Blair Garrett

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning for a night out with your special someone.

Chocolates and flowers are nice, but for those of us who are searching for a memorable evening with our significant other, options for a fun or romantic night out are a welcome change from the norm.
There are plenty of great date spots that work outside of just Valentine’s Day, too, and if you’re in desperate need of ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

Big and bold plans can be fun and exciting, but your date night doesn’t have to break the bank. Your options are only limited to your creativity, and the most important thing you can spend this Valentine’s Day is your time.

Let’s take a look at a few great local and non-local options for your perfect February night out.

1. Antrim 1844
     If a romantic getaway is more your style, look no further than Taneytown’s Antrim 1844. Built on an old plantation, Antrim 1844 offers customers a variety of historic housing options for a weekend stay close to home you won’t soon forget. With 11 different local houses to choose from and dozens of room options among them, a new and exciting experience awaits couples looking to celebrate.

The property often hosts weddings and work outings, so, naturally, there are food accommodations. Antrim 1844’s Smokehouse Restaurant has been named “Best Historic Restaurant in America,” and with all of the options available to guests, it’s easy to see why.

Whether it’s a six-course meal or a trip to the restaurant’s 20,000 bottle wine cellar, you’re in for a classy, laid back evening at Antrim 1844.

2. Carroll Creek Park Walk
       This free, open to the public day trip gives visitors gorgeous views of downtown Frederick. On the walk, you can see some of the best murals and artwork Maryland has to offer, all at your pace and leisure. There are tons of shops and restaurants you can make a stop at along the way, so the trip is really what you make it.

This former floodplain is now one of the premier attractions to Frederick and has been renovated as recent as 2016. There are also electric bikes for rent to add a workout or faster mode of transportation to your self-guided tour. A bike also allows you flexibility to branch out and see more of the city.  
3. Firestone’s Culinary Tavern
       If beautifully prepared meals with a fine glass of wine suit your ideal night out, Firestone’s Culinary Tavern in Frederick has all that and more. Firestone’s features a “Raw Bar,” consisting of upscale seafood delicacies with an intimate setting. Draft beers, fine wines, and signature cocktails accompany some of the finest oysters the east coast has to offer.

At Firestone’s, there is always something new to try, and you’ll never get tired of their extravagant dishes. With Frederick’s largest selection of beer and ale, there is an accommodation for just about everyone.

4. Order Take-out
     For an intimate stay at home night, bring home a special take-out dinner. See our article in this issue about Celebrations Catering in Thurmont, where a special Friday Night Valentine’s Menu offers upscale delicious meal options.

On Valentine’s weekend, several local non-profits are hosting dinners or events, where carryout is an option as well. Take a look at those opportunities in the Around Town Section and Community Calendar in this issue.

5. Ice Skating
       There’s no better time to lace up the skates than with local ponds starting to freeze over. Although the Greater Catoctin area is typically not as cold as our neighbors to the north, and sometimes our outdoor ponds aren’t entirely frozen over, don’t fret.
There are some great local spots to ice skate—indoors and outdoor.

Ski Liberty hosts outdoor skating daily, and both Hagerstown and Frederick have indoor ice rinks with weekend public skates.

No gear? No problem. All options listed have rentals available upon request, so ice skating is an easy and fun way to kick off your February.

Ice skating is something most people are either proficient at or terrible at, and it makes for a lot of laughs if the latter is the case. Dates are all about having fun and spending time with a person you care about, so what better way than to watch each other slide around like a newborn calf taking its first steps.

6. escape room
       Nothing focuses more on communication and problem solving—two cornerstones of a relationship—quite like an escape room. For those of us who have never taken an escape room challenge, couples or parties must work together—and sometimes compete—to solve riddles, puzzles, and equations to find a way out of a themed escape room.
       When the door locks behind you, the timer starts, and carefully inspecting each item in the room is the key to finding your escape key and freeing the group. Solving an escape room together is a great way to get out and do something unique and creative. The riddles are often funny and challenging, allowing you to share a few laughs while working together.

There are several excellent options, just a short drive away, with each offering a one-of-a-kind experience. Frederick has ClueIQ, Surelocked In Escape Games, and Escape This. Escape Gettysburg and 1863 Escape Room are also great options north of the Mason Dixon line. So, there is no shortage of great local spots for a fun night out.

The value in the year’s most romantic holiday is designating a specific day dedicated to the most special person in your life. Whether you’ve dated for six months, or you’re celebrating your 50th anniversary, date nights are a healthy outlet to keep relationships flourishing.

Great date ideas are everywhere, but it’s up to you to make it a memorable one. If it’s once a week or once a year, taking a trip to do something out of the same old routine is an easy way to put a smile on the face of those you care about most. So, don’t be afraid to get out there and make your dream night out a reality.

Ski Liberty’s outdoor ice rink, open daily at the foot of the mountain.

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