The Thirteen Roses of Valentine’s Day: A Baker’s Dozen Ways to Enjoy a Wine Experience on a Beer Budget

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The Thirteen Roses of Valentine’s Day:  A Baker’s Dozen Ways to Enjoy a Wine Experience on a Beer Budget

By Sarah Richards


There are more options than dinner and a movie, even in Florida in February.  You just have to think outside the candy box, so that when you ask if she’ll accept this rose, the answer will be yes.


  1. Rather than have dinner out, have dinner in. You don’t even have to be a chef, for twenty bucks Fresh Market offers restaurant-quality meals you can assemble at home (leftovers included):  If restaurant food is more your style, order it in without having to pick it up, you’re not stuck with pizza if you order through City Spree:  If the weather outside is nice make a day of it. Pensacola has plenty of parks with picnic tables (many with a view of the bay). Don’t feel like packing a picnic basket? The deli at Apple Market is here to help:
  2. The couple that learns together, learns more.  If you have an interest in cooking you don’t have to go far. Plus there’s no need to be intimidated, as this is not a college-level course.
  3. Sometimes doing things with someone is more fun than doing things for someone. Try “painting with a twist”: As it says on their site, “It’s not fine art, it’s fun art.” Afterwards you can share an appetizer and dessert, or go out for coffee somewhere new, such as “The Bodacious Brew” downtown:
  4. If both of you like baseball, The Blue Wahoos always have something going on. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be romantic:
  5. If your girlfriend is into etsy, Pinterest, or just loves to craft, a class might be just the thing (though make sure it doesn’t conflict with her existing school schedule and that this would be something she would have time for): or
  6. Women love to be pampered, whether it’s with a manicure, pedicure, or a new do. Take that one step further and treat her to a massage. Pensacola State College offers great ones at reasonable rates.  Just call 484-2567 to schedule hers. (Massage Therapy is located in the Cosmetic Arts Salon, Building 12, Pensacola Campus.)
  7. If your gal loves to read, buy her a book (and not a paperback). Not every woman wants flowers and candy. A book is both consumable and concrete; the right kind of book will also be a piece of art.  
  8. Write her a poem or song, but be sure to have your verse framed or serenade her (you can even transfer your tune to vinyl as a keepsake, but if your budget’s a bit tighter, a YouTube video is still pretty special). Personalized gifts resonate deeper in our memories.
  9. Take her dancing. Real ballroom stuff. Give her the gift of class.  You might have to buy her dancing shoes, but what girl would turn down a reason to buy shoes?
  10. Do something physical together (no, not just that), like go for a bike ride, a walk on the beach, or rollerblading on one of the nature trails at the University of West Florida. The Intramural Club is also having an archery contest at 2 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.  
  11. Treat her to a night of classical music, fondue night, and strip poker (depending on how far along your relationship has gestated).  Serve fondue with fresh cubes of French bread from a local bakery, diced green apples, pepper steak strips, slices of sautéed smoked sausage, and steamed or grilled veggies.  If you want to go all out, have a crock pot of melted chocolate (a bit of cherry brandy kicks it up a notch) and serve with strawberries, bananas, pound cake, PayDay bars (this was done at a wedding), and even bacon, if that’s your thing.
  12. If you live in Milton, there is “Valentine’s Love Beyond the Grave”, which includes a romantic dinner aboard an antique railroad dining car, following a candlelight tour of the Milton Cemetery:
  13. And of course, there’s nothing more romantic than prostitution. (Ahem.) Treat your significant other to a seedy slice of Pensacola history: