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By Jeremy Los


February 10, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, if you’re still not sure what to do with your sweetheart, East County Magazine is here to help. East County and San Diego’s inland areas offer up a variety of creative options for romantic activities and dinners, whether you’re looking to do Valentine’s Day extravagantly or on a limited budget.




Tee for Two At Steel Canyon Golf Course:
The beautifully scenic and highly acclaimed Steele Canyon Golf Course will be hosting a couple’s valentine tournament, where you can spend a day on the links before heading out for dinner in the evening. For more details and sign-up options call: (619) 441-6900. http://www.steelecanyon.com/sites/courses/layout9.asp?id=832&page=46448


Carriage Rides in Julian: Make your wife or girlfriend feel like a princess with this beautiful way to begin your valentine’s night. The horse-drawn carriage rides take passengers on a 15-minute ride through beautiful downtown Julian, a historic gold rush town. Call Main Street Carriage Company at (760) 765-0438


Snuggle up at Santee Drive-In: Catch a double feature of the latest films under the stars while cuddled-up with your significant other. For half the price of major movie theatres, the Santee Drive-In allows you to enjoy your Valentine’s night at a discounted price while also providing a night’s worth of entertainment.


Hiking at Mission Trails: (Sunday) Enjoy the true beauty of East County while taking a guided nature walk through majestic Mission Trails with your beloved. Free to the public, this hour and a half excursion takes on your choice of three trails throughout the Mission Trails Park. http://www.mtrp.org/


Chocolate Festival: (Saturday) Indulge in endless chocolate treats at the 2nd annual “For The Love of Chocolate & SweetArt Fest,” in downtown Escondido from 1-5 pm. For only $20, experience 10 pairings of the best locally brewed beers and wines along with our region’s finest chocolatiers. You can also pamper your significant other at the local spas followed by a stroll down Sweet Street. http://www.downtownescondido.com/chocolate.html


Wine Tasting and Concert: Sample the best vintages that Orfilia Winery has to offer with a free wine tasting for two throughout the month of February. Also, take in the musical styles of Mike McGill with your loved one while enjoying a glass of wine and gourmet chocolates at the Orfilia Pre-Valentine’s Day Concert on February 13 at 4:30 pm. Special couples rates are available. http://www.orfila.com/Concerts

Sweetheart Spa Retreat: Relax with your significant other at the Ambience Day Spa at Barona Resort. The Sweetheart Special for Two allows you to relax and be pampered along with your significant other. Price starts at $410 for this soothing and romantic spa experience. http://www.barona.com/spa/


Roar and Snore wild night: Spend the night under the stars with your loved one and amongst the wild animals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Feb. 11-12. Enjoy a dinner by candlelight while also participating in entertaining games and learning about the secrets to animal mating. http://calendar.sandiegozoo.org/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=2870

Luck out at Viejas Casino: If you’re looking for a casual night out with your significant other and hope to get lucky, Viejas Casino will be holding a special Bingo night to celebrate their “Luv at first drawing.” They will be giving out up $30,000 in drawings for the occasion. www.viejas.com

Truffles & Tarts & Wines – Oh my! : The San Pasqual Winery Tasting Room and Gallery are putting the sweet in sweetheart with their evening of chocolate indulgence. Savor the best of what Pacific Beach’s Sugar and Scribe bakery has to offer while blending it with select San Pasqual wines. Reservations for either the 10th or 14th are $30 at the door but only $25 in advance, don’t wait too long because you could miss it. Call to make reservations at (619) 462- 1797. http://www.sanpasqualwinery.com/news/truffles2011.html


Pedal Boats on Santee Lakes: Partake in a romantic pedalboat ride on the beautiful Santee Lakes. Cruise along the water as you and your loved one bask in the beautiful San Diego weather with little to no distractions. For only $11 an hour a couple could enjoy a leisurely ride together. http://www.santeelakes.com/boating.html


Get Hitched on Valentine’s Day: The Community Church in Poway will open its “historical chapel,” all day on Valentine’s Day to service those looking to tie the knot. They will service simple weddings for the groom, bride, and witnesses for $114. For those looking to renew their vows could do so in a group renewal at noon and 5:30 pm for $50 per couple. http://ccpucc.org




Fine dining at Fiore: The Fiore restaurant at Harrah’s Rincon Casino will be serving its special Valentine’s menu for a romantic night out with your significant other. This three- course meal is headlined by your choice of beef tenderloin and lobster tail or “loch duart” salmon and “peekytoe” crab. For reservations call (760) 751- 7780. http://www.harrahsrincon.com/casinos/harrahs-rincon-san-diego/restaurant...


Feast with the beasts at San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Indulge in a four-course meal complete with a reception and animal presentation at the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. Enjoy a bottle of the house wine as you dine in a romantic setting with your loved one for $99 per couple. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (760) 738-5055. http://www.sandiegozoo.org/park/plan_your_trip/dining


Valentine’s Day at Gio: Gio Bistro Wine Bar will be serving a special Valentine’s Day three-course dinner for two. Share the delectable meal prepared by Chef Manny Perez for only $49.99 per couple. With a choice of surf n’ turf, sautéed chicken picatta, and prime rib patrons will no doubt find what there heart desires. Take in dinner while also listening to live music provided by Paul Elia, playing The Rat Pack’s hits from 6-9 pm. http://giowineanddine.com/


Valentine’s Weekend at Jeremy’s On The Hill: If one day not enough to celebrate your love, then Jeremy’s On The Hill in Julian is your place. Celebrate Valentine’s Day from Monday to Friday with a variety of dinner options and live music to set the mood. A five-course, yes five-course, meal prepared by a Cordon Bleu trained chef is offered up on Friday along with wine pairings and live piano music for only $45. For those who are worried about the long trip, the Julian Meadow View Inn is offering free shuttle service and a 25% discount on rooms for the wine pairing dinner. http://www.jeremysonthehill.com/Special-Events/index.htm


The Barrel Room: Treat your taste buds to an eclectic mix of romantic and sensual wines at The Barrel Room in Rancho Bernardo. Winner of awards from Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and the San Diego Union-Tribune, The Barrel Room offers a prestigious selection of over 250 wines. Enjoy “The Wines of Love,” with your significant other on February 13 at 2 p.m. http://thebarrelroomsandiego.com/events/


Bernardo Winery: On February 12, enjoy a romantic night at the oldest continuously operating winery in Southern California. The “Vino Valentino” romantic couples night is a bit pricey at $200 a couple but those attending receive a lot in return. Dinner stations, custom dessert crepes, wine tasting, wine bar, chocolate and wine pairing tour, horse-drawn carriage rides, hand-blown glass gifts, and an espresso bar are offered to those attending. Discounts on accommodations and transportation are available as well. Call (858) 487-1866, for reservations. http://bernardowinery.com/category/events/