Roses are red, violets are blue.
I’m ready for something different. How about you?*

February 14 marks Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love and romance, replete with red roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, long waits at every restaurant in town, and lots of expectations for thoughtful expressions of “I Love You” between partners.

It’s not my favorite holiday, and while we may exchange small gifts, I’ve never really been one for flowers, candy or obligatory meals, especially when they fall in the middle of the week. It’s always nice to not have to cook dinner, but I can do without the pressure to book a sitter, score the hot reservation and have the evening go perfectly. After 12 years of marriage, my husband and I enjoy sharing an adult meal with a grown-up conversation, but we also love branching out and breaking with tradition.

If we are going to brave the crowds, lately we’ve been looking to take the average date night up a notch or two. Here are just a few adventures we’ve tried (or plan to try) in the name of romance.

Axe Throwing

We would be hard-pressed to think of a date night we enjoyed quite as much as axe throwing at Autobahn Axe. The premise is fairly simple: participants book sessions to hurl actual axes at wooden targets. We attended in a group date scenario, which allowed us to reserve two hours of throwing time, along with a private throwing coach for about $35 per person. Not only did our coach teach us several different ways to hurl our axes, but he also organized and refereed some fun team games. The competition was pretty fierce, but we were all laughing and cheering each other on. For the cost of a nice dinner out, we had a few hours of great conversation, learned a new sport and figured out who, in our relationship, would be best suited to chopping in a firewood emergency.


Glass Blowing

I am keeping a keen eye on the events page for Burnt Glassworks, to book a couple’s glass blowing class. Blown glass is absolutely stunning, and the opportunity to try to create our own glass artwork seems both incredibly personal and meaningful. It would be a treat to share time channeling our creative energy to make a piece of decor or functional item for our home, and I would love to see what we could make together. Currently, Burnt Glassworks’ Valentine’s offerings include heart-shaped couple’s paperweights and couple’s cups, but new classes are added regularly.


Sign Painting

Custom sign painting studios, like Board & Brush, provide couples a great way to DIY gorgeous pieces of handmade art for their homes. This particular studio is even more fun because instead of ready-made pallets, participants must distress and assemble their own wood into paintable surfaces. This means lots of hammering and power tools, prior to staining and painting in the stencils. Bonus? You can bring in your own champagne and small bites to sip and nibble while you work!


Escape Rooms

Nothing says togetherness quite like being “locked” in a series of rooms with a goal and some clues, racing against the clock to “escape.” Whether working together as a couple or with a group of friends, collaborating to solve the riddles, find the hidden secrets and conquer the quest really helps unite people. Our escape room attempt was also part of a big group date, and we were all able to pool our strengths to solve our “Jewel Heist” themed adventure and get out with minutes to spare. There are several escape rooms located through the area with different motifs and levels of difficulty, so book your room based on personal preference and how skilled you’re feeling. Even if you don’t get out in time, most of the fun is in the attempt!


If you’re looking for a more conventional approach to date nights, not to worry! There are still plenty of awesome spots in St. Augustine at which to celebrate Valentine’s Day – check them out here!

However you spend your Valentine’s Day, enjoy it with the one you love!

Valentine's*(With apologies to the original author).

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Jennifer was born and raised in New Jersey, moving to the Sunshine State to attend Miami (Go Canes!). After graduation, she began a decade-long career in Sports & Event Management in South Florida, but moved to St. Augustine to become a SAHM when she and her husband, Keith, were expecting their son. She and Keith are enjoying the crazy and rewarding adventure of parenthood with their middle-school-aged son, a grumble of pugs and a hedgehog. Jennifer holds leadership roles with both the PTA and BSA and believes in the power of community involvement and volunteerism. The family can be found traveling (both locally and worldwide), trying new restaurants, and toeing the start line of road races, near and far. Jennifer owns the blog Runs With Pugs and is a freelance writer and social media consultant.