Valentine’s Day is a holiday that kind of demands taking a stand. You either are for it, or against it. Going big or staying home. So even though for lots of us, totally skipping the event is a nonstarter, there are great reasons to extend it, romantic double dipping if you like. On the other hand, if you completely are looking to blow it off entirely, there are lots of good reasons to skip Valentine’s Day altogether and treat yourself to a weekend at the beach.
Revisiting Valentine’s Day
It is popular (and this week pretty common) to do a little Valentine’s Day bashing, but it also is a little too easy. Yes, it is a greeting card holiday. Yes, many people think it espouses unrealistic attitudes about love, romance and gender roles. Yes, it leaves those who don’t have a significant other out. For my part, I like celebrating it. I feel as if it is an excuse to keep cabin fever at bay, and I take the holiday as a suggestion, not a fiat. That is, I think it’s a good idea to do something, but I don’t have to do what I’m told.
For the last few years, my wife and I have moved Valentines day to a convenient weekend that isn’t also Valentines Day weekend. There is chocolate, a little something sparkly and a night out. I bump all these things forward or backward, though, because we can get better service, better tables and better room rates by bending the rules just a little bit. Here are my four favorite reasons to postpone Valentine’s Day one week this year. I’ll be celebrating on the 23rd*** and doing many of these things (I’m not surfing, though). Here’s why you should join me in Ocean City on Saturday, February 23rd!
A can’t miss Shore Craft Beer Festival is the 23rd
We have partnered with Seacrets and Shore Craft Beer to put on “Love on Tap,” a winter craft beer festival that showcases award-winning craft brews as well as specially made beers for FeBREWary. When we were putting it together, we wanted an incredible opportunity to taste over 20 Local Craft Beers, talk to thirteen local brewers, listen to live music, and still have the Saturday evening open to enjoy all the other fun things Ocean City offers. Whether you are into Valentines Day or not, there’s fabulous craft beer for you. If you are not into Valentines Day, then you might like the Bitter Breakup IPA by Fin City. If you are coming with your favorite date, you might like the Cherry Kahuna Stout by 3rd Wave. Remember, there are over 30 additional craft beer options for you to sample. If you’re driving in, you can spend the afternoon enjoying great LOCAL craft beers at the region’s premier bar and music venue and grab a little dinner.
Even better though, and even for locals, some fabulous hotels are offering packages that include two nights and dinner in addition to your Love on Tap tickets, which means that for a little more than your entrance fee, you can make a weekend out of it. What does one do on a weekend in Ocean City? Pretty much whatever one wants to do. For help, please check out OceanCity.com’s event listings for that weekend.
Plenty of places are open
From Skee Ball and arcade games to shopping and nightlife, there still is plenty going on in Ocean City each weekend. Plus, staying the weekend is a great opportunity to use the beach as a staging area to explore the rest of the county. Whether you’re into antiquing (it really still is a favorite of mine) or going on photography excursions.
Just over the Route 90 bridge, Berlin is having a restaurant renaissance and places like Si Culi and The Maryland Wine Bar are making the trip worthwhile. Even without crossing the bridge, there’s plenty going on in Fenwick and points north.
Having the beach to yourself
The first big winter storm of the year washed up and uncovered shells and all sorts of other treasures for beachcombers and shell and sea glass enthusiasts alike. The Inlet has been picked clean, but the north beach is still fecund with findings. Plus, it very well could be a banner weekend. We have caught innumerable breaks this season as Old Man Winter has taken his foot off the gas nearly every weekend. There’s a lot to be said in favor of chilly walks on the beach when the sun is shining.
Also, as you may have seen this week, the surf is up. Winter surfing is increasingly popular because the off-season waves are pretty good. Even if getting into 50-degree water isn’t your bag, watching the more enthusiastic surfers carve it up in the winter surf is always a pleasure.
Love has no Time Limit
I used to buy my daughters used jewelry, but then the hipsters discovered it and I had to start buying “vintage” jewelry instead. I’ve been a professional writer for more than a decade and, as a result, live for financial workarounds. The jewelry was my first big win because it changed my attitude about gifts generally. Spending my gift budget on brand new baubles and bangles mostly could get me tacky production pieces. By haunting the junk shops (even after they became “Antique shops”) I always could score something much nicer, even unique.
Getting out to the beach in the off-season is the same. The Ocean City Outsider recently wrote a nice story about the whys and wheres of letting Valentine’s Day come and go and celebrating the week after. The gist is, for grownups it often makes sense to get something a little nicer by waiting a little longer.
***This article was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2019 for dates and such –ed.