Valentine’s Day in the City of (Brotherly) Love

Fun FridaysThanks to Dan Patterson for this Valentine’s Day guest post — and to CityPASS for providing two free CityPASSes for our blog giveaway! We seem to have had some technical difficulties … the entries are not posting to Rafflecopter properly. If you entered the raffle, please message me privately at Heidi(dot)hess(dot)saxton(at)gmail(dot)com. Final winner will be announced next week. Sorry for the delay — and thanks!)

It’s that time of year when couples set out to make others uncomfortable with their excessive PDA and when singles set out to break records for chocolate eaten, wine consumed and slasher movies watched. That’s right! Valentine’s Day is almost here. Can you smell love in the air? If you can’t, you should make your way to the City of Brotherly Love this Valentine’s Day — where romance lies around every Philadelphia street corner.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner for your first date or you’re planning to pop the question to your longtime sweetheart, check out our suggestions for top Philly restaurants that will guarantee a perfect night for you and your special someone.

Dinner Destinations for Two

waterworksThe Water Works Restaurant and Lounge is located behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, overlooking the river. It has been called the “Best Romantic Restaurant” and is considered one of the “Top 100 Experiences in the World” according to Saveur Magazine. Enough said, right?

Picture this! As you dine with the person you love this Valentine’s Day at the Four Seasons’ Fountain Restaurant, you can gaze out the window at Logan Circle’s Swann Memorial Fountain for a perfect view. Not only do you get the ambiance of fine dining and a glimpse at one of Philly’s most breathtaking attractions, but the food has earned the restaurant Zagat’s number one spot in Center City Philadelphia. Your stomach and your Valentine will thank you for this experience.

Or, head down to Penn’s Landing for one of Philadelphia’s most intimate and delicious restaurants, Fork. The restaurant is located near Market & 3rd and is only distinguishable by the Fork design on the front door. It’s not easy to find, but it’s also not easy to forget; the food and drinks are to die for.

Another great place for Valentine’s dinner is none other than Chef Jose Garces’ restaurant, Garces Trading Company. This award-winning restaurant focuses on creating some of the best dishes in Philly inspired by cuisines from Italy, Spain and France. Take a look at their menu! It’s sure to make your mouth water and satisfy your date this February 14th.

R2LThe best view of the city can be found on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place at R2L. Make sure to call in advance for reservations – well in advance if you want a window table. Check out their Valentine’s Day 3-course dinner.

Are you and your Valentine’s Day date seafood people? If so, the Oyster House is the place for you! This restaurant offers the most extensive selection of half-shell oysters in all of Philadelphia. The atmosphere is also something to be admired, with its white brick walls and central marble raw bar. The Oyster House is definitely a one-of-a-kind place to spend this Valentine’s Day.

You can never go wrong with Rittenhouse Square! Rouge is perfectly situated for you and your date to have a picturesque view of the romantic park. The restaurant’s atmosphere is sophisticated and elegant, and the food will delight even the pickiest of palates. You can’t go wrong with this restaurant choice, either.

You can catch another breathtaking view of Philadelphia from 19th floor of the Hyatt at the Bellevue, at Nineteen (XIX). This restaurant has been described as “opulent” and “palace-like” by many. The dining room is decorated with strings of white pearls strung from the dome ceiling, making for a very romantic dinner. Dine with your Valentine in this scenic restaurant for a night to remember.

Perfect Places for Popping the Question

If you decided to take my earlier advice and chose dinner at R2L, you need not go any further. The glorious view of the city is amazingly romantic. Just make sure to get a table near the window for a perfect Valentine’s proposal!

If you’re hoping memorably to pop the question over dinner, another previous suggestion, the Water Works Restaurant and Lounge, has excellent views of the sunset as well as a Gazebo that overlooks the mini waterfall.  Request Table 42 and I assure you, your Valentine will be pleased.

If you would like to venture elsewhere after dinner at the Water Works, the Philadelphia Art Museum Steps are situated directly behind the restaurant. Dare your loved one to beat you to the top and drop to one knee once you arrive. This offers you the element of surprise as well as a gorgeous city backdrop to your proposal.

Magic GardensDo you believe in magic? You will after proposing at the Magic Gardens in Chestnut Hill. This is a maze made out of recycled glass and ceramic that is one of the most striking art exhibits in all of Philadelphia. They’re also offering Valentine’s tours that you’re bound to enjoy this February.

The Whispering Wall are stone benches located at the base of Smith Memorial Arch to honor Pennsylvania’s Civil War military and Navy. Have your soon-to-be fiancé at one end of the wall while you sit on the other side. The benches are designed so that even the lightest of whispers can be heard when speaking into the wall. Just ask the question softly into the wall and wait for the excited reaction.

There are many statues and landmarks that come to mind when thinking about Philly. LOVE Park and the LOVE statue is definitely on the top of that list. Taking your date here after a romantic dinner not only makes for a romantic proposal, but a great photo opp as well!

