2018-02-08 / Viewpoint

Home is where the heart is

Rhonda Sanders — Staff writer

WalletHub’s “2018 Best Places for Valentine’s Day,” study made a timely arrival into my email box this week. It caught my attention that Detroit ranked 98 out of a 100 of the largest U.S. cities surveyed.

I view these types of ranking with a grain of salt. Many of my major celebrations in the Detroit area have been memorable and affordable. I believe that celebrating Valentine’s Day and other special occasions depends on the people involved, not the location.

I would rate Flint Township, Grand Blanc, Davison, Vienna Township, Mt. Morris Township and Flushing among top places to celebrate Valentine’s Day here in Genesee County. All have nice, romantic restaurants where I have celebrated special dinners.

The Wallet Hub study rated San Francisco as the top city to celebrate Valentines’ Day in. Ok. I’ve enjoyed a memorable meal there. Ditto for Las Vegas (3), Orlando (4), Chicago (5), and New York (6). For the full list, see https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-cities-for-valentines day/10056/ Wallet Hub, a personal-finance website, based its ranking on 23 key metrics including number of florists and jewelry stores per capita, forecasted precipitation and cost of a three-course meal for two.

WalletHub says that “Americans collectively will spend $19.6 billion on Valentine’s day. Men, on average, spend about $200 compared to $100 women spend.

But a great Valentine’s Day is about making special memories, not how much money is spent. Not to discourage spending. My favorite memory is the year my dear husband had a heartshaped cheesecake from the famed Junior’s in Brooklyn delivered to me packed in dry ice.

As for dinner, we usually eat out so no one has to cook. But eating in is under-rated. Last year, we dressed up to dine at our favorite seafood restaurant only to find nearly a two-hour wait there. Nothing romantic about that. So we stopped at our favorite seafood store, picked up two lobsters for less than we would have spent at the restaurant, and headed home to cook ourselves. Set the table with our best china and candles and voila – beautiful memories and no tip required.

As for candy, my husband knows that Frango chocolates sold at Macy’s are my favorites. They come gift-wrapped too. Alternatively, there are aisles of boxed candy displayed at grocery stores, drug stores and even gas stations. So who needs a lot of standalone chocolate shops — one of the WalletHub’s ratings criteria.

As for florists, my frugal husband has bought a box of red roses at a florist then arranged them in a dollar store vase dressed up with ribbons and balloons. Beautiful and personal. See how easy it is to have a top-ranked Valentine’s Day right here in Genesee County. No plane tickets required, although taking this cold spell into consideration, I would welcome a warm-weather getaway. Happy Valentine’s Day!

(Contact Rhonda Sanders at rsanders@mihomepaper.com.)

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