A friend of mine was dating this angel for about a year. She was such an angel she told him Valentine's Day was a Hallmark holiday and that she didn't want anything.
He made the worst mistake any man could have made. For the first time in their relationship, he followed her advice.
Needless to say, he's a bachelor now.
Here's what we can all learn from his mistake. V-Day can be D-Day for relationships. It doesn't take much, but guys - show your ladies you love them.
So here's our gift to you. We've got tips for pre-planning that will save you from disaster, regardless of your budget. And remember - it's the thought that counts.
On The Cheap
Art events: These will cost you $20 or less per person. Some events are free. Click here for a complete listing.
- A Tasty Treat - The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme will have a Sweet Art event on Friday, Feb. 9. $15 for members, $20 for non-members, gets you reservations. You'll taste some local coffee and pastry surprises. Then, the two of you can roll up your sleeves and make your own ganaches, tarts and truffles.
- Love Stories - The Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London is offering romantic tours of the galleries from Feb. 13-17. $10 per person covers admission, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.
- Love Me Tender - On Valentine's Day, head to the New Britain Museum of American Art for some romance in their new Art Studio. It's $9, and that includes light hors d'oeuvres and wine and "Classic American Love Songs" performed by a live jazz band. You can also make a valentine for your loved one!
- Shrine Benefit - The Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine and Retreat House is hosting a Valentine's Day Dance on Saturday, Feb. 14. It's $25 per couple or $13 for singles, and that includes hors d'oeuvres and soda. You're welcome to BYOB. All of the proceeds benefit the shrine.
- A Sweet Surprise - At 2 p.m. on Valentine's Day, you can learn how to make truffles from scratch. The class is being taught at the Stanley-Whitman House in Farmington. It's adults-only and you'll have to make reservations. It's $20 for members, $25 for non-members.
- Love Songs - On Saturday, Feb. 7, the New Britain Symphony Orchestra will perform "An Enchanted Evening" Valentine Pop's Concert. It's $35 for two people, a little less for seniors, students and kids. The program will have love duets from Broadway musicals and romantic orchestral selections.
- Hit the Wine Trail - There are 19 different vineyards in Connecticut, all offer many different types of wine. Many of the vineyards, such as Chamard Vineyard in Madison, offer a place to sit by the fire and sip wine. It's typically less than $10 a person for tastings, which typically includes a souvenir glass from the vineyard. Click here for a complete list of vineyards along the Connecticut Wine Trail.
The Big Splurge
- Dinner and romance - We found quite the Valentine's Day package at the Waters Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook. You'll get deluxe accommodations with champagne upon arrival, a fully-loaded candlelight dinner for two, entertainment, dancing and a breakfast buffet. It's $299 per couple for Friday, Feb. 13 or Sunday, Feb. 15. Valentine's Day itself is $50 more.
- Staying inn - The Heritage Inn of New Milford has a special package in February. $219 per couple will get you a cozy king suite, a welcome basket, champagne, Bridgewater Chocolates and a $50 gift certificate for dinner. The inn also offers cooking school on the weekends where you can learn how to prepare for a dinner party.
- The ultimate chocolate experience - The Spa at Norwich Inn has some great treatments for chocolate lovers. They have a chocolate body polish, a peppermint mocha manicure and pedicure, a chocolate chip aromatherapy body wrap and a chocolate facial. You'll want to eat your loved one up for this gift - but they'll probably want to eat you up as well. They've also got a Winter Wow package for $160, including all fees, you'll want to check out. It includes full use of the spa, a 50-minute service, a fitness class, lunch and a lotion.
- Custom puzzles - If your loved one is the piece that completes your puzzle, you might want to get him or her one. MGC's in East Haddam makes custom puzzles. You send them your picture - or proposal message! - and they'll hand carve it in wood. Prices run between $149 and $300.
- One magical evening - The Dutch Iris Inn in Granby has quite the additions. Beautiful Victorian rooms are between $109 and $149. But what caught us is what you can add onto it. For another $144, you can add an intimate dinner for two, a fresh floral arrangement, chilled champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, romantic music and candlelight. Then you can go to the Loonmeadow Farm right down the road and book a horse-drawn sleigh ride for two. It's $120 and they'll make sure you're warmed up with hot apple cider at the barn.
The Millionaires Club
- Pretty Woman - I couldn't resist. There's a Web site that touts itself as the Millionaire's Concierge. They're not kidding. Here's the ultimate dream package.
It's called the Pretty Woman Manhattan Getaway. In the movie, Richard Gere escorts Julia Roberts onto his private jet for a romantic evening of fine dining and theater in NYC. A limo will pick you up at home and whisk you away to a private jet. You'll have cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while you fly to NYC. Then a limo will take you to a romantic restaurant. From there, you'll have the best seats in the house at a Broadway show. A limo will bring you back to your private jet, where you'll be served chilled Cristal Champagne and strawberries on the way home.
The president and CEO of the company tells me he'll give you a deal on the package - only $25,000. :)