No, that’s not a typo. Valentine’s Day may not be until tomorrow, but the day before—February 13th—is best reserved for GALentine’s Day. What is it, you ask? Well, it’s best explained in the immortal words of Leslie Knope, a character played by Amy Poehler on the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation (which just happens to be my favorite show):
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The purpose of Galentine’s Day is for women to celebrate their fellow women (whether single, taken, or otherwise). But the spirit of the day is to pause and celebrate friendship regardless of your relationship status, during a time when you may be feeling overwhelmed by the new year or saddened by overcast winter days! Whether you keep it classic with brunch like Leslie and her ladies, or mix it up by beating the winter blues.
To give you some ideas for your own local Galentine’s Day celebration, my friend Erin and I celebrated a few days early by leaving our husbands at home and exploring one of our favorite towns in the MOV: Belpre, Ohio. Really, we did all of our favorite things without leaving one parking lot, which is my ideal outing.
Here’s our “suggested itinerary” in case you’d like to recreate our Galentine’s Day for your own evening on the town!
First Stop: Unicorn Wine Guild
A little après work imbibing was on our minds when we first arrived in Belpre. So the first thing on our plate for the evening was dropping into the Unicorn Wine Guild. Yes, a winemaker in Belpre! Some of the most delicious nectars you’ll ever taste, not to mention an awfully cute mascot. The Unicorn Wine Guild makes their own wines in-house from some of the best, concentrated juices from around the world, plus it features delicious locally-produced teas and wine-making (and drinking) accessories and gifts.
We were lucky enough to stop by while the owners, Barbara and Joel Whitaker, were there. In between 25-cent samples of everything from a classic dry chardonnay to a chocolate-raspberry port, they regaled us with stories of their younger days, from college all the way up to opening the wine guild in 2007. As a final project for a business class at Washington State Community College, Barbara designed a “fictional” business plan that ended up being the very real plan for opening the Unicorn Wine Guild—and the rest is living history.
Not only does the wine guild make for a great night out, but Joel is excellent at recommending wines for your at-home menu, as well as suggesting foods to pair with your favorite wine. But the most important thing we learned about pairing wine from Joel? At the end of the day, the only person who can make a perfect pairing is you. If you like a food, and you like a wine, you’ll like the pairing. It was a refreshing thing to hear from a certified vintner! No pretentiousness here.
After a few too many samples, we needed to walk it off. Lucky for us, the perfect place was right next door…
Next stop: Peddler’s Junction
Ah, Peddler’s Junction. “More than a flea market”—so much more! The huge location lends itself to a huge variety of offerings from scores of unique vendors. One vendor happened to be setting up his booth as we explored, and reminded us that, “If you can’t find anything you like today, just come back tomorrow and it will probably be here!”
Erin and I have very similar tastes when it comes to décor—mid-century modern styling and statues of forest creatures are things about which we tend to agree. But the beauty of a business like Peddler’s Junction is it also caters to our unique interests. My favorite purchase thus far is my vintage tin tray emblazoned with the Land O’ Lakes Butter logo, because the Minnesotan company serves as a reminder of my childhood home. Erin’s is a tiny little ceramic cat statue—she took one look at it and exclaimed “He needs a home!” There was no question that home was hers. From this trip, our favorite (and most timely) find were these adorable vintage Valentines:
There’s something special about giving vintage items new life while paying homage to their former ones. We found everything from an old record-holder end table that may have once held the best of the Rat Pack’s tunes, to a Brownie camera that my husband would have loved that has likely captured hundreds of memorable moments. But beyond just vintage items, Peddler’s Junction features vendors with primitives, crafts, and clothing, and other modern items that make it the perfect place to shop for gifts or home décor.
Our favorite booth was called “Remember When,” where Erin found the perfect vintage hat for a selfie.
All this shopping made us hungry, so we headed across the parking lot…
Last Stop: Food For Thought
For a late dinner before heading home, Erin and I spoiled ourselves rotten by eating at Food For Thought, an amazing restaurant that could please any palate. Although it was almost closing time when we arrived, the friendly staff greeted us and seated us without any complaints. The interior of the restaurant is gorgeous, with cozy, high-backed booths and unique colored ceiling lights. It makes a perfect date-night spot, whether you’re with your Galentine or another special someone.
Erin went for the special—grilled ham and cheese with potato soup—while I kept it classic Galentine’s Day with a breakfast pocket (Leslie would have wanted it that way). Did I mention you can get breakfast all day at Food For Thought? I think it might be my version of heaven.
There wasn’t much socializing during dinner, because everything was so delicious we couldn’t be bothered to do anything besides eat! Not only were we checked on often by our server, but the chef came out to check and see how we were enjoying our food. Hmm…let us think about that…
Amazing. No other word. Okay, two more words: Carrot. Cake.
All in all, our Belpre Galentine’s Day was a resounding success. When planning your own, remember that while Marietta and Parkersburg are great places to discover unique small businesses in the Mid-Ohio Valley, there are hidden gems in every local city. Don’t be afraid to explore and try new things—and do so with a friend, it always makes it a little more special.
Happy Galentine’s Day!