I love Valentine’s Day. I didn’t always. When you don’t have a Valentine, or when you have one who treats you badly, it’s just another day to endure, right? But with Mr. R. by my side, I’m a lucky girl.
Last Valentine’s Day we splurged, making reservations at SoLita in Delray Beach, a chi-chi joint that was getting a lot of buzz at the time. It was a horrible experience. I have never been treated so badly at a restaurant, by a host and servers who acted like they were doing us a favor to let us in. I vowed to pass the word as often as possible: NEVER go to SoLita in Delray Beach. In fact, avoid Delray Beach entirely.
If you want to go to a nice, romantic dinner, go to O-BO in Northwood Village in West Palm Beach. The food is incredible and they’re actually happy to have you there.
This year, if you recall, we’re scaling back, financially speaking. No fancy dinner out for us. That doesn’t mean we didn’t celebrate, though. Through the magic of free event tickets and a gift card, Mr. R. and I had a fabulous Valentine’s Day. We were blessed to have a beautiful day for Valentine’s Day. It was cool, in the 60s all day, with a biting breeze, but the sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky.
Our first stop was ArtiGras, for which we had free tickets. This year is the 30th anniversary of the three-day juried art show, held at Abacoa in Jupiter. The main attraction of ArtiGras is the Fine Arts Area, where some 300 artists exhibit and sell their work in thirteen different categories such as sculpture, photography, fiber, and mixed media, to name a few. Mr. R. and I had the best time strolling along and browsing the various booths.
I’m always drawn to the photography booths. We saw some really lovely pieces. Oh to have hit the Powerball and be able to afford some of them. As we were browsing one booth, a young couple came in, looked around briefly, and called the artist over.
“We’ll take two. This one and that one,” the husband said, pointing to two beautiful photos on steel, both about three feet wide and two feet high. I leaned over to Mr. R. “You realized they just dropped about $1,600.” We contented ourselves with just window shopping and daydreaming about the pieces we’d buy, where we’d put them in our home.
ArtiGras also has a children’s area where kids can do different art activities, a silent auction, and an area where local schools exhibit student art. The proceeds from the event are supposed to go to art education in local schools. Whether or not that happens, or how much actually goes to schools, I couldn’t tell you and I’m not inclined to do that research.
They’re very militant about being ‘green’, though. We’d only just walked in the gate when we were accosted by high school students who demanded our tickets. “We’re recycling,” they said. Alrighty, then. As we walked along, we noticed trash cans arranged down the middle of the street. They’d been decorated by local school children. I suppose they encourage people to ‘give a hoot and not pollute’ and they’re certainly more aesthetically pleasing than plain old garbage cans.
Having seen everything we wanted to see at ArtiGras, we left and headed east to A1A, the better to drive along the beach. It was cool and blustery, and the usual joggers and walkers were bundled up. We stopped to look at the water which was rougher than I’ve seen it in a long time, thanks to the strong breeze. Hardly anyone was relaxing on the beach. We watched the surf for a few minutes before getting back into the truck and heading to one of my favorite places on the planet, Guanabanas, for which we had a gift card.
Guanabanas is an entirely outdoor restaurant/bar in Jupiter between A1A and the Loxahatchee River. They feature fresh locally sourced seafood and great tropical cuisine. They have live music every night, and they have Happy Hour every day from 3-6 in the bar area.
Being Valentine’s Day, finding a table in the bar area was tough. Mr. R. ended up snagging us two stools at a tiny tree-side counter across from the bar. I immediately ordered my favorite Cat 5, their version of a hurricane, while he sensibly went with Diet Coke. We pondered ordering small plates, but the reality was that we weren’t actually hungry. We contented ourselves with our view of the river and the stand-up paddle boarders passing by, and with people watching, which was enjoyable. The head chef and another Guanabana-ite built a fire in a bowl just on the other side of our tree, all the better to set up a S’mores Station. We watched mostly kids roasting marshmallows to press into the tasty treats. After two Cat 5s and no small plates, I was more like six sheets to the wind as we made our way back to the truck, but I was happy as a clam. Well, who wouldn’t be?
Once we arrived home, I discovered that my sly Mr. R. had a couple of surprises for me. Somehow he always finds a way, which is reason #12 that I love him so much. We had a glorious Valentine’s Day. I hope you did, too.