Arts & Entertainment

Celebrating Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day Weekend in Sussex County

Decadent treats at the Candy Apple Shoppe in the Glenwood section of Vernon Township. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The Biosphere Pool at Crystal Springs Resorts. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
An array of candy apples for purchase at the Candy Apple Shoppe. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A dark Belgian Chocolate dome, filled with blood orange white chocolate mousse, drizzled with passionfruit, and topped with candied orange; an exquisite dessert at the Mohawk House in Sparta. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A view of some of the 135,000 wines at the wine cellar in Crystal Springs Resorts. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Outside the red-themed Reflections Spa at Crystal Springs Resort; apropos for Valentine's Day. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A glimpse into the relaxing world of Reflections Spa at Crystal Springs Resort. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – There are special things to buy, places to go and things to do throughout all of the reading areas within The Alternative Press territories tomorrow, and through the weekend, to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Many establishments throughout the county are beginning festivities tomorrow, through the weekend. Here are samplings of some great things going on in Sussex County.


Hardyston area:

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Crystal Springs – Step out of the cold, and into the warmth of the Grand Cascades Lodge luxury hotel in Hardyston, one of the properties run by Crystal Springs Resort.

The luxurious resort has many amenities to enjoy this Valentine’s Day weekend. Plush premium guest rooms (starting at 340 square feet) to two bedroom suites with fireplaces and decks (at 1,544 square feet), and everything in between, is how guests can relax at the Grand Cascades.

There are opportunities for fine dining at Restaurant Latour, as well as opportunities to enjoy fine wines from the Wine Cellar, with over 135,000 bottles of wine, some dating back to the 1700’s.

“It [the wine cellar] was the passion of the owner, Gene Mulvihill,” said Chelsea Vandergroof, Crystal Springs Social Media and PR Manager.

The Alternative Press had the opportunity to tour the cellar with Vandergroof,

“Every bottle has a unique story,” said Vandergroof of the collection.

Guests can enjoy special tastings in the Wine Cellar.

All wines are for sale for tasting, except for collection of wines with the hand-painted Erte bottles, which are for display only.

One of the unique Valentine’s Day ideas which stemmed from the wine cellar was, a man asked in one of the past years to rent out one of the small rooms (there are currently eight in the cellar, and the ninth is being completed), and he proposed to his special valentine.

All restaurants at the Crystal Springs Resort, Vandergroof said, have Valentine’s Day meal specials on Feb. 14.  For a complete listing of Valentine’s meals, click here for more information. All Valentine’s Dinner reservations will receive two free snowtubing tickets, or one free Minerals Sports Club Day Passes.

There are some special packages, including Winter Getaway Specials and Packages, and Spa Packages, Dining and Wine Packages, and Winter Vacation Packages. Click here for the website, or call (973) 827-5996, ext. 2, for more information.

The Grand Cascades Lodge also has the Biosphere Pool, which is tropical inside, no matter what time of year it is.

And the Reflections Spa is another way to relax while indulging at Crystal Springs.


Cravin Thai – Cravin Thai is a well-liked Thai-inspired restaurant in the heart of Hamburg, at 4 Main Street. Tomorrow, there are still a few reservations available, according to their restaurant, but only after 8:30 p.m. A representative from the restaurant said there are dinner and drink specials for Valentine’s Day dinner. For readers still looking to possibly reserve a table after 8:30 p.m., call: (973) 209-THAI (8424). 

Cick here for the restaurant's Facebook Page.


Hopatcong area:

Bell’s Mansion – Bell’s Mansion has just announced their Valentine’s Day specials on their Facebook Page

From Lobster Bisque to steamed clams to their famous Pierogies (a crab variety, served with spicy sesame mayo) to start, Surf & Turf, Grouper or Pork Ossobucco, and more as entrees, and complimentary desserts for reservations made for meals enjoyed between the hours of noon and 6 p.m., all the days throughout the weekend.

“We have the regular menu as well as specials,” said Anna Kaczynski, one of the restaurant owners.

Kaczinski said the foods on the Valentine’s Day menu are ones that can be shared.

Every Friday night at Bell’s Mansion there is live entertainment in the Bell’s Mansion stained-glass and wood-accented bar area.

