BENNINGTON >> Some say it was started by Hallmark, and others may not even know why it's celebrated; however, Valentine's Day stretches back to a Roman legend about Valentinus in 269 A.D. and his sentencing on the day of love.
According to Hallmark, Valentinus was imprisoned for his religious beliefs, and on the night before his death, he wrote a note to the jailer's blind daughter, whose sight Valentinus restored. He signed the farewell note "From Your Valentine," and the rest was history.
From chocolates, to teddy bears, to flowers that will die in a week, the local businesses in Bennington County have whatever a single or taken person needs for the day of modern gushiness. Whether the origin is true or not, here's a few ways to prepare for and celebrate loved ones on cupid's birthday.
The Gift Garden (343 W. Main St.) is celebrating its 40th year in business on Feb. 8 and offering a dozen of long-stem roses for $40. Its hours will be extended on Feb 13. from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until 5 p.m. on Feb. 14.
At The Tuscan Sunflower (318 North St.), there are flowers you won't find on 1-800 number flower commercials, owner Lynn Frost said. She has all kinds of fresh flowers including roses, plants, garden flowers, orchids, as well as a full line of plush animals, balloons and local chocolates. Frost is less stressed about the holiday this year because delivering flowers is much worse in winter storms. Usual hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the week and Frost said this will be the case for both Feb. 13 and 14.
The Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation Foundation (The Health Center) is hosting their 2nd annual Valentine's Day fundraiser. Red roses and fine milk chocolate covered strawberries will be sold to raise funds for the foundation. Milk chocolate covered strawberries are priced at $10 a box and roses range from $20 to $48. Items are available for sale and can be picked up at 43 Church Street on Feb. 13 from 3 to 6 p.m. or Feb. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Village Chocolate Shoppe (471 Main St.) has dipped strawberries in milk, dark and white chocolate that will be available on Feb. 13 and 14. The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 and 13 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 14.
Vermont Confectionary (1541 West Road) has a variety of chocolate candies that can be ordered for any mix as well as chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate truffles, chocolate pops, fudge, and specialty molded candies. On Feb. 13 its open 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on the 14th from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Crazy Russian Girls (443 Main St.) will continue regular hours throughout Valentine's Day weekend from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 12 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 13., while remaining closed on the 14th. The bakery is making hazelnut hearts with a raspberry filling and heart shaped butter cookies with cake orders made to pick-up.
At the Oldcastle Theatre (331 Main St.), the Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) will host the Gypsy Layne Cabaret & Co. on Feb. 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. Switch up the date night theme for some unique entertainment including live music, erotic humor and dynamic dance routines. Both men and women will perform in "cheeky sex apparel." This is the third year Gypsy Layne has come to Oldcastle and is known to sell out early.
R. John Wright Doll Studio public doll making tour (2402 West Road). This is the 40th anniversary the American doll maker has been producing hand-crafted dolls and the studio is hosting a first ever behind-the-scenes event on Feb. 12 and 13 from 10 to 6 p.m. The event is free and observers will receive a free heart souvenir.
On Feb. 12 the Bennington Community Theater will present a live radio comedy titled "My Darling Valentine" on WBTN (1370AM) at 7 p.m. This can also be live streamed at www.wbtnam.org.
"Say Anything" story time at Catamount Glass at 2 p.m. on Feb. 14 will feature true stories told by children ages five to 16 for four minutes each. Enjoy a beverage from the Tap House and listen to fellow youngsters as they use their imagination to recreate an honest experiment.
Four Corners North is putting on a Valentine's Eve Progressive Dinner to benefit PAVE (Project Against Violent Encounters). It starts at Hawkins House from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for hors d'ouvres and wine and moves down to the Catamount Tap House from 5:20 to 7:30 p.m. for a buffet of coq au vin (chicken braised with wine), pasta primavera, breads, salads, beer and wine. The last stop is at Bennington Potters from 6:30 to 8 p.m. for dessert and coffee. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at each venue or by calling 802-447-7531, ext. 21.
The Bennington Station (150 Depot St.) will be open all Valentine's Day weekend from 4 to 9 p.m. and will have a variety of dinner specials for the theme of the day.
The Grace Christian School Mission Team 2016 is hosting its annual Valentine's Day dinner on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. Fare includes, soda, coffee and tea, a tossed salad, beef or chicken and a dessert. The candlelight dinner costs $30 per couple and reservations can be made at 802-447-2233.
The Publyk House (782 Harwood Hill Road) will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 13 and 14 offering a range of specials including different appetizers and steak options as well as a holiday seafood platter and seasonal cocktails.
Some Valentine's Day facts (derived from FatWallet.com and Hallmark):