LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Valentine’s Day reaches Arkansas on Tuesday and it is not too late to work out how to make the day special.
Here are some tips on Arkansas places to go and Arkansas gifts for your sweetie.
ARKANSAS NIGHT OUT
Hitting the road to someplace romantic is always a good plan for Valentine’s Day. The good news is that Arkansas has many options, including some close at hand.
The Hot Sprang’s Hillbilly Hilton in, you guessed it, Hot Springs, is one option. Do not let the name fool you, as the rustic cabin is cozy, with a full kitchen, cable and Wi-Fi. Contact Fox Pass Cabins for rental info.
Or perhaps a hotel is more your style? The 1866 Cresent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs is a chance to stay in a historic hotel and even get a duet massage. Daily activity programming will provide many outlets.
Speaking of historic, but closer to central Arkansas is the Empress of Little Rock bed and breakfast. The former Victorian mansion is luxurious, antique, and very romantic.
And in Little Rock is the Capital Hotel, the “front porch of Little Rock.” And yes, luxurious, with a storied history and an attentive staff. This year a reservation for the Valentine’s Day prix fixe four-course dinner at its One Eleven at the Capital restaurant is a romantic option.
STATE PARK STAY
Short notice out-of-town trip? An Arkansas State Park lodge is always an option for a get-away-from-it-all weekend.
For some ideas, check with Arkansas State Parks Valentine’s Day suggestions, including hikes, dinners and get-away weekends.
But nothing says “Valentine’s Day” like the perfect thoughtful gift.
North Little Rock’s Bang-Up Betty made her mark with her in-house designed and made jewelry. A wide selection here, including a special Valentine’s Day selection.
Little Rock’s The Good Earth Garden Center has a broad selection, including Valentine’s-themed gifts. They are not just limited to plants, although flowers are a great gift, but lamps, planters, candle scents and more. They even have a Valentine’s Day selection.
Food gifts? The Savory Pantry in downtown Hot Springs has a broad range, including an Edible Arkansas gift box.
But of course, this is Valentine’s Day, and what better gift for romance than “sweets for the sweet?” It turns out Arkansas has several in-state candy makers.
Lambrecht Gourmet in Heber Springs takes its award-winning toffee and other offerings very seriously, including its Valentine’s Edition Southern Pecan.
Or for a bean-to-chocolate offering, KYYA Chocolate in Elm City, just outside Springdale in northwest Arkansas can fix you up with its in-house-made bonbons, chocolate, sauces or syrups. You can also find offerings at local retailers on its website.
North of Beaver Lake, almost to the state line in the Ozarks, is Marvin Greer’s Candies in Garfield. Lots of traditional candy fare here, including heart-shaped boxes of in-house made sweets to present to your love.
Another northwest Arkansas confectioner is Markham & Fitz Chocolate Makers in Bentonville. Started by two University of Arkansas grads in 2014, they offer a broad range of chocolate, including Valentine’s Day specials.
And finally, also in the northwest, is bean-to-bar chocolate maker Hello Cocoa in Fayetteville. Their artisan offering are available even by subscription and they have a virtual chocolate tasting.
VALENTINE’S DAY TRIVIA
Fun facts to impress your date:
“Valentine” was the name given to Christian martyrs in the church’s earliest days. The Feb. 14 holiday honors Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni, who were martyred in AD 269 and 273, respectively.
Valentine’s Day did not become a holiday linked with romance until Geoffery Chaucer’s 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules.” The poem included the line “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” (English was a different language in 1375.)
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. The top gifts are candy, followed by cards and then flowers.
The heart-shaped box of chocolates was created by Richard Cadbury, son of candy-company founder John Cadbury, in 1861. An estimated 36 million heart-shaped boxes of candy are sold each year, estimated at 58 million pounds of chocolate.
Spangler Candy, founded in 1906, is one of the largest producers of candy hearts with sayings on them. The decision of what to put on the little candy hearts renews every year to keep up with the times.