[Western Colo. | February 2020 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Kathryn R. Burke]

Romance—it’s part of that basic need to love and be loved, appreciate and be appreciated. Although love comes in many forms, romantic love is, after all, what got most of us here, and in many cases, it’s what keeps us going.

According to Webster, romance is “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” Romance is also one of those unique words that takes on multiple meanings, depending on how it’s expressed: “I’m in a romance” (noun); “I’m in a romantic relationship” (adjective); “He’s romancing me” (verb); “We danced romantically all evening long” (adverb).

It’s that time of courting—of “wooing”—when people lavish one another with affection and experience the emotional and physical intimacy that keeps them in a private cocoon, a bubble that shuts out the rest of the world. Romance is when love seems new, and the romantic partners feel like they are floating on air, hoping it will last forever.

Then…life gets in the way. Romance fizzles or flees. If you stay together, major events consume romantic energy: children, work, new home, new job, aging parents, retirement. Romance winds down into comfortable closeness, then complacency, and sometimes winds up as simply staying together because it’s too scary or difficult to contemplate the alternatives.

Suddenly, you wake up one morning and wonder, “Where did the romance go? How do we get it back?”

Long-term solutions may include relationship counseling. Quicker could be candy and flowers, but the candy is soon eaten and the flowers can’t last forever. What then?

If it’s a new relationship, the romantic ashes are hot—or at least still warm and ready to flare up again. If it’s longer-term, you might need to backtrack to rekindle the fire. Together, remember those heady days of being in love. What did you do? Where did you go? What were your favorite activities? Give yourselves some special time to recapture those memories. Go out. Together. And not to run errands or buy groceries, take the kids to soccer, or visit your parents in the nursing home. Go someplace special! Just the two of you.

Date Night at the Stone House. Image, courtesy K.R. Burke

Start with an intimate dinner for two, where you actually talk to one another. (Leave the phones at home or in the car!) Let past memories fuel the present evening’s discussion.

The Stone House in Montrose can help you feel the love all month long. Monday through Wednesday of Valentine’s week, a special date-night dinner includes wine, appetizers, select entrées, salad, and dessert, plus a vase of roses to take home. The Valentine’s weekend menu also offers choices like surf and turf and special table settings. If you can’t make it that week, every Tuesday night is date night. Reservations are recommended for any of these special treats.

Remington’s at the Bridges—Chef Adam has put together an amazing new seasonal lunch and dinner menu that features classical American cuisine with a Colorado flare. To titillate your romantic taste buds, Chef Adam presents four wonderful specials for Valentine’s weekend in addition to the regular seasonal menu. And every Saturday (except Valentine’s Day), Remington’s Date Night hosts a romantic evening with a four-course meal and bottle of wine for two.

The best dinner-for-two date night in Ridgway is locals’ favorite, True Grit Café. Weekly specials and a “Ranch to Fork” menu that features locally sourced, original comfort food with a fresh flair make “The Grit” (as locals call it), a favorite date night any night of the month. For details on Valentine’s specials, watch their Facebook page and website, truegritcafe.com.

Private hot tub at Chipeta Solar Springs Resort. Courtesy image.

Give yourself a romantic overnight close to home. Check into Chipeta Solar Springs Resort in Ridgway, which provides luxurious accommodations, hot springs, a heated pool, and spa treatments. The onsite Four Corners Restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 P.M. and features Chef Lucas Wentzel’s winter menu along with live music. Happy Hour’s select hors d’oeuvres and drink specials are from 5 to 6 P.M. For the perfect one-night or weekend getaway, soak in a private hot tub, get a couples massage, enjoy a delicious dinner, then share champagne and strawberries in your lovely room, and…let nature take its course. chipeta.com

Want to venture further and take a week instead of a weekend? Visit Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa in Fiji (another property of the Chipeta Resorts family). The resort has a marina, three outdoor pools, a full-service spa, two restaurants, and two bars. Special romance packages include a champagne breakfast one morning, couples massage, and private beach picnic with canapes and a bottle of wine. korosunresort.com

If you must stay closer to home, you can still work on getting those romantic feelings back again with or without an overnight. Sign up for dance lessons, then go once or twice a month with dinner before or after. Start a weekly date night and do something fun together. Take in a movie or a play. Go ice skating, snowshoeing, or skiing, then warm up with one of those intimate candlelit dinners with wine. Keep it fresh, make it different each time. (And get a babysitter; leave the kids at home.) Make it “together time” rather than just another outing with friends and family. Give yourselves a chance to get reacquainted on new terms that have roots in your past.

This year, Valentine’s Day comes on a weekend. Which gives you plenty of time to go all out and celebrate it. Originating as a Western Christian feast day, Valentine’s Day is recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world. So, show some love, give gifts and candy, and—for sure—add some luscious flowers and a romantic card into the gift mix. February, especially Valentine’s Day weekend, is the perfect time to put a little extra romance into your relationship.

Note: If you’ve got kids and live in Montrose, the Montrose Recreation Center has a great Valentine’s night deal for you. From 5 to 8:30 P.M. on the 14th, drop off kids aged 4 to 12 for games, crafts, and dinner. Just $10 per child. Call to sign up: 970-249-7705.