Another iconic Philadelphia landmark is none other than Boathouse Row on MLK Drive. Take your Valentine on a nighttime stroll of MLK Drive across from Boathouse Row and the Fairmount Dam on the Schuylkill River for a great photo op and a question that will be answered with a “yes!”

The Blue Cross Riverrink at Penn’s Landing offers you a fun wintery activity and a beautiful view of the Delaware River and Benjamin Franklin Bridge all lit up. You can also grab some hot chocolate and warm up by one of their fire pits. Then, when you’re all comfortable and toasty, ask the question of all questions!

Swann FountainThere is nothing wrong with keeping it simple! In fact, there are two areas of Philadelphia that will make for an unforgettable Valentine’s proposal. After having a delicious meal at Rouge or the Fountain Restaurant, take your date on a stroll through either Rittenhouse Square or Logan Circle. Rittenhouse is captivating at any time of day and perfect for a proposal. Likewise, Logan Circle is an ideal place for popping the question with Swann Memorial Fountain in the background.

Single and Ready to Mingle?

For all you single ladies (and gents) out there, I understand the Valentine’s Day pressure that can occur at this time of year. However, being single on Valentine’s no longer means that you have to sit at home with your chocolates, wine and cynicism.

Grab your friends for dinner and dancing at the Bleu Martini or attend Howl at the Moon’s Anti-Valentine’s Day Party, Love Sux. All hope is not lost. Just remember, Valentine’s candy goes on sale February 15th and that’s a day worth celebrating!

So, there you have it! With one of these dinner, dancing or proposal ideas you are bound to have a great Valentine’s night!

Love is in the air, Philadelphia! The question is, where will the wind take you this Valentine’s Day?

xoxo CityPASS

31 Days of De-Stressed Living, Day 31: How’d You Do?

It’s been 31 Days! How did you do?  I’d love to hear from you! What was your favorite day … what should I think about adding?

Teresa-21Thanks for joining me on this 31-day adventure! If you made it all the way to the end, post a note in the comments. If you comment before September 1, 2017, I’ll send you a free copy of my Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta … a little inspiration to destress during the days leading up to Christmas!

God bless you,


Win 2 Free CityPASSES on Valentine’s Day!

CityPASSThis week’s FUN FRIDAY is especially fun! CityPASS has offered two free adult passes to Philadelphia or any of your other favorite cities. Here’s the scoop:

Winner will receive two CityPASS ticket booklets to their choice of the following destinations: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle or Toronto. Each CityPASS ticket booklet contains actual admission tickets to a destination’s top five or six attractions. At many sights, CityPASS booklets provide VIP access, allowing travelers to bypass an attraction’s main-entrance ticket line. CityPASS ticket booklets are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Booklets may be activated (first used) anytime between today’s date and Feb. 28, 2015.

Here’s all you have to do:

1. Sign up to receive my blog posts by email! Then, leave a comment naming your favorite family-fun city, and name three of your favorite places to visit while you’re there.

2. “Like” “A Mother on the Road Less Traveled” Facebook page.

3. “Share” a link to the contest on your blog or Facebook page.

4. “Follow” me on Twitter (@hsaxton).

5. Almost done! Now click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway. (WordPress won’t support the JAVA code, so you need to go here to register your entry.)

Tune back in on Valentine’s Day (February 14) to see if you’ve won! Contest closes on Thursday, February 13. Spread the word!

Kiss Me! (The Love Project, Day 26)

kisses“Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth,

for your love is better than wine,”

Song of Songs 1:2

This weekend Craig and I are taking a few days to play and unwind. Like many couples, we have a tendency to get caught up in the “stuff” of life and forget to focus on each other. But for the next few days, it’s time to hang up our “Mom and Dad” hats, turn off the dueling computers, turn off the cell phones, and simply … be.

Today’s Love in Action: When was the last time you attacked your husband in a way that put a smile on his face? Do it now, before Valentine’s Day … you’ll be glad you did!

Miracle Monday: 40 Reasons We’d Do It Again … Thoughts on Adoption

With Valentine’s Day freshly behind us — a time for married couples to renew their love for one another and Hallmark and Godiva to make their shareholders smile — I’d like to reprise a tribute of a different kind.

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but the feelings are the same. It is the dearest wish of my heart that more couples would consider adoption. With more than 500,000 children currently in the U.S. needing temporary or permanent homes, there are ample opportunities for generous souls to reach out.

Foster-Adoption is not without its challenges. You hear all kinds of horror stories about kids who have been abused and/or neglected who have difficulty bonding with their new families. Sadly, you don’t hear so much about the “happy endings” (and I count my family’s among them): Children who outgrow the worst of their behavioral issues, and grow up to be loving, affectionate kids. NORMAL kids. Happy kids.

Of course, it does no good to go in “blind.” Information is power, and letting couples know up front that some struggle with the transition … and then go on to form happy families … Well, that is information worth knowing. Forewarned is forearmed.

Having said that, I do believe that there are many good reasons for considering adoption. And here are my top forty reasons why Craig and I would adopt Christopher and Sarah all over again if we could. (And hopefully do it a little smarter the second time around.)  Continue reading