PORTLAND -- Valentine's Day is just around the corner and couples everywhere are clamoring to come up with the perfect romantic date ideas.
Here’s a bit of trivia, according to Wikipedia that you may not know: The holiday is named after two early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "Valentines."
Of course, the most common modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. And since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas. The association also estimates that, in the US, men spend on average twice as much money as women on Valentine’s Day cards.
Have a creative side? You can make your own Valentine bookmark, magnet or card during Family Day at the Washington County Museum on Feb. 13. The event was created for "kids of all ages" and packed with not only arts and crafts, but history activities, too.
If you’re looking to do more than just give your loved one a card, here are some local Valentine’s Day events you might want to check out:
Want to take a romantic bike ride with thousands of other cycling fans? The quirky annual tradition of the Worst Day of the Year Ride will hit the roads on Valentine's Day. The 18-mile ride moves through Portland and ends at the Lucky Lab with some cozy hot cocoa, doughnuts and other treats.
You can listen to the sweet harmony of the Oregon Symphony Kids Series and share your love of music with your children.
The Avalon Hotel & Spa believes the secret to everlasting love is an overnight spa treatment for two. The "Everlasting Love Package" includes one night's accomodations, a three-course dinner for two, a box of chocolates, wine and late checkout the next day. Plus, you can add a couple's massage treatment for $175 more.
If Monster trucks are your thing, the Monster Jam will be at the Rose Garden. The show will feature fan favorites Grave Digger, Donkey Kong, Blue Thunder, Iron Man, The Patriot, Tropical Thunder, Obsession and Captain USA.
A treat for your palette would be wine tasting in the Columbia River Gorge. Several area wineries will be having open houses during the holiday, with live music, chocolate and other treats.
Want to take it a step further? You can surprise your sweetheart with a custom designed wine label or gift pack from Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, Ore. Call the winery ahead of time at (503) 588-9463 to pre-order your customized gift and it will be ready for pick-up when you arrive for the wine tasting. The $5 admission includes a Riedel wine glass, wine, chocolates and live music.
And if the best way to your heart is through your stomach, you might want to make reservations for a four-course feast at Le Pigeon at 738 East Burnside Street.
Prefer fondue and champagne for two? Indulge in romance with a four-course dinner at Urban Fondue. This includes emuse, cheese fondue, an entree and dessert fondue.
Or another option for your tummy is the dinner for two at East India Co. Grill & Bar for a price of $60 per couple, or with a wine pairing option for $80 for two. For reservations please call 503-227-8815.
Happy hour is getting a love boost at Italian favorites Accanto and Genoa on Valentine's Day. The happy hour menu will be available all day, which includes wine, infused cocktails, beer and delicious culinary treats.
But if you would rather stay in than go out, you can get a romantic dinner to go from Elephants Deli. The popular deli is offering a special Valentine's Day menu with dinners and desserts "for the perfect romantic dinner," which includes optional wine pairings.
Of course rich desserts can pack on the pounds and flowers don't last forever, so a local fitness facility is recommending giving the gift of health, instead. NW Personal Training is offering couples workouts, including "bootcamp," sassy dance, yoga and partner training as its special Valentine's deals.
Want to plan a romantic getaway? Check out TripAdvisor's list of Top 10 Sexiest Hotels in U.S. and choose a destination. If you don't want to travel far, Portland's Hotel Lucia made the list, and so did a Seattle's Hotel Max.
You could warm your heart instead of your stomach by giving a gift that helps others. A Loaves & Fishes Valentine-A-Gram provides tasty treats for your sweetheart while raising money for the program that provides meals for seniors.
Not dating anyone at the moment? Here's a creative idea for singles on Valentine's Day; sign up for singles CPR. You'll only be giving mouth-to-mouth to dummies, but you might meet an intriguing classmate to celebrate future holidays with.