HomeLifestyleArtLocal guide to acing Valentine’s Day

Local guide to acing Valentine’s Day



Whether you’re the type to dress up and go out, try something new, theme a fun weekend of activities or spend a romantic night in, Valentine’s Day can be celebrated in many different ways.

Here’s some local must-knows to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit for Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Local Gift Ideas:

Whether you’re spending the day with your significant other or want to remind someone that they are loved, one can never go wrong with a unique and heartfelt gift.

In a perfect mix of laughter and romance, singing valentines are a barbershop chorus tradition that dates back decades. Keeping the practice alive, Garden City Chorus, a local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, will dress up in red and black to personally serenade passionate, musical messages with a tuxedo-clad quartet on Valentine’s Day. 

Their annual fundraising tradition packages include two romantic songs, a beautiful rose and a personal message delivered on a card. Proceeds support the chorus’ mission to preserve traditional harmony through performances and educational scholarships. Delivery is available in Metro Augusta, Evans and Aiken areas. Choose from four package options starting at $65, and use the code EARLYBIRD by Feb. 9 to receive a $15 discount.

For classic romantics interested in placing an order, visit: gardencitychorus.org or call (803) 599 – 4228.

“This unique and unforgettable experience will put a smile on your valentine’s face, and make this day one to remember,” said a press release from the chorus.

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Bebette Smith and her employees make fresh chocolate treats daily. Photo courtesy of La Bonbonniere.

If your loved one would prefer death by chocolate or is a dessert connoisseur, locally owned chocolatier La Bonbonniere has got you covered.

Handcrafted daily and authentically Belgian, La Bonbonniere prioritizes using “fresh ingredients,” “traditional Belgian recipes” and “Callebaut chocolate.”

Owner Bebette Smith was born and raised in Belgium and studied at world renowned chocolatier Jean Pierre Wybauw’s Chocolate Academy in Wieze, Belgium.

Founded in 2005, La Bonbonniere is featuring several specially themed treats for Valentine’s Day. Items available include: chocolate filled heart-shaped baskets, “I love you” chocolate bars, macarons, giant hot chocolate bombs, fresh chocolate mousse, Tiffany inspired chocolate boxes, pillow chocolate boxes, chocolate dipped wine bottles, cupid molded chocolate plates, chocolate flowers and several other options.

La Bonbonniere offers a variety of pure, Belgian chocolate treats. Photo by Liz Wright.
La Bonbonniere sells boxes made entirely of chocolate to hold smaller pieces of candy. Photo by Liz Wright.

Chocolates also come in a variety of flavors such as: Irish cream, peanut butter, tango, apricot, peach, orange peel, gingerbread, creme de mint, raspberry, hazelnut crisp, vanilla vodka, caramel crunch, rum raisin, strawberry, sea salt caramel, french truffle, cookies and cream, red velvet, Earl Grey, lemon zest, almond bark, bourbon, grand marnier, mocha, hazelnut marble, amaretto almond, creme brulee, cherry cordial, coconut, ganache, Gianduja and staff favorite blueberry cheesecake.

La Bonbonniere is filled with delicious sweets that will make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Photo by Liz Wright.

Prices start as low as $8.80 and can range as high as $88 for bigger items, like their two-pound boxes that hold up to 66 pieces of candy.

Whether your partner is a fan of milk, dark or fruity chocolate – the small cafe, located at Augusta’s 231 Furys Ferry Road has something for every confection lover.

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Haute Doughnuts offer a variety of plant-based treats for those with diet restrictions and allergies. Photo courtesy of Haute Doughnuts.

Got a better half with allergies, but still want to get them something sweet? Haute Doughnuts has your back with all natural, unbelievably delicious, plant-based doughnuts and other baked goods.

Handmade, custom order sweets are made fresh by vegan owners Jeremy and Cara Miller. After working under Michelin Star chefs, such as Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges and Guenter Seeger, Jeremy Miller decided to test his own skills and started a business with his wife. Restricted by their vegan diet, the couple realized plant-based options were limited in Augusta and began selling their treats following months of trial and error to perfect their recipes.

Haute Doughnuts’ pick-up locations change throughout the week, and offer different baked goods every month.

February baked goods include their Valentine’s Day Cinnamon Roll 4-pack, Queen of Hearts Strawberry Pop Tarts, Cherry Cobbler, Oreo Doughnuts, Apple Fritters, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Doughnuts and classic Vanilla Glazed Doughnuts. 

