by Jack Bergenson

So, Valentine’s Day feels like it is a few minutes away and you have no idea where to take your date. Luckily for you, the Mount Messenger has scouted out a few places in the Hudson Valley that are perfect for Heart Day fun. Without further ado:

Castle Fun Center, Chester, NY:
The Castle Fun Center is a great place to have some innocent fun, with its large roller skating rink. Roller skating is a perfect way to get to know your significant other, or to have some fun together if you’re already past that phase. Break the ice (admittedly, that phrase would work better if this were ice skating) with the music and the moves, and don’t be afraid to take a spill or two. It’s classic and physical, and it will bring you closer to your Valentine.

BBQRed, Wappingers Falls, NY:
BBQRed is fairly new, so chances are that neither you nor your date have been there, or even heard of it. The name gives it all away here: BBQRed is simply the best new barbecue joint in town. Opened in December, the cozy dining room (it couldn’t have been more than 20 seats) and the huge portions will make dining here worth the trip. Everything is smoked in house, and they don’t skimp on the portions. The house-made sauces will kick up the heat, and there’s no better way to bond than to get messy with your piles of food.

Millbrook Winery, Millbrook, NY:
So you turned 21 recently and you want to share a glass of vino with your significant other. What
could be better than taking a little trip down to Millbrook Winery, one of the most famous wineries in the Northeast? Take a tour, enjoy the food, and sip on the exquisite whites and reds—chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet franc among their best varieties. Don’t forget, if you want to make a great impression, whites pair well with seafood, chicken, and pasta; reds, with red meat. See if you can get your hands on their Tocai Friulano—it’s a little out of season, but it was one of their best limited varieties to come out in recent years.

New World Home Cooking, Saugerties, NY:
Embrace the risqué at New World Home Cooking, world famous Ric Orlando’s restaurant in the Hudson Valley. His restaurant pulls out all the stops for Valentine’s Day, including the “Notorious Safe Sex Platter for Two,” a smorgasbord of aphrodisiacs like oysters on the half shell, spiced chocolate drops, and white chocolate chiles. Though it is one of the more reputed restaurants in the area, Ric Orlando’s restaurant is surprisingly on the higher side of affordable.

Farm to Table Bistro, Fishkill, NY:
Exactly what it implies, Farm to Table Bistro focuses on fresh, local produce, primarily from farmer’s markets. Their menu changes constantly depending on what is available, and it’s hard not to make a great impression with the powerful flavors of their fresh ingredients, and the creative presentation of their plates. They have a fully stocked bar and impressive wine list as well, and the restaurant has an atmosphere that just has to be experienced. Farm to Table Bistro is a bit pricey, but you will leave wholly satisfied.

Main Street, Beacon:
Hang a right off of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, and you’ll find yourself at Main Street. Stretching for over a mile, Main Street is home to plenty of attractions—especially if you slacked on the Valentine’s Day gift shopping. From storefront to storefront, Main St. is the home to a variety of locally owned shops, like Beacon Bath & Bubble (a home-grown take on Bath & Body Works), Echo (an upscale clothing store), or the brand new Utensil, a kitchenware & cutlery store. There are plenty of places along the way to eat: From Tito Santana Tacqueria (self-explanatory), to Brothers Trattoria (a traditional Italian restaurant), to the Beacon Falls Café (a cozy bistro on the corner of Main St. with a CIA-trained chef). You won’t be disappointed by the romantic walk down Main.

Have fun, young lovers!