Great dates, chance encounters and memorable gifts
By Melissa Peterson

My husband and I have gone on a date every Monday night since our very first date in 2015. As I write this, we have been on 213 Monday Night Date Nights, which typically involve dinner and a nightcap. We’ve let nothing stop our tradition—not holidays, traveling or business. 

Here are some ideas for you to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your special someone, as well as with friends.

Let’s hear it for the gals
Celebrate the important women in your life by getting together for Galentine’s Day. Board and Brush will be offering several options. Each person chooses a design from a gallery of over 300 options. The class includes a free mini trio. 

Embracing Adventure
If you’re looking for something different to do, try an adventure. Ski at Welch Village, go indoor rock climbing at Roca (they’re offering a buy one, get one free deal on Valentine’s Day!) or join the annual Valentine’s Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe event at Quarry Hill Nature Center. Each place has equipment available to rent or use. Follow your adventure(s) with a couple’s massage at Serenity Couture in Apache Mall. After you’ve relaxed, indulge in a Valentine’s Day dinner created by Chef Vincenzo at Figue.

Romancing at home
Pick up the book “Making Love Potions” by Stephanie L. Tourles at People’s Food Co-op. Grab the ingredients to make sweet treats, massage oils and more for your special someone. Make some of the “potions” ahead of time or have some fun DIY time with your sweetheart.

Cook up some Thousand Hills 100% Grass-fed Beef Sweetheart Steaks from People’s Food Co-op. Then, play After Dinner Amusements Love Trivia ($8.95, Tangerine), featuring 50 questions about love and romance.

Stumped about what to get the Valentines on your list? Shop small and let the shop owner or staff be your personal assistants. “They have ideas you might not bump into,” said Paul Bennett, owner of Dwell Local. “That’s what small businesses do.”

Dwell Local: 602 7th St NW, Rochester, and on Main Street in Zumbrota
Glass enamel keepsakes made by Amy Johnson Enamels (starting at $35). Bring a photograph into the store or email it. Johnson will then create a glass enamel reproduction of it to put on a keychain or necklace or mount onto distressed wood.
Camp Craft Cocktails ($24) are perfect for him, her or a Valentine’s Day night in, with non-GMO, vegan ingredients for infusing spirits like Bloody Mary, Cranberry Martini or Sangria.   

Ashley’s Hallmark: 2950 41st St NW
Share a special message with your Valentine along with a bracelet from The Ronaldo Collection. The “Dance with Me” bracelet’s message includes, “It takes a partner to enjoy the dance.” 

Chocolaterie Stam: 111 S Broadway #208, in the Shops at University Square
Chocolaterie Stam’s most popular Valentine sweet, chocolate covered strawberries
come in milk, dark and white chocolate and start at $2.95, 6 for $14.95, 12 for $29.95. 

Tangerine Gifts: 110 1st Ave SW
Celebrate love with the children in your life by surprising them with pop-open I Love You Cards ($7.99). Slip one into their backpack on Valentine’s Day or surprise them when they need a little encouragement. Cards have a hidden message and space to write a personal one as well.  


Samm Adams
The Samm half of Dunken and Samm in the Morning on 106.9 KROC, your midday gal on Quick Country 96.5 and part of The Q Realty Group

Samm went into the Rochester Mazda dealership to deliver a title while rocking her “nobody sees me, I’m on the radio” attire—a hoodie and jeans, no makeup and hair in a pony—when the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on appeared, wearing a full grey suit.

A few days later, Samm locked herself out of her car. She called the dealership looking for help from anyone but the handsome man, but he was the only one available. “He found it adorable and used it as a way to score my phone number,” she says.

Three months into dating, the two went to Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, where they thought about tying the knot. “We both chickened out,” said Samm.

“To make up for it, we got married twice,” surprising their closest friends by having an officiant marry them at Victoria’s Ristorante & Wine Bar and then again “in the warm sun, toes in the sand, with the most beautiful backdrop—the Tybee Island Lighthouse.”

Sheryl Ness
Author of “Love in a Tuscan Kitchen: Savoring Life Through the Romance, Recipes, and Traditions of Italy”

Sheryl was at Vincenzo’s restaurant in Chianti, Italy and asked him for his hot chocolate cake recipe—she immediately felt a spark. “In my mind, it seemed impossible. My heart was telling me something else.”

Even after returning to Minnesota, Sheryl didn’t forget that spark. “Over the next year, I prepared both my mind and my heart to take a chance on getting to know him better.” She continued studying Italian so the two could communicate better.

Sheryl left her career and family behind to be with Vincenzo. “Living together in a tiny village in Tuscany was incredible,” says Sheryl. “The people of the village and Vincenzo’s family accepted me and embraced me. It was truly a gift that I never expected to have in life.”

After six years in Italy, they moved to Minnesota to be closer to Sheryl’s family and for new opportunities for Vincenzo. “Our dream was to have a little business together, teaching others about the foods and traditions of Italy.”

For all the details on Sheryl and Vincenzo’s love story, as well as some amazing recipes, pick up signed copies of her book at Dwell Local and Figue.