Valentine’s Day on a Budget

By Beacon Staff

Fay Wolf, a manager at Woodland Floral in Kalispell, recommends a little creativity on Valentine’s Day.

“Don’t be that guy,” she says. “He only knows one thing: a dozen roses.”

At Woodland Floral a dozen roses will run you $92. But she points out that they have more cost effective alternatives for Valentine’s Day: chocolates, teddy bears, and balloons. “A lot of people do tulips,” she added. “You know, the whole ‘two lip’ idea.”

If you’re still procrastinating about what to do for your special someone on Valentine’s Day, you might be in trouble. But last minute ideas abound, and they’re financially feasible ones. And if you’re reading this after Valentine’s Day, well, here’s something to think about for next year.

Snowshoe/Cross-Country Ski at Whitefish Mountain Resort

Donnie Clapp, administrator of all things verbal at Whitefish Mountain Resort, says snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are nice changes of pace on the mountain. And they allow for some activities that can be difficult on downhill skis.

“You might see some wildlife, or have a picnic,” Clapp said. “Maybe duck-into the woods to make-out.”

If cross-country skiing requires too much coordination. Clapp advises donning a pair of snowshoes, after all he says, “It is just walking.”

Rental rates for cross-country snowshoes, boots and poles run $10 a half-day and $15 for a full day – a lot less than a lift ticket. And with the accumulated snowfall already exceeding 300 inches, there is no shortage of snow in which to play.

“People are going to be amazed by the quantity of snow,” Clapp said. “It is almost indescribable.”

Ice Skating

Taking your valentine down to Woodland Park for an evening skate and a cup of hot cocoa is definitely romantic, but remember, if dusting off an old pair of blades, get them sharpened first.

“The sharper the better,” says Wheaton’s ice skate cutler John Keenan. “It doesn’t matter how accomplished a skater you are. You’ll have the best response with a sharp blade.”

Adult skate rentals at Woodland Ice Center are only $4. If you want to pull out all the stops, or you just need a lot of room and want to impress your date with some triple-axels, rent the whole rink for $120 an hour.

Sleigh Ride

Self-propelled movement isn’t for everyone. So why not have someone else do the work? For $30 each you can get a sleigh ride at the Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish and have dinner for around $50 each.


For the sentimental, Stumptown Art Studio in Whitefish is the perfect cost-creative gift. Nothing impresses like giving something on which you spent a lot of time, if not a lot of money.

“You can make a fused glass pendant for seven dollars,” Stumptown Art Director Shelby Powell says. “Or personalize a mug or frame.”

Stumptown also offers pottery to paint, including heart-shaped bowls. “It’s unique and one of a kind,” Powell adds. “It’s art from the heart.”

$1-a-Minute Massage

Bribing him or her with a massage never hurt, and if you’re short on cash, give 30 minutes of heaven. Mirabelle Salon & Day Spa masseuse Jesse Morstad charges one dollar a minute for her Swedish and deep tissue massages.

Belated Valentine’s Day

If, after reading this article, you still blow Valentine’s Day or forget it altogether, don’t fret. You can get back in his or her good graces. Several Bigfork galleries will stay open late the night of Feb. 16, with live music by Dr. Donald Beans and Edmund Fitzgerald. Valentine’s Day artwork created by kids from the Somers/Lakeside Boys and Girls Club will also be on display.

“This is the first year we are doing this; we thought it would be a fun way to get people out and about,” Bayside Gallery owner Tammy Riecke said.

Great Northern Brewery and John Dunnigan

Perhaps your most entertaining choice for Valentine’s Day and the wisest – financially speaking of course – is a night out in downtown Whitefish. For once you can be cheap and feel good about it.

The tasting room at the Great Northern Brewery is open daily from noon to 8 p.m. If you make it by 7:30 p.m. you’ll have just enough time for a few free locally brewed oat sodas. Afterwards, walk across Central Avenue to the Great Northern Bar where you will find fabled singer-songwriter John Dunnigan. And for the holiday, Dunnigan plans to do some crooning.

“There won’t be any protest songs that night,” Dunnigan chuckled. “I love playing at the Northern – they let me do what I want.”

Musically, Dunnigan is one-of-a-kind with a comedian’s wit to match. The handlebar mustache-sporting guitarist said he’d probably play a few “lovey-dovey” numbers, but by no means would he go soft.

“It’s not like playing at The Lodge (at Whitefish Lake) around dinner time,” he said. “It’s music, it’s in a bar, and it’s at night.”

With the economy at stall speed, a night out on the town with music, drinks and dancing might not seem possible. But it is, and you can do it for free. Bear in mind, dignity left on the dance floor is priceless.