What cracks the deepest freeze of winter? A warm heart, and February is just the time to stoke up a little romance. Here are a dozen ways to woo your Valentine.
Cave of the Mounds, Blue Mounds, opens its Cathedral Room and more to couples from 5-7 p.m. Feb 14. This by-reservation opportunity is only for people at least 21 years old.
Follow pathways lit by candles at the National Natural Landmark, and sip champagne in the North Cave. Steal a kiss at a heart-shaped rock that is at least 50 feet underground, and linger afterward at the Visitor Center’s fireplace for a reception with music, appetizers, sweets and adult beverages.
The cave’s constant 50-degree temperature, best known as a cool respite during summer, might feel almost balmy at this time of year. Cost is $60 per person. The attraction also conducts one-hour group tours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily ($18 for adults, $9 for ages 4-12 years). caveofthemounds.com, 608-437-3038
Stoughton Village Players, a community theater group, sweetens its next comic musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” by serving a dessert buffet at intermission.
“You will not leave hungry with a huge hall full of mostly homemade treats,” the group promises. Tickets to these sugar-induced shows at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12-14 and 2 p.m. Feb. 15 are $35 for two or $20 for a single reservation.
The show at United Church of Christ, 5710 Anthony St., McFarland, also is a fundraiser for the local food pantry. stoughtonvillageplayers.org
The Abby Resort, Fontana, is introducing two-night specialty getaways that are big on pampering, but not on Valentine’s Day.
Unwind Wine Weekends start at $169 per night for two people and are offered Feb. 6-8, March 6-8 and April 17-19. Besides lodging, the weekend includes a cooking demo, wine tasting event, five-course dinner with matching wines and discounts on Sunday brunch and spa services.
Unwind Spa Weekends start at $199 per night for two people and include yoga, qui gong and pilates classes, a spa breakfast for two, choice of massage or facial for each guest and access to pools and inhalation rooms.
The 90-acre resort is on the shore of Geneva Lake, reached its 50th anniversary in 2013 and has undergone extensive renovation. Both types of Unwind Weekends require a two-night stay. theabbeyresort.com, 800-709-1323
In Celebration of Chocolate, an annual event in and near The American Club in Kohler, begins with a Feb. 6 dinner of chocolate-infused courses and matching wines. Cost is $127 per person.
Feb. 7 is a miniature version of the popular autumn Food and Wine Experience because of a la carte workshop choices that match chocolate with other indulgences. Chocolate for breakfast, coffee and chocolate, liqueurs and chocolate, wine and chocolate – you get the idea. Exact cost, $30-48 per session, depends on the topic.
Sugar-High, choco-centric dining and entertainment, ends the day at $83 per ticket. The Feb. 8 Chocolate Lovers’ Brunch is $38. To pre-register for events: destinationkohler.com, 855-444-2838
Noticeably less expensive and sweetly intense is the Downtown Appleton Death by Chocolate, 1-4:30 p.m. Feb. 14, when 18 local businesses each supply a chocolate-induced treat. A $20 ticket equals access to all: chocolate beer to white chocolate chicken tostada. appletondowntown.org, 920-954-9112
Splash Studio: A Painting Bar presents the Red Hot Love Fest, Feb. 11-15, which means following a local artist’s coaching to create a picture while sipping a cocktail or two. The fee is $33 or $45, depending on the time and painting. Leave with whatever you create with paint, plus a four-piece box of chocolates. splashmilwaukee.com, 414-882-7621
Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra’s definition of “A Fine Romance,” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Capitol Civic Centre, is a mix of Broadway and Beatles tunes, opera and classical snippets. Tickets are $7-32. manitowocsymphonyorchestra.org, 920-683-2184
The Wine and Chocolate Obsession at NorthLeaf Winery, Milton, means six pairings at $12 per person from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 13-14. From 7-9 p.m., a three-course fondue dinner, with live music, costs $110 per couple. Reservations required. northleafwinery.com, 608-580-0575
A romantic ride on the Mid-Continent Railway Snow Train, North Freedom, lasts 55 minutes during four time slots on Feb. 14-15. Act faster next year and claim a spot on the three-hour dinner train ride. The shorter-ride tickets are $21 (less for seniors, students). midcontinent.org, 608-522-4261
Skiing, snowshoeing or hiking by candlelight is possible at these state parks on Feb. 14: Lake Kegonsa, Stoughton, 608-873-9695; Kohler-Andrae, Sheboygan, 920-451-4080; Interstate, St. Croix Falls, 715-483-3747; Newport, Ellison Bay, 920-854-2500; Willow River, Hudson, 715-386-5931; and Rib Mountain, Wausau, 715-581-7983. dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks
The Feb. 14 “Return to Romance” program at Richard Bong State Recreational Area, Kansasville, adds string music, desserts and hot drinks. bongnaturalistassociation.org, 262-878-5600