Valentine’s Day conjures up images of couples exchanging heart-shaped cards, roses, boxes of chocolates and, sometimes, expensive jewelry. But, the holiday doesn’t have to be about spending money on gifts! Spend time with those you love instead, with activities that are sure to last longer than a box of chocolates. Here are seven ways to celebrate the day of love without breaking the bank.
1. Picnic in the park.
This activity works well for singles, couples, families and friends. Stop by your favorite restaurant and get takeout, or go to the grocery store and pick up your favorite items to fill your picnic basket, bag or cooler. Choose a variety of fruits, cheeses, crackers and meats to make a charcuterie board, or toss some Lunchables into your shopping cart. We won’t judge.
As your destination, pick a park that offers a variety of seating, such as Olde Rope Mill Park in Woodstock, with swings and benches, or Etowah River Park in Canton, with picnic tables under the pavilion. While you’re there, take advantage of great views of the river and the walking trails throughout. For a complete list of parks in Canton, visit https://bit.ly/3JV2Otx. Whatever park you choose, don’t forget to bring a blanket or two.
2. Host a potluck.
Friendsgiving, who? Make way for Palentine’s Day. Throw a dinner party, and invite all your friends — singles and couples. Everyone can bring a dish, dessert or drink, to keep the cost minimal. It’s a low-pressure way to celebrate with those you love.
3. Volunteer at the animal shelter.
Who said Valentine’s Day is only for humans? Help spread the love to our furry friends this month. If you’ve been thinking about adopting a pet, or are interested in volunteering at the Cherokee County Animal Shelter, visit www.cherokeega-animals.org/index.html. For more ways to volunteer in and around Cherokee, flip to Pages 24, 26 and 44.
4. Make an escape.
Escape rooms are immersive games in which players work together to find clues, solve riddles and puzzles, and accomplish tasks to progress through the game and reach the goal. Instead of spending money on an expensive meal, eat cheap, and then make memories with those you love participating in an engaging activity.
There are many escape rooms to choose from in Cherokee and surrounding counties, including Get a Clue Escape Games in Canton and Mindscape Escape Rooms in Kennesaw. Each escape room features a different theme, holds unique secrets and puzzles, and is a new adventure.
5. Explore the arts.
Woodstock Arts and the Canton Theatre offer a variety of events each month, including plays, concerts, movie screenings and more. Turn to Page 60 for more details.
• Feb. 5: “Hidden Figures”
• Feb. 11-13, 18-20: “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”
• Feb. 26: Cody Bolden, Jonathan Peyton and Greg Shaddix
• Through Feb. 13: “Creative Kids”
• Feb. 4-13: “A Chorus Line – High School Edition”
• Feb. 17-April 17: “New Media: Art + Technology”
• Feb. 18: iThink Improv
• Feb. 19: The Lasting Laugh
6. Window shop.
Woodstock and Canton have many things in common, a couple being unique small businesses and shopping opportunities. Window shopping is a great way to spend time together and see what our cities have to offer, while sticking to a budget. Downtown Canton and Woodstock and The Mill on Etowah are growing, with stores boasting antiques, vintage records, niche clothing, home decor and more.
7. Chase the sunset.
Hop in your car, and drive toward the best unobstructed views of the west. Bring snacks, or stop for coffee, bubble tea or ice cream on the way. Navigate the county, and find the perfect sunset spot to come back to. Don’t forget to make a playlist of your favorite songs!
Tip: Go cellphone-free. Enjoy time with your significant other, friends, family or by yourself without distractions.