Delicious an decorative Valentine’s Day cinnamon buns are available this season from Haute Doughnuts. Photo courtesy of Haute Doughnuts.
Haute Doughnuts offers a variety of treats, such as their strawberry pop tarts. Photo courtesy of Haute Doughnuts.

With recipes changing every month, Haute Doughnuts give those with limited options the benefits of still enjoying something sweet and chocolatey on the special holiday. For more information or to order, visit: https://www.haute-doughnuts.com

Augusta’s Candle Company sells highly customizable items that can make a great Valentine’s Day gift. Photo courtesy of Augusta Candle Company.

If you are a couple restricted by a diet or looking for something a little more unique, Augusta Candle Company offers the perfect solution and gift idea.

After picking the perfect sized container, choose from over 100 different scents and mix together a unique concoction to give your significant other. Create a scent inspired by your memories and life together, and get transported back each time that wick is lit. 

With favorite aromas, such as magnolia, lavender, sandalwood and bergamot, blend something truly special and skip feeling guilty about a calorie intake. Crafting a candle can take up to 30 minutes and sets after an hour and a half; in the meantime, enjoy downtown Augusta or pick up your creation the next day.

With prices starting as low as $18 and located at 1124 Broad St., stun your sweetheart or make it a fun date night by creating it together before having a romantic dinner. For more information, visit: https://www.augustacandlecompany.com/?doing_wp_cron=1675900045.3387119770050048828125

Couples can bring their own lock of love to place at the Savannah Rapids as a symbol of love and commitment. Photo courtesy of Columbia County Visitors’ Center.

Another option for forgetting the flowers and sweets, is attending Columbia County’s Savannah Rapids Love Lock event on Saturday, Feb. 11. The Columbia County Visitors Center will be hosting this one-day event, and will have an on-site engraver from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Couples can bring their own lock and pre-pay online $10 to have it engraved on the spot. 

After having a lock engraved, participants can take a short stroll down to the Savannah Rapids Love Locks Sculpture, where partners can then attach their lock as a symbol of love and commitment to each other.

Inscriptions will not be prepared in advance. To pre-pay and book an engraving, visit: https://checkout.square.site/buy/QNX6GKGS7WM6NBGJD3P653UC

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Date Ideas for Couples:

Whether you’re a couple who likes to go out, throw a party, or spend it in the privacy of your home, there are fun options any couple can partake in.

Options for Staying Indoors:

Have you ever considered hiring a private chef for a special night? John Porter, former general manager of Bees Knees, has been hired a handful of times for couples, dinner parties and even a wedding.

Several years ago for Valentine’s Day, The Augusta Press’ own Editor-in-Chief Debbie van Tuyll hired Porter for his culinary skills. Van Tuyll and her husband enjoyed wine and kicked back their feet in the living room as Porter grocery shopped and cooked a gourmet meal for them in the kitchen.

“It’s sometimes nice just to be in the comfort of your own home and just have an elevated meal where you don’t really have to think or worry about it,” Porter said. “I think it’s a little more personal because it elevates your own living space to one that feels like a more luxury experience – at least for the night.”

Porter said oftentimes people can take their home and significant other for granted, but, by hosting a new experience together, they can see their home and each other with fresher eyes.

“It just kind of reminds you of the highlights of the mundane, everyday I feel like,” he said. “It’s a very personal experience.”

Formally trained by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Porter knows how to make a variety of items – including plant-based and gluten free options.

“Getting a private chef is pricier, but it is nice because you can customize things more,” he said. “You can tell [the chef], ‘Hey, you have the freedom,’ or you can say, ‘We’re really feeling this kind of cuisine’ or ‘this many courses.’ So it’s really customizable to what you want – I think that’s the important part.”

Porter said his favorite part of the job is working with his clients to figure out which foods they do or don’t favor. The process challenges his creativity by tailoring each meal to the individual person.

To book Porter, email him at johnmorrisporterii@gmail.com

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Similar to hiring a private chef, couples can also hire a cocktail showman to liven up the night and create new drinks.

Le Chat Noir’s go-to cocktail instructor Zachary McCabe enjoys bringing out others’ adventurous sides with unusual and classic recipes. 

Host a small gathering of friends or just indulge in a couple’s course, All Equal Parts owner McCabe specializes in building an open, and inviting atmosphere that allows others to be inspired by simple ingredients.

“Enjoying a good cocktail with someone you love is a great way to celebrate,” said McCabe. “It’s even better when you learn how to make it yourself, and can mix one up for every future date night.”

Learn how to make forgotten recipes and discover unexpected new favorites, McCabe is sure to mix things up with his expertise and bartender flair.

