Valentine’s Day 2013 Part One
by Catherine Mahrolz:
Valentine’s Day is 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.
Perhaps the sentiment, so popular in the 1960s, “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 and affection.
Historically, various days throughout the entire month of February have been, at one time or another, designated as a time for the celebration of love, romance and fertility.
In modern times, at least here in the United States, it too often seems that a man is expected to take the lead in expressing his affection for and devotion to his lady love on Valentine’s Day.
As a free spirited woman who believes in equality, I think both men and women should take some time and give thought to expressing their devotion to each other. And not just on February 14. As history tells us, the entire month of February has at one time or another been dedicated to expressing one’s affection for another. And the expression of love and affection need not require going into debt either!
This year, Valentine’s Day proper, Feb. 14, falls on a Thursday. Even though this is the middle of the work week for many people, if dining out is a part of your plans for this festive celebration of love, then make a reservation now, because Valentine’s Day is an extremely popular night for dining out. Some restaurants are already booked for this most romantic of holidays.
If work or other obligations stand in your way on Thursday Feb. 14, then consider celebrating the sweetheart in your life in the days and weeks surrounding this particular day in February.
Throughout the month of February here in Colorado, opportunities abound for fun and romance. Show your special someone that you care and appreciate him or her, mountain style.
Try something new, a different approach just might be what’s needed to spice up your love life; nothing kinky, just think about romance and having fun with one another. A little imagination and creativity are all that’s needed for romance with altitude!
Events worthy of consideration include:
Cripple Creek’s 6th annual Ice Fest is Feb. 9 and 10 through Feb. 16 and 17.
Manitou celebrates Mardi Gras with their fun filled Carnivale parade on Sat. Feb. 9.
Victor is hosting their first Steampunk Festival, including a Costume Ball on Sat. Feb. 16.
Shining Mountain Golf Club is hosting a Sweetheart Ball on Sat. Feb. 16.
Be sure to check the Almanac here in The Mountain Jackpot for more information on these and other events in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado.
The following options for dining out are but a few to consider when courting your special someone throughout February, the month dedicated to love and romance.
Historic Ute Inn 719-687-1465 or www.uteinn.com
The Historic Ute Inn is a Woodland Park, Colorado landmark. The restaurant dates all the way back to the 1940’s. The place is steeped in history and the current owners of this venerable establishment invite you to enjoy a meal with your special someone on Valentine’s Day or any day.
The Ute, as it is known to those who love the place, has been undergoing a facelift recently. The restaurant has all new seating and tables. Sleek and modern, yet very comfortable and with the newly refinished original wood plank floor, the dining area now sports a bright and polished look while still retaining its rustic appeal.
For Valentine’s Day dinner at the Historic Ute Inn, ladies receive a single long stem rose courtesy of the Ute. The dinner special for Valentine’s Day will feature the Ute hand cut Rib-eye and Salmon. Sounds like the beginning of a pretty romantic and memorable evening.
Tabeguache Steak House 719-687-8536
This well known Colorado Lodge style restaurant features quality organic meats from Ranch Foods Direct. For those dedicated to fine dining, this restaurant would be a sure fire winner for an unforgettable romantic dinner.
Casa Grande 719-687-0415
Have a craving for dinner with a Mexican flare? Casa Grande, located just off Hwy 24 in Woodland Park has all the colorful ambience of Mexico, and a large menu with something to suit everyone’s taste. For Valentine’s Day, Casa Grande is featuring Shrimp and Scallop Fajitas.
Green Mountain Falls
Mucky Duck 719-684-2008
For a very romantic Colorado Lodge style restaurant, please consider the Mucky Duck in Green Mountain Falls as an affordable option for dining out on or around Valentine’s Day. The superior quality of the gourmet fare at the Mucky Duck has a proven track record in the Pikes Peak region. An extensive menu features options for all tastes and appetites.
For Valentine’s Day, the Mucky Duck has a special menu planned. Featured entrees include Filet Mignon or Halibut with White Wine Sauce. This is a four course meal including appetizer, soup and dessert. And the Mucky Duck will be offering a complimentary glass of champagne and a chocolate covered strawberry to complete a most memorable meal.
Be sure to make a reservation early at this very popular restaurant to ensure that a table will be available for you.
Ancestral Arts 719-687-2278
Those searching for a unique and affordable gift for a special someone, man or woman, will be sure to find the perfect gift at Ancestral Arts. Located adjacent to Venture Foods, Ancestral Arts is offering a 10% discount or a free necklace to those making a purchase of $20.00 or more on any merchandise.
Divide Mercantile 719-687-6654
This store features gently used and locally hand crafted items. At this time there is also an enormous collection of framed art, prints and photographs, all very reasonably priced.
