It’s Valentines Day – are you stuck for ideas for romancing your sweetheart? Here are 5 top places and activities to ignite the candle of romance in your life. Even if you’ve already got plans, bookmark this page for the next time you’re looking to impress that special somebody.
1. A romantic dinner out
Sooke is blessed with culinary excellence – we have many amazing restaurants that also happen to be very romantic. The Sooke Harbour House is probably the classic romantic choice – world-renowned for its sustainable, fresh, local cuisine and its award-winning wine cellar. I’ve always found the prix-fixe menu to be a great value on the rare occasion that I’ve been. An early table might afford you a great view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains, but even when it’s dark outside, the Sooke Harbour House is a feast for all five senses.
Lesser known but equally as fine is Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant. While it’s probably too late to get in tonight, be sure to make a reservation for your next special occasion. The intimate atmosphere of this small restaurant overlooking Sooke Harbour at the southern end of Maple Ave is hard to match anywhere I’ve ever been in the world. Impeccable service and outstanding, innovative, fresh cuisine are the hallmarks of a night out at Markus’.
A 20-30 minute drive west of Sooke will bring you to one of my favourites – Point No Point Resort. The restaurant at the resort is perched on cliffs overlooking the wild Juan de Fuca strait and the coastal rainforest of Vancouver Island. A go-to lunch spot whenever we have visitors, it’s just as good for dinner – and the menu is priced so well for some of the finest dining around.
2. A hand-in-hand stroll
A fair day on the west coast in February is something we’re lucky to enjoy from time to time. While the rest of the country is mired in snow, freezing rain and sub-zero temperatures, Sooke is beginning to see daffodils, crocuses and buds on trees. Take advantage of the weather on many of the trails that criss-cross our town. My top picks for romance would be Whiffen Spit Park and the seaside boardwalk from Ed Macgregor Park. Cold out? Raining? All the more reason to bundle up and get close to your beloved.
3. Cook a special meal at home
Nothing impresses a significant other like a home-cooked gourmet meal with all the extras. Wine, candlelight, a fire in the wood stove, what could be more romantic? Unlike a restaurant, you’ll be much more comfortable at home – you could even dine naked! Sooke has two well-stocked grocery stores and several specialty merchants that will help you get the job done. Pick up a bottle of wine at the Castle or Buffy’s, some gourmet bread and cheese at Little Vienna Bakery, and maybe a sweet treat too! Need a recipe idea? Google is here to help. Don’t want to cook, but still want to eat gourmet? Order in – a new business in Sooke called Food Cab will pick up from any restaurant in town and deliver it to your doorstep for a nominal fee.
4. Share a bottle of mead
Mead, or honey wine, is one of the oldest fermented beverages known to us. And did you know that just 5 minutes west of Sooke is Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery? Producing award-winning meads, available at Buffy’s, The Castle, and the 17 Mile Liquor Store, this is a treat for lovers to share. In fact, legend has it that the word “honeymoon” originates from the use of mead to, uh, set the mood for a nervous newlywed couple.
5. Enjoy a sunset at Otter Point
While it doesn’t look like the sun will shine on this year’s V-day, this is one of those hidden gems that I just love. If you look on the CRD Atlas, you’ll discover that there are many parks and protected areas that you probably have driven past dozens of times without noticing. Many are unmarked and not maintained. One of these is Otter Point Park – a protected area encompassing the actual geographic point and a stretch of pebbly beach to the west. Park along the highway where it’s safe and head towards the antenna where the highway curves around the point. A short distance from here is a perfect picnic table to enjoy a stunning sunset nearly any time of the year. It’s often windy here in the summer evenings, so be sure to bundle up.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions for romance, either today or any other day of the year – why wait for Feb 14?!