A Very Erie Valentine’s

Category:  Features
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 at 2:15 PM
A Very Erie Valentine’s by Miriam Lamey

You’ve done flowers. You’ve bought chocolates. You’ve searched for the right kind of card (not sappy, definitely interesting, your exact sentiments). You’ve tried candlelit dinners (yawn). And Valentine’s Day is here again. Now what?

Well, take it from this Erie newbie that the best way to date or celebrate in this town is to get creative. That doesn’t mean there’s a dearth of options, it just means it’s just a matter of exploring to unearth the many fun, unique, and hyper-local ways that Erieites can celebrate V-Day as a single, as an adventurous couple, as a family, or with friends. Here are offbeat and intriguing ideas to show someone – or yourself – just how much you care.

Couples: The Big Downtown Date

Erie has welcomed many new restaurants in the past year, namely Alkeme, a Mediterranean spot right on recently-renovated Perry Square. It’s cozy, cool, and casual with a menu that sounds entirely classy: Porcini Ricotta Gnocchi, Chianti Chicken, mussels, a cheese and charcuterie plate, and plenty of fresh pasta, meat, and fish. Start the evening off at Cloud 9 for posh wines and romantic chats, and end with a nightcap at 28 North Gastropub – the cocktails are superb.

Also good for: girls’ night out, a big group of friends

Singles: Love Thyself with Yoga and Juice

How convenient that yogaErie and The Juice Jar are within walking distance of one another. For those who want to detox and show plenty of self-love, a rejuvenating date can start off with sweating to a fast-paced and energizing yoga class, where ladies and gents can take care of body and mind. To refuel and feel good on the inside, it’s mere steps to The Juice Jar for a delicious, healthy brew, a smoothie, or an all-natural, hearty lunch. The cafe recently hosted a date night, so singles may just meet their ideal significant others here, too.

Also good for: couples on a health kick, friends, treating your fit mom or dad

Teens: Menchie’s and a Movie

We get it. Dating when you’re too young to hit up the bars and too sick of bowling can be tough, especially in the winter. However, the proximity of many establishments to one another is a huge benefit of living in Erie. So rather than go nuts spending on dinner and a movie, why not head out for frozen yogurt and a movie? Grab a tasty treat and lock eyes over the M&M’s before settling in for a flick, or catch an earlier show and discuss the film over some fro yo. The possibilities, like the toppings at Menchie’s, are endless.

Also good for: families, girls’ night out, singles with a sweet tooth

Couples and Groups: Erie Beer Tour

With the opening of VooDoo Brewery’s Erie location, there are now several solid breweries downtown, including Lavery Brewing Company, Erie Ale Works, and Erie Brewing Company. Grab a designated driver – or an Uber – and set out for some local brews, enjoying seasonal samples or full pints of your favorite. We recommend finishing off the tour at VooDoo – the menu is pretty stellar and should satiate all beer-hungry appetites.

Also good for: going out with the lads (especially now that football’s over), treating your dad to some local ales

Singles, Couples, and Families: Sourcing and Making an All-Erie Meal

Enough. No more picking up the rotisserie chicken and bottle of wine from Wegman’s, and consuming both in front of Netflix. Instead, head to local businesses to buy groceries and items and turn making dinner into a fun, all-Erie event. Start off at Gordon’s Meat Market for the protein portion of the journey (or skip if you’re a vegetarian) before heading to Whole Foods Co-op for sides, sauces, and all sorts of meat-free fare to bulk up your meal. Finally, if you’re into wine, stop at Presque Isle Wine Cellars and try a few vinos before grabbing a bottle or two to complement the meal. And if the kiddos are with you – or wine is a no-no – hit The Juice Jar for some fun juices as either an appetizer, dessert, or main dish accompaniment.

Also good for: impressing your relatives, unexpected guests, having a dinner party just because

Intrepid Explorers: Hit the Presque Isle Trails and Warm Up at the Colony

The Norwegians say that there is never any bad weather, just bad clothing, so if you haven’t cashed in those Christmas gift cards yet, it’s time for some cold-weather gear. When appropriately bundled, outdoorsy types can watch the crazy waves and walk the beach sand trails, strap on some boots (or snowshoes or skis) and hit the nature trails, or walk along the bay and enjoy the blustery weather. To warm up after your adventures, the Colony has a roaring fireplace and some stiff drinks or most excellent hot cocoa – all of which are certain to revive the chilliest of fingers and toes. Stick around for appetizers or burgers and whatever local music is being performed.

Also good for: families with older kids, your cousin who hiked in the Himalayas

Couples, Families and Groups: Bowling and Home-cooked Food

Not everyone can handle the cold, which might be why bowling is so popular in Erie. Fortunately, it’s affordable and fun, and Greengarden Lanes isn’t far from McGarrey’s Oakwood Cafe. Grab your sweetie or your best mates, and head out for a little friendly competition – bumpers optional – before trekking across 38th Street to McGarrey’s for some tasty, homey fare. Try their “famous” Reuben sandwiches, warm up with their hearty homemade soups, or get a sampling to share with your nearest and dearest. Bonus: They have gluten-free bread.

Also good for: your energetic grandparents, a first-ever date, teens, those new to Erie

Miriam Lamey can be contacted at Miriam@eriereader.com.

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