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Date night ideas make every day Valentine's Day

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Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 12:27 pm

Cupid's bowstring is drawn back, his arrow in place, and he's ready to fire.

So ready or not, Valentine's Day is coming.

If his love arrow hits you, you need to have a game plan.

This year it falls on a Monday which, as all of us probably know, means many will worry more about getting to work rather than conjuring up some romance for our sweetheart.

But think not of Feb. 14 as only the first of five long workdays, rather look at it as an opportunity to start a good five long workdays.

Plus there aren't too many better than by the ocean to celebrate a fondness for that special someone. In fact, certain businesses cater to lovebirds.

Get hitched

For those couples ready to tie Cupid's string into a knot, the premiere wedding venue is, where else, by the beach.

Myrtle Beach's own Wedding Chapel by the Sea, 933 Hwy. 501, and just a short trip north is Chapel by the Sea Baptist Church, 1051 Sea Mountain Highway.

Wedding Chapel by the Sea is on a quaint outdoor location among a cluster of oak trees on the beach sand. Wedding Chapel by the Sea also features two chapels and a large gazebo, or if a beach-wedding is more your style, they have coordinators on hand to help plan.

For those looking for a less-committal type of romantic evening, nearby Brookgreen Gardens, off U.S. 17 Bypass in Litchfield, is the ideal venue, according to the venue's director of marketing Helen Benso.

"The gardens are a popular place to go on Valentine's Day, because its quiet here during that time of year but still very beautiful," Benso said.

Brookgreen is once again hosting its Pavilion Valentine's Day weekend special on Feb. 12, 13 and 14. Inside its restaurant, guests can choose from several entrées including low-country crab cakes with roasted red pepper sauce or herbed chicken with white wine sauce.

Take a romantic stroll

Sometimes, however, simplicity is the most memorable. Try a walk on Myrtle Beach's boardwalk, which just opened last spring.

Myrtle Beach's 1.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk stretches from the Second Avenue Pier to the 14th Avenue Pier, but the section where Dirty Don's Oyster Bar and Grill and five other restaurants are located is known as the "high-intensity portion."

"When they okay'd the boardwalk, some people really questioned if it would work or not," Kelli Watson, Dirty Don's restaurant manager, said. "But when the doors opened, it was evident that [the boardwalk] was an awesome idea."

And you know what they say about shellfish: they're delicious with lemon. So stop by Dirty Don's for a dozen of their freshly steamed.

The boardwalk, on the other hand, is indeed awesome. Myrtle Beach's boardwalk and promenade has already received national awards. Travel and Leisure Magazine put it No. 8 on its Top 13 Beach Boardwalks list and the ribbon-cutting ceremony brought in television star Buddy Valastro of "The Cake Boss."

Dirty Don's new location fronts the boardwalk. The restaurant opened officially in the middle of June and already applications have been filed with the city for an outdoor seating area.

See a show

Romanticism was at its finest when knights rode horseback and damsels were in distress. Nowadays, men carry Blackberries, not swords, and the only thing women are in distress over is having a salon appointment canceled.

But one place brings the romance back.

Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament relives the times where a jousting match settled a dispute and a princess's hand was worth dying over.

The dinner and show is a package deal perfect for a couple. The two-hour tournament show features a four-course authentic medieval feast, numerous beverage choices and live-action sword fighting and horseback riding.

"Instead of dinner and a movie, treat your sweetheart to a royal experience," said Medieval Times' marketing director Jennifer Willard. "This is a two-hour live performance with a utensil-free feast served by wenches and serfs and set inside of an 11th century style castle."

For reservations visit Medievaltimes.com or call (888)-we-joust.

Grab a bite

It's a classic scene. One star-crossed lover looks across the table at his or her significant other while two candles burn atop the table in a quaint restaurant. The gaze is intimate and lasting, and the couple is lost in love.

Whether it's in celebration of an anniversary, birthday or Valentines Day, a nice, relaxing dinner is always a good bet. Hey, who can forget the scene in Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti noodle? Exactly.

So while you're hear along the Grand Strand (hopefully through Monday, Feb. 14), you might need to check out these restaurants to create a memorable romantic ambience:

Aspen Grille

Recently awarded the Best Fine Dining in Myrtle Beach by AOL Travel, the Aspen Grille is a true find for Valentines Day.

Any of the selections go well with a medium body red wine, and with an extensive wine list, you're sure to find something pleasing. Enjoy a perfectly cooked prime ribeye or the seared sea scallops while listening to live jazz and piano music.

Details: (843) 449-9191 or aspen-grille.com.

Valentino's II

Some lovebirds with children may want to warm up at a quaint Italian restaurant in Surfside Beach.

Valentino's, 531 U.S. 17 South, has a charming coziness about it that may lead some to believe they've just arrived at a relatives house for a big holiday meal.

It is no accident — the family-friendly atmosphere inside is just what they aim for.

Valentino's specializes in some authentic Italian dishes including veal scaloppini and pork osso bucco. Three famous parmigiana plates (veal, chicken, eggplant) are featured dinners and the seafood special, linguini with mussels and clams, is near delicacy.

Details: 843.839.4800 or cecilsitaliangrill.com.

Croissants

For a unique approach to romance, visit Croissants Bistro and Bakery, 3751 Grissom Parkway in Myrtle Beach.

Part morning diner, part lunch, part full-on dinner venue, the bistro has something for every time of the day. Not to mention, their desserts are top-notch.

One of the featured restaurants in the Coastal Uncorked food and wine festival, Croissants displays its range with homemade desserts and pastries like the chocolate raspberry torte, key lime pie or lush red velvet cake, all of which are perfect for sharing. 

Before the icing on the cake, try their Southern-style short ribs with creamy truffle grits, collard greens, tomato onion jam. 

Details: (843) 448-2253 or croissants.net.

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