Love is magical. But for some, love loses some of its magic when adorned by a prerequisite spectrum of rosy hues and arrow-wielding cherubs. Whether or not you count yourself among these Valentine’s Scrooges (like our editor), these romantic ideas are out of the (chocolate) box and can be enjoyed all year. We promise not to judge if a heart-shaped box or teddy bear make an appearance.
While everyone else is out hunting for love, appreciate the love in your life with a creative scavenger hunt. Clue Town Books publishes a series of 60- to 90-minute scavenger hunts that take you on a quest to find clues scattered about each location in order to solve the book’s puzzles. What better Valentine’s Day activity than to explore the city with a unified mission of spotting clues and solving riddles? Clue Town offers beautifully designed scavenger hunt booklets for Piedmont Park, Oakland Cemetery, Downtown Decatur, BeltLine Eastside Trail and Emory University ($15 each), and mini-hunt booklets for Grant Park, Virginia-Highland and Downtown Kirkwood ($7 each). Bonus: Each $15 booklet includes a pencil and compass.
In the 1950s, a drive-in date would have been a go-to for anyone “going steady.” Today, most states have only a few drive-in theaters left, and Starlight Drive-In happens to be the only one left standing in Atlanta. Pack a front-seat picnic made up of your favorite romantic foods (cue the chocolate-covered strawberries—it is Valentine’s Day, after all), turn your radio to the right station and enjoy a private screening with your sweetie. Every night of the week, Starlight beams popular new releases onto four screens. Movie times are usually 7:30, 9:10 and 9:25 pm and tickets are $9 each for adults. Be forewarned, lines for Atlanta’s only drive-in can be appallingly long on Friday and Saturday nights.
Make Atlanta’s breathtaking sunset the backdrop to a romantic, mountaintop picnic. Just 15 minutes east of Atlanta sits Stone Mountain, the largest granite protrusion in the world. There’s plenty to do at Stone Mountain Park, including a ropes course, duck tour and nature trails, but perhaps the most amorous draw is the easy, mile-long hike up the mountain. Arrive at around 5:30 pm to allow 30 minutes for you and your Valentine to stroll up the rail-equipped path. At the mountain’s “peak,” you’ll find one of the most spectacular views of Atlanta’s skyline jutting through leafy canopies in the distance. Pack a towel and a picnic to feast while you watch wispy strokes of orange, pink and purple transform day into night.
Bubbles & Bivalves
Champagne has long been a symbol of celebration, and oysters are considered fierce aphrodisiacs (and they’re delicious). Couple up these luxe foods for the world’s most romantic restaurant tour for two. Start at Kimball House, home to champagne cocktails that spill from the tap and an extraordinary menu of fresh oysters served with mignonette sauce. After your first heavenly sips and slurps, embark on your restaurant-hop at stops known for the quality of their molluscs like The Optimist, The Luminary, Goin’ Coastal, Lure and Seven Lamps. What better than an evening of champagne toasts and oyster feasts to lift you and your lover to Cloud 9?