Debbie Croft: Plenty of options for romantic getaways in Sierras

February 7, 2013 

In honor of St. Valentine's Day several foothills and mountain communities have planned something special for sweethearts. There's still time to make reservations, but don't delay.

With heartfelt thanks, Mariposa merchants invite residents and visitors to step inside their shops and restaurants next week. Discounts on selected items and drawings for gift certificates and gift baskets will be offered Feb 14-16. No purchase is necessary to enter. It's the Mariposa merchants' way of saying thanks for doing business in our neck of the woods.

In Columbia State Historic Park the City Hotel and Restaurant invites you to its annual Valentine's Day dinner. Candlelight, a gourmet menu, history, entertainment and the romance of the Mother Lode await dinner guests Feb 14. Doors open at 4 p.m., and dinner will be served until 8.

Renowned western fiddler and minstrel Dave Rainwater will play Victorian-era songs as well as well-known love songs and special requests. Mark Twain is scheduled to appear to tell tales of the Mother Lode and share loving anecdotes about his sweetheart, Livy. Visit www.cityhotel.com for details, or call (209) 532-1479.

According to Yosemite National Park, the top 10 ways to celebrate can happen in one of America's most beautiful recreation areas. If you're one of those unfortunate individuals born without a romance gene, the following list may be of help:

• Spend the night at Glacier Point's ski hut after making a cross-country ski trip. The stone and timber lodge sits at 7,300 feet, providing views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and the High Sierra. Remember to check in at the Badger Pass Nordic Ski Center and the National Park Service A-frame before starting your trip.

• Pop the question or spend a few hours reminiscing over a candlelight dinner in the elegant Ahwahnee dining room or the cozy Mountain Room Restaurant.

• A chairlift is a great place to snuggle together while being carried to the top of a run at the Badger Pass ski area.

• If you don't mind the cold and want to get close to the one you love, the unheated tent cabins in Curry Village are always affordable.

• See the wonders of the park on the two-hour Valley Floor Tour, departing twice daily from Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Hold hands and relax while someone else does the driving.

• Roast marshmallows with your sweetheart over the open fire pit in the Mountain Room Lodge.

• Ice skate in the moonlight and sip hot cocoa by the fire at the outdoor skating rink in Curry Village.

• Rent snowshoes and take a walk on the miles of secluded trails, many of which offer spectacular views of Yosemite in the winter.

• Renew your wedding vows in the 134-year-old Yosemite Valley Chapel.

• Spend the night or a weekend at one of Yosemite's historic lodges.

For details visit www.yosemitepark.com.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at composed@tds.net.

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