It doesn’t happen often, but Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year! What a perfect weekend to give your sweetie something more than chocolates or a nice dinner (although you can add those to the mix, too). This is your chance to plan something out of the ordinary … so where do you begin? That’s easy. Spend it in St. Joseph, named Michigan’s Most Romantic City by the Detroit Free Press.
Here are ways to make this weekend sweeter than most.


  • Catch a concert. 
Feb. 13 — Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellyswill perform their breathtaking, Americana music at 7 pm in the Hanson Theater, Lake Michigan College, 2755 East Napier, Benton Harbor. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and they offer local wines and brews, too. Tickets $15 general admission; $10 Mainstage Series members, seniors and students.
 Feb. 14 — Chris Vallilowill debut his “Oh Freedom, Songs of the Civil Rights Movement” at 7:30 pm in the Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad St., St. Joseph. Tickets $10 general admission and $8 seniors and students.
  • Laugh heartily. 
Feb. 15 — Tied Up in Knottswill be your chance to experience the hilarity of Karen Knotts as she shares the humor and tales of her legendary father Don Knotts (best known for his role as Barney Fife on the “Andy Griffith Show.”) Showtime is 7 pm at the Howard Performing Arts Center, Andrews University, 4160 E. Campus Circle Dr., Berrien Springs. Tickets $15.
  • Eat chocolate. Sip wine. Savor exquisite entrees.
If you want to give chocolates you should give the best in the Midwest. That’s easily done with a trip to the Chocolate Garden in Coloma where you can sample their handmade chocolate trufflesbefore bringing home a box or two. Southwestern Michigan is also home to award-winning wines. Each winery has its own personality that plays out in each tasting room. Visit more than one. They’re all within driving distance of each other. Enjoying a romantic meal is a Valentine’s treat, too. Southwestern Michigan offers many ways to please your palate with its eclectic collection of ethnic, nouveau and traditional restaurantsand chefs that create with locally grown foods. Make it a “just the two of you” date or bring friends. You’ll come home feeling closer, guaranteed.
  • Linger for a sunset. 
If you think sunsets on Lake Michigan in July are romantic, stay for one in February. The horizon sky can be blazing red above that icy blue water. And after watching the stars brighten the winter sky, if you want some alone time, several area inns and hotels are offering special packages Valentine's weekendto lure you to stay over night: 
A Wine, Dine and Romance Package at the Comfort Suites St. Joseph offers a choice of a Standard Suite, Standard Jacuzzi Suite or Heart Shaped/Fireplace Jacuzzi Suite and includes a vase with a dozen red roses, in-room bottle of wine and glasses from Tabor Hill and dinner for two a the nearby Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant. 
Movie Night Package at the Hampton Inn in Stevensville includes two movie tickets to the Celebration Cinema.
Romantic Getaway at the Hampton Inn in Stevensville includes a $40 gift certificate to Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant. With a week’s notice, the hotel can also arrange limo transportation to the winery.
Skate the Winter Blues Away Package at the Hampton Inn in Stevensville includes two hours to roller skate at RollerWorld. Bring your entire family of sweeties or enjoy the adult-only skates from 9-midnight.
Valentine Package at one or the area’s newest hotels, the Hilton Garden Inn in Benton Harbor. Your Feb. 14 package includes an in-room bottle of champagne, dinner plus breakfast for two and a late checkout of 1 pm. 
Valentine Package at the Silver Beach Hotel in downtown St. Joseph includes chocolates, in-room champagne, breakfast buffet and late checkout. This hotel is just footsteps from delightful restaurants, shops, entertainment and bluff views of the St. Joseph River and Lake Michigan.

As you might guess, rooms will fill quickly Valentine's weekend, call today or tomorrow for reservations. For the latest updates of other romantic "sparks" you can add to your weekend, visit facebook.com/swmtc. Know that whatever you plan, spending Valentine’s in Southwestern Michigan will warm your hearts and uplift your spirits — something we all could use this time of year.