Valentine’s Day 2011

Valentine’s Day is another one of those holidays that began so long ago there are quite a few legends and myths surrounding its origins.

One such tale dates back to ancient Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided that young men would make better soldiers if they weren’t encumbered by wives and children. He outlawed marriage for young men. A priest named Valentine recognized the preposterous injustice of this action and continued to conduct marriage ceremonies in secret.

Does this mean that “make love, not war” dates back to Roman times? Who knows! Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to lavish the person you love with romance.

Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, and many people have to work during the week, I’ve included suggestions for Friday, Saturday and Sunday prior to Valentine’s Day on Monday Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day is so popular for dining and weekend getaways, make plans now and call ahead soon for reservations!

Cripple Creek

Cherub House Bed & Breakfast – The guest rooms in this historic 1896 home boast all the modern amenities, including new beds and bedding, private baths, and cable TV with HBO and Cinemax. Guests may reserve the secluded outdoor hot tub on an individual basis. The Cherub House is within walking distance of the casino district, with on-site parking, and shuttle service is available. 719-689-0526 or www.cherubhouse.com

Hotel St. Nicholas – Housed in what was once Cripple Creek’s 1890’s hospital, the hotel overlooks the town and surrounding mountains. The hotel is just a short walk from the casino district, and shuttle service is available. The Hotel St. Nicholas boasts a roof top Jacuzzi and a dry sauna. 719-689-0856, 888-786-4257 or www.stnicholas.com

Carr Manor – A Bed & Breakfast Hotel, Carr Manor offers three spa suites and 11 quaint yet elegant hotel rooms. The fully restored brick building features the original high ceilings, antique stained glass and antique furnishings. 719-689-3709 or www.carrmanor.com

Cripple Creek Ice Festival – This annual event is scheduled for the weekends of Feb. 12-13 and Feb. 19-21. The theme this year is “Story Time.” The ice carving artists will incorporate their interpretations of various works of classic literature into their sculptures. In previous years, the sculptures have been illuminated at night, making for a truly magical scene.

The Butte Theater – A Celebration of Love through Story, Song and Dance will be presented on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10.00 at the door or $17.00 per couple. 719-748-1141.

Cripple Creek’s casinos are serious about your fun! You’ll meet dealers who act like real people, cocktail waitresses who show up with a drink and a smile before you knew you were dry, and casino hosts who just might offer you a comp before you even have to ask for it. Everybody’s just a little bit nicer, and luck seems to shine just a little brighter. And all in casinos big enough to be exciting, but not so big you get lost. And the casinos all have lodging and dining options as well.

Some notable restaurants to consider for a Valentine’s Day weekend in Cripple Creek are Ruby Tuesday in the Wildwood, Bronco Billy’s Steakhouse, the Down Under Steakhouse at the Midnight Rose and Maggie’s at the Colorado Grande. And the little town of Cripple Creek boasts over 20 places to dine, so you’re sure to find something to please your palate no matter what time of day or night those hunger pangs strike!

Victor

A mere six miles up the road from Cripple Creek, past the fully operational Cripple Creek and Victor Mine and some spectacular scenery, lies the small town of Victor. Take a step back in time to the days of yesteryear when times were simpler. People you’ve never even met will bid you “Good Morning” when you pass them on the sidewalk.

Victor Hotel – Experience romantic Victorian charm and breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range at this fully restored hotel. 1-800-713-4595 www.victorhotelcolorado.com

Gold Camp Bakery – This is a European style bakery. Here you’ll find freshly baked treats to tempt your Valentine.

Kathy’s Fortune Club – Kathy bakes homemade pies and cakes. And the Fortune Club offers home-style cooking in a setting reminiscent of days gone by.

There are several shops not far from the Victor Hotel. These include Splendid Treasures, Gallery 80860, and the Victor Trading Company.

And the town of Victor boasts an excellent website: www.victorcolorado.com

Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs

The Loop – This popular Manitou Springs Mexican eatery boasts an extensive menu. One of my favorites is the Tequila Lime Chicken. They’ve recently expanded their dining area so they can accommodate even more hungry diners. If you’re lucky, you might get a table by the fire place. 719-685-9344

Giuseppe’s Old Depot Restaurant – This popular Italian restaurant has served downtown diners for over 51 years. Here you’ll find casual dining in the elegant atmosphere of the restored Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Station. 719-635-3111.

