February: Celebrating Love and Hygge

2.03

CRUNCH ON SUPERBOWL SUNDAY

While not an established national holiday, Super Bowl Sunday might as well be added to the official calendar. And what’s game day without kick-butt, spicy finger foods like wings, nachos and nachos. And wings. Oh, there’s also Ocean City’s Fisher’s Popcorn. Fisher’s has been popping the stuff since 1937, and you don’t need to stroll the boardwalk to get your fix of white cheddar, cinnamon caramel, Old Bay and caramel chocolate drizzle. Show your support of the home team with the NFL licensed one pound party pack.  –T.M.G.

2.14

VALENTINE’S DINING: THINK OUTSIDE THE HEART-SHAPED BOX

According to the National Restaurant Association, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants—second only to Mother’s Day. There’s good reason for that: A great meal is a memorable and romantic gesture. But with so many love-struck diners descending on restaurants on February 14, creating that special experience requires some creative thinking.

If you’re dead-set on a classic Valentine’s meal in a romantic setting, like something you might find at The Milton Inn in Sparks or Chez Hugo Bistro in Baltimore, consider dining out a day or two before or after the actual holiday. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday, which means that many restaurants will continue the celebration through the weekend. At Citron in Baltimore, Chef Matt Newland (recently executive sous at Wit & Wisdom) who recently introduced a tasting menu at the restaurant, will craft a special prix fixe that will be available through Saturday.

If dinner absolutely must take place on Valentine’s Day proper, look for spots that aren’t traditional Valentine’s Day choices, but can be just as enjoyable, like the charming BYOB Tigi’s Ethiopian Restaurant in Ellicott City or The BBQ Joint in Easton. Both might be a little messy, but that’s part of the fun.

There’s no rule that says Valentine’s Day has to be celebrated over dinner, either. Gorge on oysters during brunch at Addie’s in Potomac, head to Annapolis to explore Preserve’s interesting, hyper-local menu during a leisurely lunch, or opt for an afternoon of beer tasting and appetizers at a brew-centric spot like Frederick’s restaurant/brewery Barley & Hops.

No matter when or where you celebrate, make a reservation, or at least call ahead to check on the wait. Because poor planning is not an aphrodisiac. –Kit Waskom Pollard

02.22

BALTIMORE CRAFT SHOW

If you’re in search of something bright and shiny to get you through the rest of winter, the nation’s largest juried indoor craft show has got you covered. First time attendees to the American Craft Show, held at the Baltimore Convention Center, may want to browse the directory to chart a course through the massive exhibit floor. More than 650 of the country’s top contemporary artists are on site showing their jewelry, clothing, furniture and home décor. Last year more than 50,000 shoppers attended.

HUNKER DOWN LIKE A DANE

The Danish are different from you and me. While the rest of us shrink from wintertime’s endless darkness and assaulting chill, they celebrate the season by embracing hygge—the concept of surrounding yourself with all things cozy and snug. By taking such an approach, Danes are able to wrest from the year’s coldest months some of its warmest memories.

Luckily, winters below the Mason-Dixon Line are less dramatic than those above the Arctic Circle. But that doesn’t mean it never gets frosty around here—it can feel downright Nordic sometimes. And when it does? It’s time to get your hygge on.

“We are professional hygge-ers here!” says Elizabeth Williams, marketing manager of Savage River Lodge, an upscale Garrett County getaway that boasts miles of wooded trails and 120 inches of annual snowfall. With fireplaces in each of its 26 cabins and yurts, plus a luxe double-sided hearth in the main lodge, Savage River is an idyllic locale for snowshoeing, scouting animal tracks in the fresh powder and other frigid fun.

Or you can ditch Snow Miser altogether and get straight to the hygge.

The innkeepers deliver homemade muffins and juice to your cabin’s front porch every morning, which you can enjoy with your morning coffee or cocoa while snuggled on the front porch looking out over the snowy woods.

Better yet, chase away the chill with a Lodge Old Fashioned, crafted with bourbon and local maple syrup. Our friends in Denmark would surely drink to that!  –Holly Smith

 

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