A little Valentine's Day History...

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and it probably has you thinking of flowers, wine, chocolates, and a candlelight dinner, but before you start planning and searching for the best gifts for your Valentine, you might be wondering why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? Interesting fact- nobody really knows the true history behind this holiday, nor do any of the theories completely check out. Even historians find themselves argue over what is fact and what is fiction.

Some believe that St. Valentine's Day was designated by Pope Gelasius I to replace the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture, others believe it is in honor of Saint Valentine. Legend says an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl. Before his death, he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules.”  Soon, people began penning and exchanging love letters to celebrate Valentine's Day. In the early 1900’s, Hallmark began distributing its more “official” Valentine's Day cards, Flowers, candy and jewelry, followed… and the rest is history.

The Finger Lakes Region area is arguably one of the most romantic places in the world to celebrate the Valentine’s Day holiday. Beautiful lakes, quaint villages and peaceful roads winding through rolling farmlands provide a romantic setting that is second to none.

Celebration Ideas...

Looking for some inspiration to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Finger Lakes? Here a a few suggestions:

  1. Enjoy a romantic dinner in front of a cozy fireplace, complete with a bottle of delicious Finger Lakes wine at Oak and VIne at  Springside Inn on Owasco Lake or  visit the 1833 Kitchen and Bar on Cayuga Lake in the historic Inns of Aurora.

Resizedimage600400 Springside Inn Auburn NY


  1. Visit MacKenzie-Childs just north of Aurora for a gift that will not soon be forgotten. Here you’ll find beautiful handmade heart-shaped bowls, plates and ornaments that are the perfect keepsakes to remember your special Finger Lakes Valentine’s Day. No visit to MacKenzie Childs is complete without a tour of the farm house and a romantic stroll around the grounds   After shopping, stop by the Fargo for lunch. On your way home stop at one of the local Finger Lakes wineries, for a taste test, or pick up a bottle of two to enjoy later.

Flowers at MacKenzie-Childs

  1. Eat, drink and be merry!  Wining and dining your valentine is a must.  Cayuga County’s restaurants offer everything from fine dining to BBQ to pub style fare. If Italian food is your favorite try Osteria Salina in downtown Auburn, or if you are looking for something a bit more casual try out Summerhill Brewing. Pick your favorite cuisine and make a reservation ahead of time so that you won’t be disappointed.  For a full listing of places to dine click here

Romance in the Finger Lakes - Inns of Aurora


  1. Enjoy a romantic walk or hike at one our many trails. Marvel at the beautiful scenery while you reconnect with each other and nature, discover a crystal-like frozen waterfall. Post your photos to your social media account, your friends may be just a little jealous. Click here for more ideas for a winter hike. Hint: Sterling Nature Center offers snowshoes for use, free of charge.

Cumming Nature Center in the Winter


  1. Book a romance package and turn Valentine’s Day into a mini mid-winter getaway! If you are looking for a great getaway, a Hibercation may be just the thing! We describe Hibercation as part hibercation, part vacation and 100% good for the soul. For more information click here.

two sets of feet with cozy buffalo plaid checked socks on


  1. You know the old saying “Sweets for the Sweet”, Cayuga County is home to a variety of fantastic bakeries and sweet shops. Place your order early for decedent chocolates by Gretchen’s, fabulous French macaroons by Moonflower or cookies, pies and more from Sweets by Sarah in Fair Haven, NY.

Gretchen's Confections - chocolates and more


Now that you have a few ideas it’s time to start planning an unforgettable Valentine’s Day celebration! Check out our events page for more ideas on where to go and what to do in Cayuga County.