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Fun local activities to surprise your Valentine

Don’t stress, try something new

Enjoy lots of chocolate at the Chocolate and Wine Festival. Photo credit: Medicine Creek Winery

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it can be stressful to plan the perfect date night or gift. What follows are some fun local activities and one further afield for the best Valentine's Day.

Chocolate & Wine Festival

Head out to the Medicine Creek Winery for their 16th Annual Chocolate & Wine Festival. Enjoy live music, great wine and lots of chocolate. The four-foot-tall chocolate fountain is a show stopper. Beer is also available for those who don't drink wine. Prepare to be blown away when you walk into the tasting room. From the outside, visitors are on a farm, and then while inside, it has the feel of New Orleans with its opulent décor.

Noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday; Feb. 11-12, Medicine Creek Winery, 947 Old Pacific Hwy. SE, Olympia, $25, 360.701.6284, Medicine Creek

Gig Harbor Gondola

You may not be able to travel to Venice for Valentine's Day, but one can capture the romance experiencing the Gig Harbor Gondola. Book a 90-minute tour for two around the Gig Harbor waterfront in an authentic Venetian Gondola while enjoying a serenade from your gondolier. This activity takes a bit more preparation. Riders can bring their own food and beverages. Plan to have a simple charcuterie and wine, or chocolate, strawberries and champagne. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine that is a good choice as well. Purchase before your tour or stop at the Harbor General Store for a variety of options. Your gondolier provides cups, ice and an opener if needed.

There is no storefront for this small, local business. Book by phone and meet 10 minutes before your tour at the Gig Harbor Marina and Boatyard. Dress for the weather as it will be cold. There are blankets on board and the chilly weather is the perfect excuse to cuddle.

By appointment, 3117 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor, $120, 253.432.0052,

Coupeville Chocolate Walk

Make a WSDOT ferry reservation from Port Townsend to Coupeville for a perfect early Valentine's celebration. While waiting for the ferry, walk into Port Townsend for coffee while enjoying a romantic stroll among the beautiful Victorian buildings. On the ferry, head to the top deck and snuggle outside while taking selfies. Once in Coupeville, head to historic Front Street. Stroll the street stopping in local businesses for chocolate treats. Enjoy a romantic, authentic Italian meal at Ciao or one of the many wonderful restaurants in Coupeville. Make sure to order Penn Cove Mussels which are harvested right in Penn Cove just a short distance from the Coupeville Wharf.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11; Downtown Coupeville, $20, 360.678.5434,

Think local when purchasing a Valentine's Gift. Both the Johnson Candy Company and Brown & Haley are Tacoma chocolate companies. There are a variety of cute gift shops throughout both Pierce and Thurston counties that carry Pacific Northwest products.

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