Beyond bouquetsMost folks like being taken out to an elegant dinner, and few ever turn down roses. But there are plenty of other options for celebrating Valentine's Day that even Hallmark hasn't thought of yet.
For Valentine's Day, locals might try English country dancing, hiking a ridge, or taking in a Brahms concerto
Here are a few of the many possibilities in the Palo Alto area for this Valentine's, including tasting a Chardonnay, taking in some Brahms and planting wetlands seeds.
The Artisan Wine Depot at 400A Villa St. in Mountain View is hosting a Valentine's Day wine tasting of various wines from J Vineyards in Sonoma County. The walk-around tasting goes from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12. Tickets bought online in advance are $17.39, and those at the door are $22.88. Call 650-969-3511 or go to www.artisanwinedepot.com and click on "Events/Tastings/Seminars."
"An Elegant Romance" is the theme of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's 8 p.m. concert on Friday, Feb. 12. Nicholas McGegan leads the musicians in an all-Brahms program, with violin soloist Viktoria Mullova featured in Brahms' Violin Concerto. Tickets are $25-$75; the concert is at First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. Go to www.philharmonia.org .
Friday Night Dance hosts a Valentine's dance party on Friday, Feb. 12, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Social ballroom dances will include Latin and swing, with a nightclub two-step lesson starting things off at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 per person ($5 after 10:30 p.m., $3 after 11 p.m.), and $5 for students. The party is at Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Go to www.readybyte.com .
The older-adults center Avenidas hosts its free "Feel the Love" dance on Friday, Feb. 12, from 2 to 3 p.m. at 450 Bryant St. in Palo Alto. Live music is courtesy of Linda Mankin and Les Sophisticats. Call 650-289-5400.
The Loma Prieta Sierra Singles Valentine's party features dancing to classic rock by Mike Buczek's Summer of Love Band, and a potluck dinner. The event goes from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Palo Alto Community Church, 3391 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Admission is $10. Call 408-445-9802 or e-mail Yogabear23@aol.com.
At Valentine's Day at San Francisquito Creek, volunteers show the love to the environment with wetlands seed planting. It happens Saturday, Feb. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Palo Alto Baylands, 1700 Geng Road. E-mail bayevents@saveSFbay.org.
A different sort of Valentine's dance party features contra dance and live music by the band Swing Farm, hosted by the Bay Area Country Dance Society on Saturday, Feb. 13. A free beginners' class goes from 7:30 to 8 p.m., with the dance party from 8 to 11 p.m. Admission to the party is $10 ($8 for members and $5 for students). Attendees are asked to bring potluck food. The event is at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto at 625 Hamilton Ave. Call 650-965-9169 or go to www.bacds.org .
Hikers can hit the trails for a Ridge Top Valentine walk at Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve. The free three-and-a-half-mile hike, led by docents, starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14. Hikers meet at the Russian Ridge Preserve parking lot on the northwest corner of Skyline Boulevard and Page Mill/Alpine Road. Call 650-691-1200 or go to openspace.org. In Woodside, the free Loma Prieta Sierra Club Valentine's Day hike happens at Huddart Park at 1100 Kings Mountain Road, starting at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 14. Call at 510-585-6289.
The Marqs in Menlo restaurant at 1143 Crane St. in Menlo Park hosts a performance by jazz singer Margie Baker and her trio on Sunday, Feb. 14, from 6 p.m. to midnight, with food served until 10 p.m. Reservations are advised. Call 650-853-1143 or go to www.marqsinmenlo.com .
If cupcakes are more to your liking than hiking, you might want to bring the kids to Valentine's Day Story Time at Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Held at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, the free event features Valentine's stories, treats and crafts. Call 650-324-4321 or go to www.keplers.com .