Say it with sweet matchbook notecards by Rachel Kobasa, available through Pickwick Independent Press. Photo courtesy of Pickwick Independent Press

Finally, we get a holiday that’s perfect for the pandemic.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are all about getting together with a huge group of family and friends, and Halloween is about parties and going to the homes of strangers. But Valentine’s Day – which is Sunday – is focused on snuggling up with the one person you spend most of  your time with anyway.

And there plenty of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Maine this year in safe, creative and romantic ways. Those include upscale takeout, since every fancy restaurant does takeout now, as well as virtual concerts, socially distanced rom-com movie watching and cozy walks through the woods with goats.

Here are a few ideas for your safest Valentine’s Day ever.

Violinist Jesse Mills and pianist Rieko Aizawa will perform virtually as part of “Love Notes” presented by Portland Chamber Music Festival Sunday. Photo courtesy of the Portland Chamber Music Festival

LOVE NOTES, IN THE AIR

The Portland Chamber Music Festival has organized a virtual Valentine’s Day concert, along with food and drink demos, called “Love Notes.” Ticket holders begin their experience at 4:45 p.m. Sunday with a “Love Potion No. 9” mixology lesson on Zoom from Vena’s Fizz House. People can buy Vena’s cocktail kit beforehand online for $22, so they can mix along at home. Then at 5 p.m., the pre-recorded concert begins on YouTube, with musical selections and musicians demonstrating some of their favorite recipes and talking about how they pair with the music. The concert/culinary talk is about an hour and 15 minutes and includes musicians from around the country, on viola, cello, violin, oboe and piano, among others. One example of the musical/food pairings is New York-based musicians Jesse Mills (violin) and Rieko Aizawa (piano) performing Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata for Violin and Piano then demonstrating a favorite recipe for chicken liver mousse. There’s a Zoom reception with the musicians afterward and tickets are $10 to $40, with the higher price allowing you to make a dedication. For tickets and more information, go to pcmf.org.

Tell them how you feel with a love note postcard pack from Pickwick Independent Press in Portland. Photo courtesy of Pickwick Independent Press

LOVE NOTES, ON PAPER

Pickwick Independent Press in Portland sells artist-made cards of all kinds – postcards, notecards, greeting cards – with creative, romantic messages. For $20, you can can get the Love Note Postcard Pack, with colorful cards by a variety of local artists. Some have innovative designs with hearts while others have messages like “Yer Great” or “Giant Hugs” written with graphic flair. For $4, you can get artist Rachel Kobasa’s Sweet Matchbook Notecards. They look like matchbooks but have either the message “You’re Real Sweet” or an image of a cake on the cover. The press delivers to the Portland area and says it will try to be as “swift as possible” on Valentine’s orders. To see all they offer, go to pickwickindependentpress.com.

Hiking with goats on Valentine’s Day at Ten Apple Farm in Gray. How cute is that? Photo by Karl Schatz

GO FOR THE GOAT

Everybody loves a goat. Ten Apple Farm in Gray offers hikes through the woods with goats, followed by goat milk and cookies. You walk along groomed trails and under snow-frosted trees with the farm’s herd of Alpine dairy goats. The hikes are two hours and include lots of information about goats, what they do and what makes them special. At press time, there were two goat hikes scheduled for Valentine’s weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Groups are limited to 12 and the hikes are filling up fast, but the farm says it will likely schedule morning Valentine’s weekend treks as well. The cost is $5 to $15 and includes goat milk and (heart-shaped) cookies. Masks are required. If the snow is heavy, you can bring snowshoes. For more information and to see when additional hikes might be scheduled, go to tenapplefarm.com

Halo at the Point in Portland will host a rom-com night Valentine’s Day, with loveseats. Photo courtesy of Halo at The Point

ROM-COM MOVIE NIGHT

Anybody can stay home and watch a romantic comedy movie on TV, but you can make it a little more special by going out to a place that’s made for socially distanced snuggling. Halo at Thompson’s Point has a lounge with 12 loveseats, spaced 10-feet apart, and 20-foot-high ceilings. On Valentine’s Day, the lounge will host a rom-com movie night at 6 p.m., and let the audience vote from three flicks on what to view: “Bridesmaids” (2011), starring Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy; “Mean Girls” (2004), starring Lindsay Lohan; and “Legally Blonde” (2001), starring Reese Witherspoon. A bar and concessions will be available. Tickets are $30. For more information and to buy tickets, go to thompsonspoint.com and search the event calendar.

Upscale Valentine’s Day take-out will be available from North 43 Bistro in South Portland. Photo courtesy of North 43 Bistro

DINNER DATE TO GO

One good thing about the pandemic, for those of us who like to eat at home, is that so many upscale, creative sit-down restaurants now offer takeout. So on Valentine’s Day, you might want to find out if some fancy eatery you’ve always wanted to try is doing meals to go. One place is North 43 Bistro, on the South Portland waterfront near Bug Light Park. The Valentine’s weekend menu includes pan-seared scallops with miso glazed butternut squash ragu and roasted green beans, for $25, and chicken Marsala with house-made pasta, sauteed baby spinach and roasted shiitake and oyster mushrooms, also for $25. The restaurant will also be open for dining in. For more information, go to north43bistro.com or call 207-747-4009.

Top of the East in Portland has date night boxes that include a first and third course prepared by the hotel’s chefs and an entrée to be cooked at home. The menu begins with a green salad, followed by mocha-rubbed hanger steak, pan-roasted green beans and oven-roasted baby red potatoes. The dessert is raspberry cheesecake. The deadline for ordering is noon Thursday or until they sell out, and pick-up is Friday. The cost is $85 for two. For more information and to order, go to thetopoftheeast.com. 

The Oshima Brothers will be part of a free online Valentine’s Day concert Saturday, presented by Chocolate Church Art Center in Bath. Photo by Robyn Nicole Film and Photo

SHARE THE VIRTUAL LOVE

The Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath is putting together a free Virtual Valentine’s Showcase of musical performances from well-known locals, and some not as well-known. Scheduled to perform in the pre-recorded show are Oshima Brothers, Love By Numb3rs, Duquette and Dancer and Peter Alexander. Plus, the Chocolate Church invited people to submit their own music video, and some of those will be included in the show. The two-hour show will be broadcast over the Chocolate Church’s Facebook page on Valentine’s Eve, Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, go to chocolatechurcharts.org.

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