Those interested in attending a course can purchase tickets to McCabe’s upcoming New Orleans themed cocktail workshop at Le Chat Noir on Saturday, Feb. 25. To reserve a spot, visit: https://www.simpletix.com/e/new-orleans-style-cocktail-workshop-ticket-123552?mibextid=Zxz2cZ

To contact McCabe, email him at all.equal.parts@gmail.com

Options for Going Out:

Augusta’s Wedges and Woods Golf Center, located at 3731 Wrightsboro Road, is offering a Valentine’s Day Toptracer special for couples to enjoy a night out on the golfing range.

According to their website, Wedges and Woods is “Augusta’s number one full-service driving range” that makes “golfing accessible to all.”

For $25, until 8 p.m., couples get an hour of unlimited balls in toptracer tracking and 2 drinks of choice.

Toptracer is a virtual flight path visualizer for golfers that tracks one’s golf balls, and provides valuable data. 

With 20 grass and 10 matted stations, 300+ yard range and 7 power tees, Wedges and Woods offers a variety of activities and courses for those looking for a challenge.

For more information, visit: http://wedgesandwoodsaugusta.com

The “Can We Talk for a Minute” painting class by Bites and Brushes of Augusta will be creating pieces which show a conversing couple. Photo courtesy of Bites and Brushes of Augusta.

Bites and Brushes of Augusta will be hosting two paint and sip parties for couples in honor of Valentine’s Day.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, at 6:30 to 9 p.m. and Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. will be offering two how-to painting classes inspired by romantic themes.

The Bella Notte class, on Feb. 11, will be teaching how to paint duo canvases to depict an iconic scene from Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp,” while the studio’s Can We Talk for a Minute class, on Feb 14, will be creating two easy portraits illustrating a couple conversing.

Only available for those 18 and over, attendees are expected to bring their own snacks and alcohol to accompany the great music and atmosphere.

The studio is located at 4290 Belair Frontage Road, and tickets are $100 per couple. No experience is required.

Bites and Brushes of Augusta’s “Bella Notte” painting class will be recreating a famous dinner scene from Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.” Photo courtesy of Bites and Brushes of Augusta.

Tickets for the Bella Notte class can be purchased at https://www-1557h.bookeo.com/bookeo/b_bitesandbrushes_start.html?ctlsrc2=8wRcRLI8TXNBx9FQIVft7xtQghHMrhqa7GmBpIsmKss%3D&src=03o&devent=41557HFUEXK1855D24E6F9_2023-02-11_giboD8opjSfm

Tickets for the Can We Talk for a Minute class can be purchased at https://www-1557h.bookeo.com/bookeo/b_bitesandbrushes_start.html?ctlsrc2=nU9WOe0e19n6weooLS05C3pSsIxKZkipT1tgoh361do%3D&src=02b&devent=41557YK6JFJ1855CFE241E_2023-02-14_tjGs1O0yrcCK

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The Draft Society Taproom will also be hosting a paint class for couples on Feb. 14. Photo courtesy of Draft Society Taproom.

The Draft Society Taproom, located at 875 Broad St., will be hosting a paint and sip party on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 to 9 p.m.

Couples can paint their own masterpiece and enjoy a Valentine’s Day themed Charcuterie box while getting creative together. Attendees will receive 15% off wine and non-beer beverages, and experience with step-by-step instruction to complete a painting. 

“Enjoy the paint and sip experience in a fun, relaxed environment where you can relax and be you,” said taproom’s website. 

Couple tickets are $80 and participants must be over 18 to attend. Check in begins 10 minutes before class 

To reserve a spot, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/paint-and-sip-draft-society-taproom-tickets-509379797687?aff=ALLEVENTS

“It’s a sweet and personal memento perfect for Valentine’s Day,” said the website. “This is a great way to get together for a date night, for a night out with friends, to meet new people or just try something new.”

On Friday, Feb. 17, the Augusta Municipal Golf Course will be hosting two shows of “Love Jones: The Red Affair.”

According to the golf course’s website, “the ultimate Valentine’s date night experience featuring violinist JaVonne Jones and Saxophonist Darius Starks.”

In a concert filled with love and jazz music, participants can dress up for the red themed affair in their spunkiest red outfit.

All tickets have food and non-food options with general admission, table reservations and VIP packages available.

The Augusta Municipal is located at 2023 Highland Ave., and the concerts will be held at 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and at 9:30 to 11 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/love-jones-the-red-affair-tickets-514205922757?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Liz Wright is a staff writer covering education, lifestyle and general assignments for The Augusta Press. Reach her at liz@theaugustapress.com 

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