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February 21, 2018

Dear What’sUpNewp: “Any romantic suggestions for Valentine’s Day?”


Dear What’sUpNewp is where we’ll regularly feature an audience question and have all or some of our editorial team members provide their answer. Want to submit a question? Send an email to ryan@whatsupnewp.com.

We recently got the question while at an event – “Any romantic suggestions for Valentine’s Day?” Here are some Valentine’s Day and romance-inspired answers from some of What’sUpNewp’s editorial team.


Sarah McClutchy

At the very top of the list for Valentine’s Day restaurants should be Vanderbilt Grace. Their new executive chef Anthony Theocaropoulos is bringing the hotel’s dining experience to a whole new level. I was lucky enough to get a preview of their newly revamped menu at the chef’s tasting dinner recently, and it was extraordinary. Squid ink linguine with scallops and shrimp, halibut with littleneck clams and poached potatoes, and the Chef’s signature octopus with Meyer lemon gel are just a few of the amazing entrees you’ll find on the menu.

The fireplace and live piano music are the perfect backdrop for Valentine’s Day dinner, and artfully crafted cocktails by master mixologist Christina Mercado are just as exquisite as the food. Prior to dinner, you can experience Vanderbilt Grace’s Cozy Cocktail Den, open in their outdoor space any evening between 5pm-6pm. Christina mixes up warm cocktails while you and your Valentine curl up with a blanket by the cozy fireplace. Don’t miss this – get a reservation while you can. Info on making reservations here: https://www.gracehotels.com/…/dining…/restaurant-events/


Tyler Bernadyn

Valentine’s Day means three things here in Newport…

The first is that florists across the city will be swamped on that Wednesday morning.  Procrastination seems to be at its best on Valentine’s Day as evidenced by the long lines at flower shops.  I love watching all the startled looks when people find out that a dozen roses cost $60+ because of romantic inflation. Be proactive and get while the getting is good so you don’t end up with a bouquet with half the petals missing.  For our married readers, consider this alternative; One Valentine’s Day, a friend of mine decided that instead of flowers, he would plant a red maple tree with his wife in their front yard.  Over the years, that tree grew and symbolized their time together as a couple.  A bit corny for my taste but in a moment of lapsed judgment and forgotten flowers, it played well for him that year…

The second is that getting a reservation at your favorite restaurant will be exponentially more difficult than a typical Wednesday night in February.  If going out is a must, start booking now.  For alternatives, I recommend ‘kicking it up a notch’ at home with a recipe that’ll make your significant other swoon.  Find out his/her favorite meal and prepare it together or surprise your better half with a candlelight dinner.  Newport Wine Cellar & Gourmet on Memorial Boulevard is a great place to grab some provisions for your special night including artisanal cheeses, gourmet products and unique wines from across the globe.  Sometimes a nice home-cooked meal, a few bottles of vino and a movie in bed is just as, if not more satisfying, than dropping $250 at a restaurant.  So take a chance, roll the dice and embrace your inner Gordon Ramsey this year!

Finally, make it your own.  Although this holiday is often labeled as ‘a creation of the sentimental Victorian era and based on the flimsiest of traditions, rooted in an esoteric reference by Chaucer to the saint’s day of an obscure early martyr who had no known interest in love or romance and serves as an exploitation of commercialism, especially in the United States,’ it is important to take the time to show your partner you care.  Even if you don’t revel in this holiday or have the means to indulge in the chocolate, flowers or other props associated with Valentine’s Day, be sure to show your other half the affection and appreciation that they deserve for putting up with your bullshit.  At the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters…


Ryan Belmore

Home to awe-inspiring natural landscapes, cozy nooks and crannies, and the Most Romantic Hotel in the United States, the City-by-the-Sea makes an excellent Valentine’s Day destination. As February 14th fast approaches, Sarah and I have curated 14 romantic ideas to help you make Valentine’s Day plans in Newport.

I’m a big believer in experiences, I believe they are the best things to give as gifts and the best things when it comes to romance. Think about how romantic, fun, and epic it would be to take your significant other on a  Newport Helicopter Tour, Seal Watch, or for an overnight stay at Rose Island Lighthouse.

Too big or much for your or their liking? What’s something they have said that they also wanted to do (learn how to cook, see a show at PPAC, etc), where they always wanted to go (a specific restaurant, museum, etc), or something small that they’ve always wanted to be done (massage, car detailed, etc)? Make this the holiday where you show that you’ve actually been paying attention and listening and surprise that significant other with something big or small that they’ve been wanting to do, have done, or experience.

Finally, don’t forget the power of a handwritten note. Think of the last time you got one and what it made you feel like. The world needs more handwritten notes.

Have a thought on this? Comment below...

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