February is for lovers.
O.K., so the treeless landscape and the cold, bleak days of winter may not make this the most romantic of seasons on Shelter Island, but Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday, and for those in the know, this is a great place to woo and wow the people who mean the most to you.
Here’s how — and where — to do it.
The Cornucopia Gift Shop is an ideal place to start your Valentine’s Day shopping and owner Mary Lou Eichhorn says she has “lots of ways to say I love you.”
“The chocolate and jewelry are always big sellers,” she notes, and most of the jewelry is handmade right here on the Island. At this time of year, Ms. Eichhorn finds that people of all ages come in to buy gifts for those they love, and if chocolate or jewelry aren’t what you’re looking for, she also offers a selection of champagne flutes and plush animals.
♠ Cornucopia Gift Shop, 27 West Neck Road, Shelter Island, (631) 749-0171. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No matter how old you are, chances are good that you bought your very first Valentine at a local pharmacy. Whether that Valentine was for your mother or a grade school crush, one thing hasn’t changed — if you’re looking for classic Valentine’s Day gifts like cards and candy, Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy is the place to go.
♠ Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy, 19 Grand Avenue, (631) 749-0445. Open daily 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Flowers are a favorite for Valentine’s Day, and this is one of the busiest weeks of the year for Becky Smith, owner of Shelter Island Florist.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, she says the most popular flower is (what else) roses — particularly red roses.
“But I have a couple customers who like yellow roses — I say go with what she likes,” says Ms. Smith, who finds that flowers are most often purchased by men as gifts for women, though there are a few women out there who enjoy reversing the roles.
For those who find roses a little too pricey, Ms. Smith advises going with a floral arrangement or a mixed bouquet with just a few roses complimented by other flower varieties. She also recommends tulips, gerbera daisies or, for those who like scent, lilies.
If you have a plant lover in your life, she finds that orchids and violets are good Valentine’s Day choices. But whatever you choose, let Ms. Smith know what you want in advance — that way she can plan ahead with her ordering.
♠ Shelter Island Florist, 57 North Ferry Road, (631) 749-2264. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There’s an old adage that says “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It’s true, nothing says “love” like some fine baked goods and at STARs Café, owner Lydia Martinez Majdišová has been busy all week long creating yummy treats for those who love to get sweets for their sweetie.
“Our weekend will be all Valentine’s themed,” says Ms. Majdišová, who will have a full selection of desserts, cakes and cookies to offer, including floral bouquet-inspired treats made from oversized cupcakes with mini-cupcakes attached on top to look like tiny roses.
“We also take custom orders,” she says. “It’s always preferable if people call ahead. They can personalize it or we can write something special on a cake.”
STARs also sells gifts like mugs, handmade jewelry, homemade jams, coffee beans, or macaroons, all gift wrapped for your sweetheart. For the first time ever, this year the café is running a Valentine’s Day promotion.
“We’ll treat any couple to a dessert of their choice, if they decide to have full lunch with us, from Saturday through Tuesday,” Ms. Majdišová promises.
♠ STARs Café, 17 Grand Avenue, (631) 749-5345. Open daily 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sometimes simplicity says love like nothing else. If your loved one loves pizza, the place to enjoy a pie — along with salads or a full-on Italian dinner — is Bella Vita. Though they aren’t planning to be make any heart-shaped pizzas, the good news is the staff will be on duty and serving up Bella Vita’s specialities all day long on Valentine’s Day.
♠ Bella Vita, 3 North Ferry Road, (631) 749-5463. Open Mondays through Thursdays 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., closed Sundays.
Heading out for a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day is a popular way to celebrate the holiday, The Tavern is the only restaurant on the Island that will be open for dinner and celebrating Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, February 14 with a special three-course prix fixe menu.
Appetizer choices will include oysters, clams and shrimp cocktail from the raw bar, a baby arugula salad with fried goat cheese cake, a filet mignon crostini, or wild mushroom voulevant.
Entrée choices include roasted baby lamb chops, a surf and turf option (lobster tail and beef tornedos bordelaise), crab and shrimp stuffed flounder roulades with a lemon beurre blanc, or an apple sage stuffed pork loin.
And for dessert, you can look forward to red velvet whoopee pies or tiramisu. We love it already!
♠ The Tavern at Shelter Island House, 11 Stearns Point Road, (631) 749-1633. Open Wednesdays and Thursdays 5 to 9:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 5 to 10 p.m., Sundays 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Though Vine Street Café won’t be open on Tuesday, February 14, the restaurant will feature specials for lovers throughout the weekend. Diners can count on ordering from the regular menu and there will be a few verbal specials added to the mix — including a Montauk pearl oyster with caviar and a chateaubriand for two. How’s that for romantic?
♠ Vine Street Café, 41 South Ferry Road, (631) 749-3210. Open Thursdays through Mondays starting at 5 p.m.
Red Maple at The Chequit won’t be open on Valentine’s Day either, but the kitchen is open and serving Thursdays through Sundays all winter long, and this weekend, the restaurant is offering dinner, drinks and dessert specials in honor of Valentine’s Day.
At the bar, order up an Aphrodite’s Spritz. Designed for lovers, it features aphrodisiacs like dark chocolate, pomegranates and sparkling wine. In the dining room, dinner options include a baby lamb chop with roasted potatoes, haricots verts and a cherry reduction sauce, or striped bass with potato crust, wild mushrooms, leeks and creamy lemon sauce. You can end the meal on a sweet note with the not-to-be-missed evening special — conversation heart petit fours made from white cake with layers of apricot and raspberry. Yum!
♠ Red Maple at The Chequit, 23 Grand Avenue, (631) 749-0183. Open Thursdays to Saturdays 5 to 10 p.m., Sundays for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
After being closed for the month of January, 18 Bay Restaurant is once again up and running, serving dinner every Thursday to Saturday. 18 Bay’s menu changes constantly, and though the staff didn’t get back to us before press time regarding any Valentine’s specials, diners can always count on enjoying a four-course Italian-inspired menu reflecting what’s fresh at local markets.
“The evening menu changes every week, but always begins with four different antipasti, followed by a handmade pasta, a choice of entrée and dessert,” notes the 18 Bay website. “We make handcrafted cocktails using organic syrups and serve over 60 wines by the glass.”
♠ 18 Bay Restaurant, 23 North Ferry Road, (631) 749-0053. Open Thursdays to Saturdays 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.