7 local date ideas for Valentine’s Day 2021 in the Vail Valley
Special to the Daily
Let’s face it: You can shower your Valentine with jewels, flowers, sweets and other lavish presents, but the best gift usually involves making memories together. Enjoying a savory steak and red wine at any of the Valley’s fine dining establishments probably isn’t going to be in the cards this year if you don’t already have reservations.
Here are seven Vail Valley date-night (or date-day) ideas to love and romance with your boo.
Holding hands as you glide on the outdoor ice in Vail Village or Beaver Creek can be a romantic way to say, “I love you.” Both rinks rent skates, and Beaver Creek even has ice bikes this winter — as well as fire pits and comfy couches for snuggling. Bonus points if you catch your partner mid-fall — that’ll show him or her you’re a keeper. Or, try
Experience Beaver Creek Wonder
This one’s been in the making for the past three years: This season, Beaver Creek debuted Beaver Creek Wonder, an artistic playground featuring oversized, interactive sculptures scattered throughout the village. Each element in the open-air, public gallery provides photo-worthy backdrops, which highlight both winter and summer seasons. Installations include: illuminated flower petals, a nostalgically remodeled ice cream truck, a life-sized snow globe and vibrant, larger-than-life goggles. It’s a phot-abulous way to play around and capture memories. And, posing with bronzes of George Washington or Albert Einstein in the village can be pretty fun, too.
By the way, Beaver Creek’s new common consumption area, which stretches from St. James Place to the covered bridge, permits you to drink to-go cocktails, beer and wine as you stroll through the village.
Take a slower approach to skiing with cross-country gear, or get your heart pumping with introductory skate lessons. McCoy Park, off The Strawberry Park Lift, offers over 32 kilometers of groomed and rustic trails, between Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch villages. And Vail Nordic Center provides 17 kilometers of groomed skate and classic track. You can also snowshoe or ride a fat bike on its trails. Of course, this is a daytime date.
Sit back and be served
If you can’t go out to any of Vail’s best restaurants, let the best come to you. The valley is full of talented private chefs, who build the dining experience around your delights. If they’re already booked for Valentine’s night, what about a lavish lunch, a surprise Sunday breakfast — or even a Monday morning breakfast? Plus, check out to-go and take-and-bake options.
Rev it up
Fire up your engines with a snowmobile tour. Outfitters like Nova Guides will take you on half- or full-day excursions. Fly through open meadows and take in views of the Continental Divide. Double up on a snowmobile for an exhilarating ride. Just know that due to COVID-19 protocols, snowsuits are not available.
Sage Outdoors Adventure’s privately owned land provides more acreage than Vail Mountain: 6,000 acres of wilderness, compared to Vail’s 5,289 acres. Snowmobilers are almost as likely to encounter mule deer or elk than they are human beings; riders might see a half dozen people at the viewpoint stop, which overlooks seven mountain ranges, the Continental Divide and a 2,400-foot chasm. The ranch provides 2,500 feet of vertical and more than 100 miles of maintained trails — plus expansive meadows for open riding. Terrain varies from snow-covered meadows and sage to fir Douglas and pines, with streams, springs and lakes and steep little gullies throughout.
Unwind at the spa
COVID-19 protocols are preventing couples massages, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a date at one of the valley’s many spas. As of early last week, spas like The Arrabelle still had availability, so try to book separate massages at the same time, then unwind together in the large, co-ed relaxation lounge. If you can’t snag the same massage times, consider working out in the fitness center or soaking in the hot tub while hot stones and expert hands melt away any muscle tension in your partner. Of course, body therapies, like scrubs and wraps, and massage enhancements like a wildflower scalp massage, are also options. Or, get mani-pedis at places like Jazzy Nails in Avon. Availibility is more likely to be flexible, and you still get the same pampering, with your partner sitting right beside you.
Stroll through galleries
Thinking about taking your relationship to the next level? Well, strolling through art galleries can give you a hint as to how compatible you might be when it comes to home décor.
From bronze sculptures depicting wildlife and the West to enormous photographs that envelope you in a wintery mountain scene or field of wildflowers, the Vail Valley is the place to admire art. In fact, the valley has so many galleries, there’s an entire magazine devoted to it: Just look for ART magazine on any of the free stands, if you don’t know where to start.
Each gallery has its own flair; for example, Raitman Art Galleries is all about having fun with art, from its bold, bright ski and wildlife portraits by brother and sister duo Barak and Miri Rozenvain, to DD LaRue’s whimsical “neo-cartonnage” dogs hanging their heads out of car windows.
Vail Fine Art Gallery specializes in Impressionist-inspired paintings and bronze sculptures, French, American and Russian masters and Western and contemporary art.
Knox Gallery was one of the first to showcase bronzes in the valley — over 30 years ago, before the medium became popular. While Knox Galleries has built a reputation as one of the nation’s premier monumental bronze sculpture galleries, it also curates eclectic paintings and contemporary sculptures.
Whatever you do, find a way to celebrate togetherness and love, be it through a night (or day) on the town or an intimate date.