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There’s something intrinsically romantic about downtown Port Jefferson. The charming Main Street is lined with brick exterior storefronts and the harbor sparkles even on the coldest of winter days. Sneak away with your significant other and explore all the seaside village has to offer this Valentine’s Day.
Brunch at Toast
Toast’s interior, replete with wooden accents, warm-but-dim lighting and eclectic plates and mugs, is the perfect place to cozy up mid-morning. Bar seating is easier to come by, but on Valentine’s Day, scoring a private space is worth the wait. The food is, too. The Krispy Nutella French Toast is largely to blame for the long lines. Coated in Rice Krispies and grilled, the crunch, when paired with sweet strawberries and Nutella drizzle, tastes like a slice of heaven worth sharing.
Pampering at Butterfly Salon
With a full belly (to match a full heart), it’s time to refresh at Butterfly Salon. Located within Danford’s Hotel and Marina, the salon has offerings for guys and gals. The Just for Men package includes an 80-minute deep tissue massage, known to work out all the kinks, and a Gentlemen’s Facial. The Keep it Simple Package gives ladies a Swedish massage and facial.
Snack and sip at C’est Cheese
Couples who try new things together are happier, according to research by Stony Brook University professor Arthur Aron, and this little cafe’s wine, beer and cheese pairing menus invite people to break out of their comfort zones. Choose mild, moderate or intense cheeses and let the staff match it up with a wine or beer that goes perfectly. There are other bites on the menu, including soups, salads and sandwiches, but don’t overindulge — a hefty dinner is coming.
Winter waterfront walk
Quaint as the Main Street and good as the food may be, the crown jewel of Port Jefferson is the Sound. Take it in by walking hand-in-hand around Harborfront Park. Those fancying something more private can sneak off to the breathtaking Pirate’s Cove. It is a five-minute drive from downtown — located in McAllister Park in Belle Terre — and offers a break from the down-port retail scene.
Dinner at Pasta Pasta
White tablecloths and plenty of candlelight set the stage for a romantic dinner at this upscale casual Main Street fixture, which has thrived on the fickle Port Jeff restaurant scene for more than two decades. One small reason: The bread basket. It’s not often the complimentary starter is a must-have, but Pasta Pasta’s is an exception. The bread is gooey, buttery and has just the right amount of garlic that diners can’t help but take seconds. But remember moderation: One would be heartbroken if they missed out on the next three courses. The Mozzarella Burrata is a classic starter, though the more adventurous can’t lose with the Wasabi calamari, which comes with an extra kick courtesy of the wasabi aioli and General Tao’s sauce. There are pizza and non-pasta dishes on the menu for entrees, but first-timers should consider opting for the restaurant’s namesake and springing for spaghetti. The black ravioli filled with lobster is as indulgent as it sounds, and the whole wheat penne pasta is a healthier treat. The warm chocolate molten cake may not technically be guilt-free, but calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day.
Paint Night at Muse Paintbar
You may consider your SO your muse in many ways — an inspiration to aspire to be more. Muse Paintbar is for artsy types and neophytes alike. An instructor will go through each step, and painters can put whatever creative twists on the picture they wish. On Valentine’s Day, participants will appropriately be painting a pair of lovebirds. If there’s still room from dinner, wine and snacks are available for purchase.
Danford’s Hotel & Marina
To get the most of the day, consider booking a night or two at this boutique hotel. Set on the Long Island Sound and a short walk from Main Street, Danford’s cozy digs include waterfront views, balconies and fireplaces. The hotel stays true to its nautical roots — blue and seaside accents are everywhere from blankets to a large ship wheel that sits at the entrance.