Stargazers Theater & Event Center – On Saturday evening, Feb. 12, listen to some smooth jazz by Dotsero. And this Valentine event will feature a Chocolate Fountain complete with fresh fruit for dipping, all in a romantic candlelit setting. Care for a funny Valentine? Kevin Nealon, of Saturday Night Live fame, will be appearing on Valentine’s Eve, Sunday Feb 13 at 7:30. 719-476-2200

Green Mountain Falls

Mucky Duck Restaurant – For a most extensive array of menu options, consider a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner in the casual elegance of the Mucky Duck Restaurant in Green Mountain Falls. This year’s entrée selections include Smoked Prime Rib with Aus Jus, Shrimp and Scallop Scampi and Red Meat Trout, just to name a few. The Mucky Duck is legendary, so book your reservations soon. 719-684-2008.

Cascade

Wines of Colorado – This quaint and popular restaurant features a wine tasting bar, so you can try a sample before you make a selection to accompany your meal. The restaurant will be open all weekend. A special Valentine’s Day dinner on Monday, Feb. 14 is RSVP only. 719- 684-0900

Woodland Park

Chimayo Turquoise – For an amazing selection of Native American jewelry, visit this Woodland Park landmark store for a last minute shopping spree. The store is open until about 5:00 p. m. every day except Sunday. 719-687-1424

Aspen Grove Jewelers – Still located in Gold Hill Square, near City Market, if you’re lucky enough to be able to splurge on some very nice jewelry, Aspen Grove Jewelers just might have what you’re looking for. 719-687-3000.

Danny’s Corner Bistro – Located near the movie theater, Danny’s provides an elegant, romantic atmosphere complete with music appropriate for an intimate dinner for two. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Feb. 11-14, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, Danny’s is offering several three course dinner options including a Surf & Turf of Colorado Grass Fed N. Y. Strip Steak and Lobster Tail. Reservations are advised. 719-687-2233 or www.dannyscornerbistro.com

Historic Ute Inn -719-687-1465

Divide

Located at the intersection of Hwy 24 and Hwy 67, the town of Divide is just minutes west of Woodland Park. It’s a great place to stop on your way to or from Cripple Creek, or if you are traveling on Hwy 24.

Ancestral Arts – This small store, located just to the left of Venture Foods, is filled with jewelry and other Native American inspired gifts; most are handmade on the premises. Open daily until 5:00 p. m., the store is closed on Sundays. 719- 687-2278

Divide Mercantile – Just to the left of Venture Foods is a shop filled with an unbelievable array of gently used knick knacks, vases, end tables, artwork…the list goes on…you never know what treasures you might find! 719-687-6654 or online here dividemercantile.wordpress.com/about/

McGinty’s Wood Oven Pub – This newly opened restaurant is enormously popular among the locals. The parking lot is packed at dinner time! They are open all day, so consider McGinty’s for brunch or lunch as well. 719-686-7703 or see online at www.mcgintyswoodovenpub.com

Florissant

Hwy 24 winds its way west from Divide through ranch country and a beautiful canyon. The old railroad bed from the mining days is still visible here and there. After about eight miles, don’t blink, or you’ll miss Florissant! Turn left at the Thunderbird Inn, and take the scenic route up to Cripple Creek, or continue west on Hwy 24 to explore Park County.

Costello Street Coffee House – Friday evenings this elegant little Victorian restaurant offers a dinner special from 5:00p.m. until 7:00 p.m. And the Costello Street Coffee House is open Saturday and Sunday as well. The restaurant features a Sunday Breakfast Buffet from 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and there may be a Valentine’s Day special on Monday Feb. 14 as well. Please call for more information. 719-748-3567

Lake George

As you head west on Hwy 24, only four miles from Florissant, you’ll find a rustic little restaurant. Just look for the large hand painted sign on the right, at the western edge of town. You’ve found Lake George Pizza! Stop by over Valentine’s Day weekend, before or after you take in some scenery, and enjoy some of the best pizza for a casual lunch.

Lake George Pizza – On Monday Feb.14 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. enjoy a candlelit Valentine’s Day dinner. Pre-dinner entertainment will include humor and songs. The Valentine Menu Special will be Chicken Cordon Bleu, rice, broccoli and Tiramisu. Please RSVP by 7:00 p. m. on Saturday Feb. 12. 719-748-0168

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about a sweetheart. To me, Valentine’s Day is all about love.  And love takes many forms. It enters our lives in sometimes unexpected ways. The important thing is to continue to try to care about each other as fellow human beings, struggling to survive in what is becoming an increasingly complicated world. Conservative or Liberal, I believe what really matters, is to keep an open mind. Love to all…Cat.