort and do something unique with one another that will not only avoid the exhausted and overused dinner and a movie date but will make the day one to remember.

While every day should be a testament to the love you share for one another, Valentine’s Day can be taken as a test to show how well you truly know each other. If there is something in specific your significant other has been dreaming of doing, why not take the day and fruition those dreams into reality? It may be from participating in a local marathon to tanning on the seaside at a nearby beach. Whatever you choose to do, find joy in each other’s company and remind one another how blessed your lives are with him/her in it.

Write a special letter.

While cards are quick and easy to purchase, they don’t hold the significant value that a personalized letter does. Take the time to write out your feelings. Retell the story of how you first met and what was going through your mind when you first laid eyes on him/her. Describe the emotions you felt during your first date or how you decided on the perfect way to propose. List all the reasons why you love him/her or the little things he/she does every day that make you smile.

The possibilities are endless; no matter what you choose to write about, just let them know how much they mean to you. Share these letters with one another over breakfast in bed or at the end of the day.

Hint: Handwritten letters are much more romantic than typed or printed letters.

Take a day trip.

Visit a new city. Travel out of your town’s limits and see some new sights and lights. Whether it be 10 or 100 miles away, getting away from the norm will allow you to connect with your significant other as you become the only people you know in a strange and new place. Take a stroll through the city’s main streets and see what cultural differences exist outside of your everyday realm.

Book a couple’s massage.

Why not both enjoy the special treat of a Swedish massage while in the company of one another? You will both feel relaxed and rejuvenated and will cherish it all while at each other’s side. Any form of a spa retreat is perfect for Valentine’s Day and lit candles and mellow music set the perfect romantic ambiance.

Attend an ice-skating session.

While the weather is still cool, take advantage of local rinks that host public ice-skating sessions. Take the trust you hold for one another to a new level as you put faith in each other to have him/her catch you if you lose your balance or just fall down entirely with you. The smooth and slippery surface may bring some bruises, but more importantly, it will bring endless laughter and smiles throughout the day, for as you fall to the ground, you will also be falling deeper in love.

Share an indoor picnic.

Plan to stay indoors this holiday rather than going out into the crowds. Being alone will allow you to focus on one another and connect. This doesn’t mean you can’t dress up, though. Instead, wear your fanciest outfits and cook a decadent meal together. Light some candles or sit by a roaring fireplace and talk about the past, present, and future. End the meal with a glass of wine and your laughter filling the room.

Reenact your first date.

Nothing invokes romance faster than nostalgia. But instead of going through past photos of some of your favorite memories, recreate them instead. From the first restaurant you shared dinner at to the park you took your first walk at, whichever it may be, ignite the sparks that you felt on that first date, after all, they have led you to share this special day with one another.

Make pottery together.

Create something together to remember this day. Visit a local pottery shop and build a mug or a vase from clay. If you prefer painting, pottery shops sell a variety of handmade, original pieces: from plates to tea cups. Choose your favorite and sit down and spend some time painting it. This is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon and being creative will bring out your romantic side, as well. Who knows, you might end up painting multiple hearts all over a petite tea cup. Once you’re done, you can turn in your pieces to have them glazed and fired to keep as memories of the occasion.

Plan an escape.

If your work and budget allows it, plan a retreat for the two of you and get away for a few days. Board a train, book a flight, or just jump in the car. Get out of town, the state, or the country. Leave all your worries, responsibilities, and deadlines behind and travel to a new destination and create new memories with the one person you love the most.

You don’t have to be a hopeless romantic to express your love. The truth of the matter is the romance will come from knowing your significant other and listening and responding to their needs. Hold them close, kiss them spontaneously, and make them laugh. It’s just another day allowing you to tell them, “I love you.”

One Response to "Getting in the spirit for Valentine’s Day"

  1. Deanna   February 8, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Nice ideas and inspiration!


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