Creative ways to say ‘I love you’ to your valentine

By Molly Kaplowitz

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Sweet as they are, sometimes candy conversational hearts just don't spark the heart. Photo courtesy

Valentine’s Day is all about expressing love. Everyone has heard “I love you” before, but the words are overused and abused. They carry the same meaning each year – reservations at a swanky restaurant and a box of chocolates. Instead, mix it up – try these new phrases, and find out how much new meaning they can have.

“No matter how high the mountain, you’re worth the climb”: Get into the competitive spirit by scaling local rock walls in Rockville. I recommend Earth Treks, an inexpensive but high quality climbing center on Rockville Pike. The City of Rockville Climbing Gym is another option. Work up a sweat and make a bet on who’ll reach the top first.

“Let’s cook up a batch of love”: Instead of spending money on a fancy restaurant, take the fun home together. Print a few of your favorite recipes from or and go shopping for ingredients. Lay out a fun tablecloth and some flowers and candles on the table. This way you bring romance home without cleaning out your wallet.

“Baby, you’re wild”: Take a hike on the Billy Goat Trail, or one of the other scenic routes of the Great Falls area, and bring supplies for a romantic picnic along the way. Choose a spot with a view. Make a Valentine’s Day survival kit for your significant  other with a mix CD, conversation hearts, breath mints, chap stick and, of course, Hershey’s kisses. Just remember to pack up your trash afterwards!

“Time skates by when I’m with you”: Head downtown for a taste of winter fun at the National Gallery of Art’s Ice Rink. You can spend the day along side of your significant other, skating while taking in the magnificent sculptures of the Sculpture Garden and listening to the accompanying music. Warm up later with some hot cocoa at the Pavilion Café, which offers a one-of-a-kind view of the gardens.

“You’re a work of art”: Show off your artsy side by heading to local Bethesda venues All Fired Up or Color Me Mine, which let you pick out a ceramic item to paint to your liking. Paint something for each other and exchange gifts afterwards.

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