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Planning Some “Girlfriend Fun” This Valentine’s Weekend

February 1, 2016

We have the perfect anecdote to the romantic haze of the upcoming holiday weekend. This year Valentine’s Day happens to fall on President’s Weekend, so this means a full 3-day weekend of love-birds and starry-eyed couples. Restaurants will be busy with a flurry of reservations.

For those ladies out there who are without a romance to “call their own” have no fear. Here we have uncovered some wonderful alternatives that are creative and perfect for a girlfriend outing – day or evening. Go ahead, paint the town, and plan a sensational weekend. Here are some suggestions to get you started…

IMG_0149Did someone say “paint”? An evening of Paint and Sip is really a blast. And right here in Newport Beach there is a special venue to do just that – Timree’s Studio. You can bring your own wine/cocktails & appetizers to enjoy with your guests. In her charming studio, Timree provides excellent step-by-step instruction on painting a picture. Small easels are set on the tables and you can just let the fun begin. You literally do go home with a painted canvas! My suggestion is to arrange your visit based on what scene you would like to paint. She offers so many and they are always changing. Timree’s Studio is located on Old Newport Road near PCH, and she also offers kids classes, mother & daughter painting and hosts private parties. This is also my go-to for girlfriend birthday gift giving.

Roger’s Gardens is just heavenly for garden lovers. I enjoy walking around the Boutique Barns, the rose garden and marveling at all the fabulous plantings and manicured grounds. It is a garden sanctuary. And on February 13th, Saturday, from 9:00-10:00am, Chef Rich Mead will be featuring a free seminar on “One Pot Slow Cooking”. He is opening a lovely restaurant there on-site aptly named Farmhouse, and it will open summer of 2016! I suggest you park at the back lot, and you will be steps away from where the seminar is held.

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An “Evening Illumination Garden Tour” will be offered at Sherman Gardens on both Saturday and Sunday, February 13th and 14th from 5-8pm. They will be offing a stroll through the gardens by soft light and will feature three art installations. Beer and wine will be available for purchase and tickets are $5 per person.

Tango DancersAlso at Sherman Gardens, how about an evening Tango Dance Performance & Dinner in the garden? Chef Pascal Olhats has a wonderful restaurant here in Corona del Mar, and will feature a fun event on both February 13th and 14th from 5-8pm. Café Jardin is a special setting overlooking the central garden. “Two to Tango!” will feature a sumptuous 4-course prix-fixe menu along with dynamic performances throughout the evening by professional Tango dancers. The cost is $85 per person. Reservations can be made via Open Table or by calling
(949) 673-0033.

For those who love cooking classes, there is nothing like whipping something up with friends in the kitchen. Sur La Table in Newport Beach is offering some fun classes. During the day on February 11th, they will be making macarons, on the 12th there will be a Fondue Party class, on the 13th a family fun sweet Valentine treats class, and in the evening on the 12-14th there is a date night Italian-themed cooking class. But there is no reason girlfriends could not join that party, right?

sup-thirsty-thursHow about paddle-boarding in the Back Bay? There are two options here. The Newport Aquatic Center is located on the north side of the Back Bay. The calm waters make this the perfect spot for the rental of: kayaking, stand up paddleboards, canoes and they also offer guided tours through the Estuary. Location is White Cliffs Dr. guests enter near Dover & Westcliff. Located at Newport Dunes, is the Pirate Coast Paddle Company. They rent paddle boards, and starting back up in April, they offer a unique evening “Glow Night” guided tour. The stand-up paddle boards feature a light to illuminate the marine life below.
This is a great deal of fun!

Girl in MotionTour the coast on an electric bike! Our local Corona del Mar Pedego retail store sells electric bikes, but they also rent bikes (complete with a map with directions) and arrange interesting guided tours as well. The company just unveiled a new foldable bike too, and that can be test-driven at the store. We have recently completed 3 rides that will all bring you and your friends “back to nature”. It is great fun and we laughed our way all over town! You can print the directions and follow along quite easily. Just pick your path… and we have designed this to keep you off the main roads as much as possible.
1) Balboa Island and Peninsula Tour

2) Crystal Cove & Pelican Hill Tour

3) Back Bay & The Estuary Tour

There really is nothing like live music, and here are some of my favorites. There is a four-day Jazz Party at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Jazz music will fill the air both day and evenings during the 16th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party (February 11-14, 2016). Imagine 30 concerts with reserved seating in one of two ballrooms and the restaurant, poolside sessions (with open seating), two jazz brunches, and a Valentine’s Dinner & Show as well. This is four days jam-packed with some of the best jazz talent–from vocalists to big bands, piano soloists to bass and guitar. Event tickets, packages and guest room accommodations can be purchased by calling the Jazz Line (949) 759-5003, or by visiting the web site. Some local restaurants offer music every night of the week, while others offer music most evenings. For nightly live music, this can be found at: Billy’s at the Beach, 21 Oceanfront, The Blue Beet, Bayside, Port Restaurant and Mastro’s Ocean Club (in Crystal Cove). Other venues offering live music many nights. Ritz Prime Seafood offers music most evenings in the bar area. Tommy Bahama Island Grille featuring island & contemporary music Thursday thru Saturday evenings and Sunday’s at lunch time. The Aqua Lounge offers DJ music Thursday thru Saturday. Pelican Grill has music Thursday thru Saturday. Muldoon’s Irish Pub offers music Thursdays thru Saturdays, Quiet Woman has music Tuesdays thru Saturdays, Alta Coffee & Restaurant on the Peninsula has music Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings with everything from jazz to folk music. The Village Inn on Balboa Island has music most nights with a nice schedule posted on their web site. Do check schedules for music and times, as this can change.

The Spa at Island Hotel

The Spa at Island Hotel

And lastly, for those who would just like to relax–a day at the Spa is just the right choice for some pampering and relaxation. The Spa at Pelican Hill has added an 80-minute body-polish treatment which sounds heavenly. The Coconut Neroli Body Polish offers a rich, gently astringent body buff of powdered orange peel and hibiscus flowers that will polish, tone and refresh the skin, followed by a warm coconut mask for the hands and feet, along with a head, shoulder and neck message ($230 Monday-Thursday or $265 Friday-Sunday). There are also other spas about town, including at: Pure Blu Spa, The Spa at Island Hotel and Spa Gregorie’s located near Muldoon’s.
We hope that we have given you some fun ideas to explore and design a wonderful weekend with friends!

Written by Deirdre Michalski

Deirdre Michalski is a travel and culinary writer covering topics near and far. You can read more about her adventures on her web site www.TastesAndTravel.com

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