Ah, Valentine's Day: The holiday nobody asked for, invented by poet Geoffrey Chaucer in honor of a priest who was beheaded in Rome, not some chubby flying child brandishing a deadly weapon. Not only is St. Valentine known to carry the afterlife duty of watching over loved ones, he is also tasked with beekeeping. Which seems cool until you get stung and swelling ensues, but mainly because bees can't cheat. Yay for honey!
Face it, we cannot hide from the heartfelt swoons this Hallmark holiday has bestowed upon us. Since not everyone in Dallas is materialistic and spoiled, there are options that focus on quality time without the lofty price tag. Here's our list of five dates for the cheapskates; if a surprise shows up in nine months, blame me.
Dallas Farmers Market: With the newly redesigned Shed 2, this is an ideal place for the love-piglets whose daily conversation revolves around what's for dinner. For this couple, there's nothing more exciting than creepily gazing into each other's eyes while shooting a dozen Gulf oysters ($14) at Rex's or splitting a half-dozen tamales ($7) at La Popular Tamale House. The fun doesn't stop there — browse other food vendors like Stocks and Bondy and Scardello Artisan Cheese, or pick fresh produce from the actual farmers.
Dallas Arboretum: Although we can't predict the weather, this winter hasn't been overly harsh and the Arboretum is great for granola-munching green thumbs who appreciate Mother Nature. For $5 a person until February 26, plaid-shirted couples should take advantage of the winter blooms and the sheer splendor offered along the one-mile trail of gardens and pools. Bundle accordingly (leave the Birkenstocks at home) and fill a thermos of mint RumChata to share along the way.
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Deep Ellum Mimosa Walk: On February 13 (which sounds eerily like Friday the 13th) there will be alcohol and shopping from noon to 3 p.m. The crew who brought us the Deep Ellum Wine Walk is doing something special for Valentine's: For $10 you get a commemorative glass to fill with brunchtastic mimosas, which will enable you to stumble hand in hand with your loved one to the various shops Deep Ellum has to offer. Expect in-store events and special promotions. While you're there, hit up All Good Cafe or Anvil Pub for your favorite morning foods.
Bishop Arts District: There's nothing more romantic than getting away from the city to another city within the city you're trying to get away from. It's like Oak Cliff is singing, "Hellooo, from the other sideee" or something. Maybe not. Either way, this area is chock full of local clothing stores, antique and craft shops, art galleries and eateries. Belly up to the bar at Whitehall Exchange for a cocktail and sexy good music or get your Italian fix at Eno's Pizza Tavern. It ain't love if you're not licking Pig Smiley pizza grease from your lover's mouth. You'll hardly feel like you're in Dallas at all.
Grapevine Sweetheart Wine Trail: Listen up, men: Women love wine. Why not whiskey? Because it's not always about us, that's why. If you're willing to spend some cash, the Wine Trail is for you. On Feb. 13 and 14 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and for $50 a ticket), you'll get a commemorative wine glass, three wine tastings at eight participating wineries and food samplings. Sometimes it's okay to not be a cheapskate. This event sells out every year, along with the condoms at the nearest CVS.
Bonus: For the couple who bought his and hers matching yoga pants at Lululemon, Community Brewery is hosting a morning Valentine's yoga session. For $15 you get a pint and a private tour following your sweat sesh. Doors open at 10 a.m. with the yoga kicking off at 10:30 a.m. Namaste — get weird.