Being a gold medal gift giver may not require Olympic caliber training, but it does require thought, dedication and a bit of coin.
If you haven't been planning a Valentines Day celebration since summer, complete with flower petal-covered bed and a live Val-o-Gram rendition of "All you Need is Love," the Source is here to help, offering some local suggestions for gifts in the gold, silver and bronze variety that will keep you out of the holiday aisle at Walgreens buying chalk boxed chocolates or a Teddy Bear that sings Bruno Mars' "Amazing" (but seriously, if that teddy bear exists, could you tell us where? We want one).
There are two types of gifts: Material and experiential. What we mean is, you can take your partner out to an excellent dinner, whisk them off for a weekend away, or plan an outdoor adventure that they'll never forget, OR you can buy them a big fat shiny rock. Gold medal gifts should have elements of both experiences—spending time together and creating lasting memories—and material objects (particularly of the sentimental tenor).
A staycation satisfies both camps. A short drive to Powell Butte provides a romantic get-away at Brasada Ranch, with hot stone massages, and access to a private hot tub overlooking the Cascades (brasadaranch.com, ranch suites are $199). They also offer a special port and chocolate tasting ($15/person) and a tantalizing specialty dinner prepared by Adrian Carpenter on Valentine's Day proper ($65/person).
Sunriver Resort offers the Love and Chocolate getaway, one including not only a night's stay at the gorgeous, snow-covered resort, but everyone's favorite Valentine's Day treat: Chocolate! The package includes a chocolate-themed dinner at the Meadows Restaurant and other sugary treats (sunriver-resort.com, nightly rates start at $219).
For gifts with lasting power—and to put you on top of the podium, we suggest hand crafted jewelry from local designers Nashelle (nashelle.com, we suggest the identity necklaces with hand-stamped inspirational words, $90); John Paul Designs (johnpauldesigns.com, who offer the Damascus Collection of men's rings, women's bracelets, earrings and more); and Douglas Fine Jewelers (douglasjewelry.com, the Oregon Sunstone collection is gorgeous $195-$465), offers up one-of-a-kind designs that are crafted and polished right here in Central Oregon.
Are you not quite wanting to say "I love you forever," but are more in a wait-and-see status, or if you'd rather save your money for lift tickets, yet still want to give a pretty excellent gift to show your love—or, at least strong like—Spa W offers massage, body treatments, facials and manicures and pedicures. Or, how about a yoga class together? Or, if you're optimistic about keeping this relationship, why not a whole month of them? (Couples yoga passes are $75/person at Groove Yoga; grooveyogabend.com).
Spa treatment isn't just for the ladies. Sagesprings Spa at Sunriver Resort offers a Men's Mountain Escape (150 minutes, $280) including a deep tissue massage and an extremely manly facial and pedicure.
For dinner, downtown is filled with special options, including Zydeco, 900 Wall and Jackalope Grill. With a menu of land, sea and garden entrées, Chow will serve a specialty Valentine's menu (by reservation only (chowbend.com).
Following dinner, take advantage of the romantic ambiance of the flickeringly lit Tower Theatre, where High Desert Chamber Music featuring the Catgut Trio will perform. OK, we know "Catgut" doesn't sound super romantic, but we guarantee that the evening will be delightful with plenty of strings and songs inspired by love and romance ($42, tickets at towertheatre.org).
If your partner is a lover of the outdoors, Wanderlust Tours will carve you a snowy-wonderland amphitheater to enjoy and build your own personal bonfire in the woods. The snowshoe tour is a unique Valentine's Day memory to create (wanderlusttours.com, $85).
It's true; you don't have to spend a week's salary to say, "I love you." Or even, "I know we just started dating but I really like you because you're smart and look great in jeans." Here are a few sub-$50 gift ideas that are thoughtful, appropriate and imminently affordable.
If you enjoy winter sports with your lover (or hope to soon), encourage such healthful outings with a properly tuned set of Nordic skis ($15 basic wax service at Webcyclery, webcyclery.com). Web's wax guru Bert Hinkley will clean your skis, check the weather and put on the appropriate wax for a near effortless day of kicking and gliding on Central Oregon's community ski trails. Not into frostbite (or hot wax jobs)? Make 2014 the year that you both start bike commuting in earnest. Buy your babe a non-dorky looking cycling helmet at Sunnyside Sports (sunnysidesports.com), where you'll find a range of models and brands in both muted and day-glow colors.
For a more romantic, experiential gift, take your partner ice skating at Seventh Mountain Resort (seventhmountain.com, $8 admission, $6 skate rental). After twirling through the crisp winter air, stop in a local café and warm up with a hot chocolate (we suggest our favorites, all of which are open until at least 5pm: Palate, Lone Pine, Backporch, Strictly Organic, Crow's Feet Commons).
Similarly, dinner and a movie is (still) a safe bet for a Valentine's date. For under $50 you and yours can eat fabulously at area eateries that prioritize quality ingredients and exceptional flavors (try Barrio, Spork, Jackson's Corner and Kebaba). Before or after, take in one of the well-curated films screening at Tin Pan Theatre ($6, showtimes at tinpantheater.com) or a second run favorite at McMenamins ($4, showtimes at mcmenamins.com).