* NEW at 11:30 a.m.: I just received this information from Hotel Roanoke: We’ve arranged simple, elegant and trouble free options to impress the loved one in your life – from extravagant breakfast and luncheon buffets to intimate candlelight dinners (see below) featuring four-course table-side service and the elegant Grand Sunday Brunch Buffet offering heartwarming delights for you and your loved one to enjoy. Join us for a romantic evening in The Regency Room with an intimate and special dinner menu crafted by Executive Chef Billie Raper, or for the royal treatment, choose from one of our overnight deluxe accommodations packages. For more information or to make reservations call 540.985.5900 or visit http://www.hotelroanoke.com/specials/valentinesday.php
* NEW at 10:16 a.m.: The Inn at Riverbend in Pearisburg is offering several special packages for Valentine’s Day weekend. For additional information, go to their website here.
The Ultimate Romance Weekend (add $275 to your lodging choice – must have 72 hours advance notice to book)
1/2 Dozen Roses; Chocolate Covered Strawberries & a Bottle of Bubbly in your room.
Couples in-room massage
$50 gift certificate for Bank Tasting Menu
Arctic Blast for Lovers (add $375 to your lodging choice – must have 72 hours advance notice to book)
Three course dinner for two on Friday at the Inn
Half day float on the New River on Saturday. We’ll wrap you up and serve you hot chocolate and lunch
$50 gift certificate for dinner at The Palisades Restaurant
Star-gazing on the deck with the telescope (weather permitting)
Sweet Treat! (add $125 to your lodging choice)
Decedent Gift Basket in Room
$50 Gift Certificate for The Bank Food and Drink Restaurant
* The Blacksburg New School is hosting a chocolate party to raise funds for the school. This event takes place this Saturday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at University Mall in Blacksburg. At the party, you’ll find great Valentine’s Day gifts made by local artisans, kid fun in the form of face painting, cookie decorating and more, and- of course – delicious chocolate. Bonus: They will have gluten-free treats! For more info, go to the school website or call (540) 552-6693.
* The Natural Bridge Hotel is offering a sweet deal for Valentine’s weekend this weekend. For $139 per couple, you get one night’s accommodations, a prime rib dinner with live entertainment, a country-style breakfast and admission to the Natural Bridge, “which allows for a tranquil creek-side walk to Lace Falls.” Offer good Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday night. For reservations, call (800) 533-1410 or go to www.NaturalBridgeOffers.com.
* Other Valentine’s Day deals: Free dessert at Arzu International in Roanoke; choice of two entrees plus sides, dessert and soft drinks for $19.99 at Famous Anthony’s. I haven’t heard of any other restaurant specials happening. I wonder if that’s because Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year? If you are a restaurateur and you’d like to share some info, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* I’m a little late on this one, but Gunther’s Gourmet salsas and dressings, a brand owned by Roanoke natives Michael and Nick Lampros, had an exciting December. They found out they won a slew of 2010 Hot Pepper Awards from TheHotPepper.com, including first place in the condiment category for their Roasted Garlic and Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette and Marinade. Check out the awards here.
* The drive to get more farmers markets set up to accept SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) continues to ramp up. I know several local markets have been going through the government-required paperwork and steps to make this happen. Monday, the Virginia Department of Social Services put out a press release saying it is “launching a statewide program that will allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) participants to use an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card at select local farmers market and individual farmers through the a [sic] wireless point-of-sale device.
‘In 2010, the average monthly number of Virginia’s SNAP recipients increased by 24 percent, that’s almost one out of every seven Virginians receiving SNAP benefits at some point during the year,’ said VDSS Commissioner Martin D. Brown.”
This program will require farmers markets to submit a proposal for the funding, and because there isn’t enough money to go around to all of them, those with the best proposals will be funded.