How to Not Be a Jerk On Valentine’s Day

collage 3 venues thumb How to Not Be a Jerk On Valentine’s DayYou forgot.  Or worse… forgot to CARE.  Either way, that significant other is probably expecting something on Valentine’s Day.  Pull out the keyboard – you’re going to make a “gift certificate.”

Here are my reviews of THREE destinations easily accessible to Southern Californians by car OR out-of-towners by plane. Read all three and choose one. Then, make a homemade gift card and promise to book a trip to your selected spot at a time that works for both of you.  HERO!!

Note:  all three are too special to have any openings for your last-minute Valentine’s Day weekend. Thus, the certificate. To plan your trip together. And to get off the hook of possibly being a jerk.

1.Carmel by the Sea, California – the Hofsas House is a family owned, pretty in pink, modest venue surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Carmel by the Sea is drivable from LA (a long drive, but do-able) or fly into the fab little Monterey airport. 

Here, your room is comfy and homey.  You can have a kitchenette, if you’re like me and enjoy control over some meals.  Your balcony can face the sunset.  Purchase a local Wine + Cheese welcome tray. Wander and meander and window shop in the little Carmel by the Sea enclave.  It is VERY GIRLY, I must warn you.  But even the drive TO this destination offers a lot of fun stops

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2.  La Jolla, California – this is special. Uber-special.  Staying at the La Valencia Hotel makes you feel like you’ve “made it” in the world.  Yes, you earned that spacious cabana. Cocktails in the historic bar overlooking the mighty Pacific ocean are dreamy. Fine dining. Casual dining. Any kind of dining.

San Diego has an international airport, so you can definitely get here.  Between the hotel and classic Old World La Jolla village, you can spend a few days exhaling, holding hands, tromping around on cliffs and secret passageways.  And laughing at the stinky sea lions. It will all make your “gift certificate” memorable, believe me.

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3.  Tecate, Mexico – not deep Mexico, this spot is basically a spit over the San Diego border. You need a full week because you are taking your love to Rancho La Puerta.  Get yourself to the San Diego airport and their private bus will transport you to the Ranch.  You’ll both return home as changed people.

This is a healthy place. A spiritual place. Don’t get scared, tho, as it is also a fairly robust and interesting place. Hiking, gym, pools, but also a never-ending choice of yogas, dance, art, seminars.  The food is healthy, yes.  Hey, you NEED THIS sometimes.  Your stunning casita has its own patio {where you can enjoy the wine you snuck in via your suitcase. Or blatantly walked to the liquor store at the end of the driveway to purchase.}  All part of the Ranch experience.  Trust me, anyone who goes to the Ranch LOVES THE RANCH.  I dream of getting there again very soon…

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Need a few more ideas?

Temecula, California – hot air ballooning, wine tasting, Indian casinos.  It’s the trendiest place in So. Cal. right now for weddings, so you may need to plan further ahead than you might imagine.

Ojai, California – go lower-key and stay at the healthy place, Oaks at Ojai, or high-end and feel like royalty at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa.  They are quite different; both a great time.

And my one BIG IDEA that’s a kick-in-the-pants, takes close to two weeks, very kitschy, but can be on the cheap side.  You will definitely “bond” if you drive the entire length of Historic Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica (or reverse direction).  Yes, you can sleep in a Tee-Pee on Route 66, like the one, below: 

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Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers!

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