By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
If you are low on cash, it may seem like celebrating Valentine’s with your sweetheart is out of reach. But you do have many affordable options for enjoying time together.
❤ Go ice skating: What’s more romantic than gliding on the ice side by side? A skating date, followed by hot chocolate would warm anyone’s heart. Check out the rinks in Syracuse (http://syrgov.net/Parks/iceSkating.html $5 admission, $5 skate rental), Auburn (www.auburnny.gov/parks-recreation-department/pages/casey-park, $5 admission and rental, but not open on Valentine’s, so it works for early birds), and Oswego (www.oswego.edu/campus-life/open-recreational-ice-skating, $1 admission for students, $3 for the public, $3 skate rental).
❤ Share a dessert: Pick up a made-to-order, extra-special treat to split with your sweetie. In Oswego, order from A-Bientôt-Pastry-Shop (on Facebook) or Chelle’s Bake Shop (www.facebook.com/ChellesBakeShop). In Auburn, try Cameron’s Bakery (www.cameronsbakery.com) or XL Cookie Company (www.facebook.com/XLCOOKIECO). Keep in mind that these bakeries may not have dine-in options because of the pandemic, so order in advance.
❤ Go out to breakfast or to lunch: Typically, the earlier in the day you eat out, the lower the cost. If you select the right venue, there’s no reason it cannot spark romance. The “right” venue largely depends on your Valentine’s taste. Some people like a cozy little eatery; others prefer something with more exotic ambiance and fare. Sharing an appetizer or a dessert can be both romantic and money-saving, especially if you select a more expensive restaurant.
❤ Go to the movies: While tickets plus concessions can add up, if you attend a matinee, you can save more than $2 a ticket. Keep in mind that any premium seating or sound add-ons may mean a higher ticket cost. Ask about a military discount if you are serving or are a veteran. In Auburn, there’s Auburn Movieplex (https://rochestertheatermanagement.com, select “Auburn”). In Oswego, check out Zurich Cinemas (http://oswego.zurichcinemas.com). Syracuse has many cinema options, too.
❤ Go on a sleigh ride: Snuggle up together for a cozy, 20-minute horse-drawn ride through Highland Forest in Fabius (http://events.onondagacountyparks.com/view/128/horsedrawn-sleighrides, $8 each, weekends only, by reservation only). Bring along a warm blanket for two and something hot to drink. If there’s not enough snow, the park offers wagon rides.
❤ Go snowshoeing/hiking: Get into nature hand in hand on a sparkly winter’s day. Rice Creek Field Station provides five miles of trails right on SUNY Oswego’s campus (https://www.oswego.edu/rice-creek/). Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville (https://www.onondagacountyparks.com/parks/beaver-lake-nature-center) includes more than seven miles of trails and a gift shop and educational building. Bring along a Thermos of cocoa to warm up. Hour-long snowshoe rentals are $5. Admission is $5 per car; free for veterans and active-duty military members. Find Onondaga County Parks at www.onondagacountyparks.com/parks. In Cayuga County, visit Sterling Nature Preserve (https://www.cayugacounty.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/Sterling-Preserve-3) or Selkirk Shores State Park (https://parks.ny.gov/parks/84/bird-conservation-areas.aspx).
❤ Check your campus calendar and community events calendars: You might be able to find an event to enjoy together for little to no money. Look at CNY Winter Guide (www.cnywinter.com/events-calendar), SUNY Oswego (https://calendar.oswego.edu), Auburn (www.auburnny.gov/parks-recreation-department/pages/music-events-calendars) and Cayuga Community College (www.cayuga-cc.edu/students/events).