McGinty’s 719-686-7703 or www.mcgintyswoodovenpub.com
Surely you’ve been to McGinty’s for their famous Friday Night Fish & Chips. No? Well, check this place out. McGinty’s is an elegant and stylish yet comfortable restaurant with an Irish flare. The eclectic menu features all sorts of tempting entrees, many inspired by recipes from the Emerald Isle. There are sure to be options to suit just about anyone’s taste in dining fare. And a special dinner is planned for Valentine’s Day.
Smokin’ Q 719-687-5800 or www.smokelow.com
Would you prefer to take something home for a cozy evening by the fire? The Texas Style Barbeque and Smoked Colorado Trout that Mona and Steve are famous for, is a sure bet to please those of you craving a quiet evening at home.
Lagree’s Liquors Divide 719-687-3141
This year for Valentine’s Day, Lagree’s is featuring Sweetheart Red, an affordable Sangria style red wine from a Colorado winery. The pink label, featuring a heart, is perfect for Valentine’s Day. The wine selection at Lagree’s is quite extensive and many are priced affordably.
Costello Street Coffee House 719-748-3567
In Florissant, the Victorian elegance of this little restaurant, impeccably furnished with antiques, will please those with the most delicate sensibilities for a romantic breakfast, lunch or afternoon coffee and dessert.
There is also a small but beautiful selection of gifts to consider purchasing for a lady with Victorian tastes. Traditional fresh water pearl jewelry, delicate floral patterned tea cups and saucers are but a few of the treasures for sale at the Costello Street Coffee House.
The Loop At Manitou 719-685-9344 or www.theloopatmaintiou.com
Downtown Manitou Springs features numerous shops with merchandise perfect for Valentine’s Day gift giving. Whether it’s authentic Navajo jewelry from one of the many jewelry stores or something manly from The Mountain Man, the businesses on Manitou Avenue are sure to have something to please your special someone.
Dining options in Manitou Springs are numerous and feature an international array of restaurants in addition to classic American cuisine.
Stagecoach Inn 719-685-9400 or www.stagecoachinn.com
On a sunny day enjoy a creekside lunch, or in the evening dine in the comfortable ambience of an English Pub. Colorado cuisine is featured at the Stagecoach Inn, and dinner entrees include Trout Almandine and Buffalo Ribeye.
The Loop At Manitou 719-685-9344 or www.theloopatmaintiou.com
Located in the heart of downtown Manitou Springs, right by the roundabout, The Loop is a landmark Manitou Springs restaurant. The Loop is known for their world famous Margaritas, and entrees with south of the border flair.
“And now for something completely different!” – Monty Python
Consider an afternoon, just the two of you, traveling west on Hwy 24 to the Leadville area. From Teller County, it’s a beautiful drive over Wilkerson Pass, through South Park and over Trout Creek Pass then through Buena Vista and up to historic Leadville, Colorado.
Leadville is a town steeped in mining history. Located right on Hwy 24, Leadville has numerous unique and colorful shops, taverns and restaurants. Events too, are scheduled throughout the year.
Tennessee Pass Cookhouse 719-486-1750 or www.tennesseepass.com
On Hwy 24, just 11 miles from Leadville and close to the summit of Tennessee Pass, is Ski Cooper. Originally the training facility for the United States Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II, this beautiful area is now home to the 10th Mountain Division Memorial and the most affordable ski area in Colorado, Ski Cooper.
The Tennessee Pass Cookhouse is operated by the Nordic Center at Ski Cooper. This unique restaurant has been famous for a number of years now for excellent gourmet dining. Housed in a spacious, modern yurt and seating about 40 people, the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse is definitely a destination worthy of consideration for a romantic dinner seven nights a week throughout the winter months. Making reservations is absolutely required to secure a table at this unique and popular dining destination.
The Nordic Center at Ski Cooper is located adjacent to the large parking area. And parking is free. The Tennessee Pass Cookhouse is only 1.8 kilometers from the Nordic Center lodge. For a very modest fee, adventuresome souls can rent skis or snowshoes for the gentle climb up to the Cookhouse, or a snowmobile can whisk you up to this unique and very romantic restaurant.
The food will please your palate, and the views…well, these are spectacular and even a seasoned Teller County resident, jaded by daily vistas of our own Pikes Peak, and surrounding scenery, will be stunned at the beauty of the mountains visible in the near distance from the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse.
And romance? One of the friendly staff, a newcomer to Colorado, told me about her first day on the job this past October where she assisted a young man in a surprise proposal to his girlfriend. “That was just about the best first day on the job ever!” she exclaimed.
These are but a few suggestions on ways to spend some time with the person you love. Time spent together, having fun seems to me to be so important in maintaining a relationship.
And if you are single and unattached, spend some time with a friend, or try to make new friends. Friendships are important, and should be treasured, too!
Next week, look to The Mountain Jackpot for more ideas on events and ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day, and the month of February, a month historically dedicated to love and romance.