Alternative Ideas for Valentine’s Day in Ohio
By TourismOhio

Alternative Ideas for Valentine’s Day in Ohio

Salt fork cabin

My wife and I aren’t the lovey-dovey type of people who plan extravagant Valentine’s Day surprises for each other. But I also know better than to pick up a lazy heart shaped box of chocolates for her.  The experience matters more than some expensive gift. Some years, we keep our Valentine’s Day plans as simple as a dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants, but we’ll usually plan a getaway that gets us out of our everyday routine. It doesn’t necessarily have to happen on Valentine’s Day, but mid-February really is a great time to take a breather from the normal.

Salt fork photos

Last winter, my wife and I, along with my brother, his wife and the three dogs we have among us, rented a pet-friendly cabin for a weekend at Salt Fork State Park a few weeks after Valentine’s Day. It’s a great place to get away from it all, enjoy the great winter hiking and reconnect with family (even though my brother only lives a few blocks away.) The highlight of the trip, by far, was the amazing sledding hill set up on Salt Fork’s golf course. We didn’t think to bring sleds, and after a quick trip into Cambridge to find some, we came back with the best substitute we could find – yoga mats. It turns out that a yoga mat slipped inside a plastic garbage bag makes a decent sled!

The cabin was the definition of cozy, with comfortable bedding in two bedrooms, a full kitchen set up perfectly for pancake breakfasts and a  great view of the wilderness. Winter rates are extremely reasonable, and being pet friendly made the trip even more enjoyable, though my little mutts got tired out a lot faster than my brother’s labradoodle.

Another less traditional Valentine’s idea is to plan a getaway around activities that you and your loved one don’t normally partake in together, but love individually. For instance, my wife loves to sew, and could spend hours on end in a fabric store. I’d normally rather wait in the car, but for love, I suppose I could work up a bit of interest! And maybe I’m a bit weird, but I really love grocery shopping. If I had my way, I’d get to spend two hours in Whole Foods every time I go.


This year, we’re planning a trip to a region we haven’t been to all that often that will let us indulge in our hobbies together. The plan is to visit a few fabric shops, like the Sulphur Grove Quilt Shop in Dayton, then pick up some food at the immense Jungle Jim’s Market in Fairfield. Even if you can’t cook a lick, you can’t get through the amazing selection at Jungle Jim’s in under an hour! Of course, no visit to Southwest Ohio is complete without a stop at IKEA in West Chester (they do have fabric for sale by the yard, of course.) We’ll cap that off with a cooking class at Dorothy Lane Market in Dayton. The classes are small, and very hands on – a great way to learn some new skills, have fun, and share a great meal together.

What Valentine’s Day traditions do you have that don’t involve chocolate and roses?

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