With Valentine’s Day coming up, many of us are finding ourselves scratching our heads trying to plan something special for our valentine.
Should we go on a romantic getaway? Head to a nice dinner out? Or do something more low-key?
Luckily for Central Jersey residents, there’s a destination for all of that and more right in Hunterdon County’s Frenchtown, a small town with countryside charm, locally owned shops, romantic walking trails, historic hotels and fine dining eateries.
“Frenchtown provides visitors the opportunity to choose just what type of Valentine’s Day getaway they want,” said Marie D’Costa, co-owner of the National Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel built in 1833 in Frenchtown at 31 Race St.
“This little gem of a town offers an expansive range of culinary outlets, a gold-standard spa, athletic endeavors such as biking, hiking on 300-plus acres of preserved land at the outskirts of town, yoga and more,” said D’Costa. “Plus, there is the simplicity of strolling hand-in-hand with your loved one down beautiful streets lined with Victorian and period houses.”
If you want to make a weekend out of your Frenchtown visit, the National Hotel is offering two- and three-day packages starting at $345 that include a personal-sized bottle of champagne and a cheese and fruit platter. Spa packages, rooms with Jacuzzis, rooms with attached porches and, of course, dinner downstairs is also available for guests at the Hotel as well as for passer-by, in which about 150 to 200 people will partake.
For dinner on Feb. 14, some of the special items offered on the menu include French kiss oysters, a dulce Corazon salad with heart-shaped cucumbers and the “Deal-Sealer” after-dinner drink with Stolichnaya vanilla vodka and Godiva chocolate liqueur. To see the full menu, click here.
“Area residents and visitors alike have a love affair with the National Hotel’s history, inviting and comfortable atmosphere, superb dining choices, and richly appointed hotel guest suites,” said D’Costa. “Seven and a half years since taking ownership, Pete and I are proud to have created a special haven for romance, where even our menu on Valentine’s Day reflects the impact that all of the stories that have been generously shared with us by our patrons have had.”
The National Hotel is also currently hosting their fourth annual Valentine’s Day contest, where contestants can submit a 400-word maximum essay about the most meaningfully romantic moment of their relationship by Feb. 13 and why they think their story is relevant to Frenchtown or Hunterdon County for the chance to win an overnight stay, dinner or dessert and after-dinner drinks at the hotel. The winner will be announced on the National Hotel’s Facebook page at facebook.com/TheNationalHotelNJ and interested contestants can find more information about the contest by visiting thenationalhotelnj.com/events.aspx.
A stay at the Rittenhouse Inn, Frenchtown’s newest bed and breakfast at 7 Bridge St., is also an option, where guests can book a special Valentine’s Day package for $90 from Feb. 11 to 19 that includes a bottle of bubbles, chocolate covered strawberries, red roses and mimosas.
The Frenchtown Inn, a historic eatery at 7 Bridge St. that was built in 1805, also makes for a great local Valentine’s Day dining destination because of its inviting and colonial charm, cozy dining rooms and creative and delicious food.
The dining room menu will be served to about 120 people at the Inn on Valentine’s Day, an a la carte menu consisting of six appetizers and six entrees, including a seafood medley, a game plate of wild boar and venison, beef Wellington and more. To see the full menu, click here.
For a less formal night out, the Lovin’ Oven, a bright, arty eatery at 62 Trenton Ave., will be offering a five-course “aphrodisiac” menu for $72 a person that includes live music.
If you plan on keeping it low-key and just want to stroll through Frenchtown on Feb. 14 or you want something to do as you wait for the dinner hour to arrive, you can visit the shops, most of which are open until 5 or 6 p.m.
“With an unparalleled view of the Delaware and an array of shops, cafes, restaurants and even a quaint candy shop, Frenchtown is the perfect place for lovers to spend a romantic Valentine’s Day,” said Carolyn Gadbois, president of the Frenchtown Business and Professional Association.
Judy Serbinski will be offering massages at her massage parlor at 43A Bridge St. for a 10 percent discount on all individual massages on Feb. 14. If you’re looking for a couples massage, those are also offered at Euphoria Studio at 15 Trenton Ave.
If you want to visit Frenchtown during the weekend prior to Valentine’s Day, Designs for Tranquility, a contemporary fine art and fine craft gallery at 41 Bridge St., will be holding a sale on all items containing the color red. Paintings, sculptures, handbags, jewelry and more that have the color will be 10 percent off from Friday, Feb. 10 through Sunday, Feb. 12.
Plus, Early Bird Espresso & Mercantile, at 33 Bridge St., will turn into a pop-up flower shop on Monday, Feb. 13, and Tuesday, Feb. 14, as they will be selling roses, mixed bouquets and single stems from local florist Dahlia Designs.
“When people visit our town, they go back in time,” said Colleen Tomko, owner of the Frenchtown Inn. “They are transformed to a simpler time and reminded of the beauty New Jersey has to offer. Frenchtown is a wonderful destination for Valentine’s Day as you can unplug, unwind, relax and enjoy the romance with the one special person in your life.”