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Enjoy an elegant staycation for two at the Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa.

You may have been spending a lot of time with your significant other in recent months, or only seeing your romantic interest virtually. Whatever the case, February is an ideal month to add a little spice to your love connections with these fun, amore-filled activities.

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Witness blooms all year round at The Gardens at Heather Farm, including colorful camellias in February.

1. Stop and Smell the Flowers

Botanic gardens abound in the East Bay, featuring aromatic attractions all year long. (Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many locations require advance online reservations.) Among the winter-blooming plants at The Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek are bright daffodils, found throughout the six-acre property, and flowering 
camellias lining the back of the Meadow and Shade Gardens. 
Admission is free, but donations in support of the nonprofit are 
appreciated. Other idyllic options include the Regional Parks 
Botanic Garden in Tilden Regional Park and the University of 
California Botanical Garden in Berkeley. gardenshf.org, ebparks.org, botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu.

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Learn the intricacies of the tango from dance instructor Mira Barakat during a private or online class.

2. Try a Tango for Two

While hitting the dance floor at a nightclub may not be in the cards right now, you and your partner can still show off your moves—or learn some new ones. Explore the sensual Argentinian tango under the instruction of Mira Barakat at a socially distanced private lesson in her North Oakland studio ($90 an hour for couples) or via Zoom. Sample other online courses such as Bay Area instructor Lisette Perelle’s tango technique group classes on Zoom every Sunday 
($10 per person) or the Thursday couples tango class taught by 
“Legends of Tango” Judy and Jon ($15 per couple). Make sure you have wood floors and room to move in your home dance space. 
mirabarakat.com, lisetteperelle.com, tangowithjudy.com.

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Erika Minkowsky of the Heirloom Chef whips up delectable dishes such as this California board, served in your own home.

3. Put Love on the Menu

Beloved special-occasion restaurants such as Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Esin Restaurant and Bar in Danville, and Va de Vi Bistro and Wine Bar in Walnut Creek may jump to mind when planning a date night in typical times. For those looking for other romantic spots with outdoor dining options, Lafayette’s Postino Restaurant dishes up Italian fare in an elegant setting, while Rêve Bistro serves 
French comfort food on its charming patio. For more inviting 
open-air dining, head to Pizzaiolo in Oakland for pasta and wood-fired pizza. chezpanisse.com, esinrestaurant.com, vadevi.com, postinorestaurant.com, revebistro.com, pizzaiolooakland.com.

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Erika Minkowsky with daughter

4. Book a Private Chef’s Table

If you’d rather savor a top-quality meal at home, consider hiring 
a personal chef for your special night. Oakland-based company 
The Heirloom Chef dishes up four-course couples’ dinners, based on seasonal, prearranged menus. The freshly prepared meals 
are then dropped off at your door. Find other private chefs creating custom-made dishes from all over the globe at Cozymeal or Private Chefs of the SF Bay. Prices vary. theheirloomchef.com, cozymeal.com, sfprivatechefs.com.

5. Raise a Glass

Toast your future together at one of Livermore’s 55 winery tasting rooms (reservations may be required; operational status subject to current county health regulations). You’ll find award-winning wines, welcoming patios, and sweeping pastoral views. Many 
wineries are also hosting private and virtual tastings. For the 
latest information on the area’s wineries, check the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association website. lvwine.org.

6. Get a Room

Sticking close to home doesn’t have to mean sleeping at home. Surprise your sweetheart with a stay at one of the East Bay’s finest hotels. Take advantage of the Romantic Escape at the Park package at the Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa, and indulge in a night of European elegance, along with chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne. The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort and Spa promises sublime lodging in Livermore, including modern country-style suites with personal fireplaces. Drink in views of the San Francisco Bay from the Claremont Club and Spa, A Fairmont Hotel. The palatial hotel, located in the Berkeley Hills, offers luxurious contemporary accommodations that reflect its rich history. lafayetteparkhotel.com, purpleorchid.com, fairmont.com/claremont-berkeley.

7. Cuddle Up at the Drive-In

Experience a movie date from the comfort of your car at Concord’s West Wind Drive-In. The all-digital cinema plays first-run films, and you can bring your own snacks (think treats that work well in close quarters). If you prefer to chill on the couch, consider a classic romantic comedy like Sleepless in Seattle, costarring the East Bay’s own Tom Hanks. westwinddi.com/locations/Solano.

8. Show Your Sweets Side

Forget those grocery store candy boxes. For sweets that impress, try locally made chocolates from Berkeley’s Casa de Chocolates, truffles from Barlovento in Oakland, or assorted treats from Danville 
Chocolates. For a sugar-free indulgence, pick up a few of Elizabeth W’s bath fizz hearts at Whim House in Danville, but be warned: The foil-wrapped hearts look good enough to eat. casadechocolates.com, barloventochocolate.com, danvillechocolates.com, whimhouse.com.

9. Take to the Water

This chilly season doesn’t scream for an aquatic adventure, but nothing says romance like a sunset cruise. Bundle up and check out Passage Nautical’s private yacht charters on the San Francisco Bay. Boats depart from Jack London Square in Oakland, with rates starting at $625 for a four-hour charter (social distancing and face coverings required for the duration of the ride). For a truly unique encounter, try the North Bay Bioluminescence tour from Blue 
Waters Kayaking. Take an evening paddle on Tomales Bay and witness an amazing marine light show; fares are $118 per person. passagenautical.com, bluewaterskayaking.com.

10. Walk a Romantic Route

East Bay parks promise natural wonders and refreshing hikes 
at sites throughout the region. Find spectacular panoramic 
views of the Bay Area along the paved Nimitz Way Trail to 
Inspiration Point at Tilden Regional Park (the trail can get crowded 
so avoid peak times). For another picturesque hike, complete 
with waterfalls, trek to Little Yosemite, a natural gorge in 
Sunol Wilderness Regional Preserve. Looking for an urban 
stroll? Explore the new Township Commons park at the Brooklyn 
Basin development in Oakland and revel in expansive open space 
and waterfront views of Alameda and San Francisco (grab some 
delicious takeout from Rocky’s Market for a mid-walk nosh). 
ebparks.org, rockysmarket.com.