Bell’s Mansion is located at 11 Main Street in Stanhope, and their phone number is (973) 426-9977. Click here for the restaurant’s website. 


Lockwood Farms – Lockwood Farms, located on 35 Route 206 in Stanhope, has other ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Long-stemmed roses, carnations, tulips, and lilies are among the flowers one can purchase for their loved one, starting at $54.99 a dozen. Lockwood Farms also offers hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries in one-half pound to one-pound boxes. Their store is open tomorrow, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call for more information: (973) 347-3010, or click here for Lockwood Farms’ Facebook Page


Pavinci Italian Grill – Pavinci Italian Grill at 453 River Styx Road in Hopatcong, will celebrate Valentine’s Day not only tomorrow night, but the festivities will keep up throughout the weekend as well.

“It’s not an event night, it’s a low-profile night,” said Mario Ferra, with the holiday itself taking place this year on a Thursday.

The Alternative Press discovered many businesses around the area shared Ferra's sentiments,  based on the many establishments carrying the celebration throughout the weekend.

Ferra said the restaurant will have their regular menu on Valentine’s Day, and reservations are recommended. 

The third Tuesday of the month, according to Pavinci Italian Grill, Silver Starlight Orchestra will also appear, “bringing back the big band sound of yesteryear.”

February’s musical theme at Pavinci is “Love, Love, Love.” Click here for more information from Pavinci about the Silver Starlight Orchestra on The Alternative Press. 

Throughout the weekend, Pavinci Italian Grill has several events. Starting on Valentine’s Night, DJ Tom will be spinning songs, starting at 9 p.m. On Friday night, is the Mardi Gras Party with Street Hassle, featuring Classic Rock Top 40, on Saturday night is Jersey Sound, Oldies Rock and Roll. And the weekend is rounded out with Sunday Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Karaoke with Kip from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the evening. Call: (973) 770-4300 for more information, or click here for the restaurant’s website. 


Newton area:

Krave Café and Caterers – Krave Café and Caterers has only one reservation left for tomorrow evening, which can accommodate up to four people, and is for 9:30 p.m.

“We are booked solid,” said Christine, one of the restaurant’s employees.

She said the restaurant has a fixed price menu for Valentine’s Day that is $50 per person, with items such as Sesame Smoked Salmon Roulade, Truffle Chestnut and Pancetta Soup, and Wild Mushroom Brie Strudel to start. Filet Mignon and Swordfish, or Duck Breast and Corn Meal Oyster, or New Zealand Lamb Chops and Grilled Scallops as an entrée. And lastly dessert, such as Sabayon Napoleon, Strudel with raspberries, chocolate and mascarpone, or Crème Brûlée.

Krave Café and Caterers has dining availability over the weekend as well. Call for reservations.

Krave Café and Caterers is located at 102 Sparta Avenue in Newton, at (973) 383-2600. Click here for the restaurant’s Facebook Page


The Plaza Restaurant – The Plaza Restaurant is located in the heart of Newton on 118 Spring Street, and specializes in breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in a nostalgic setting.

“We have a special menu for Valentine’s Day,” said the restaurant’s owner, Frank DeSario. “You get an appetizer, two dinners, dessert, and soda, for $44.95.”

The special at The Plaza Restaurant, applies for dinners, not just on Valentine’s Day, but through Saturday night, Feb. 16.

De Sario said diners could order off of the regular menu, and also from the special menu.

Specials include: Salmon Pesto, a New York Strip Steak with mushroom mustard Dijon sauce, and Chicken Parmesan with Vodka Sauce.

Call for reservations at The Plaza Restaurant at: (973) 383-9992, and click here for the restaurant’s website. 


Inner Designs by Robin Lennon – If readers were looking to shop for Valentine’s Day, Inner Designs, which is located at 205 Spring Street, and features fashion and interior design in a New York style boutique, is offering a sale through Saturday.


The holiday sale includes 30 percent off of “Anything Red” (or close to red), including scarves, hats, jackets, bags, and more.

Inner Designs’ Inner Arts Society is offering a “playshop” on Sunday, Feb. 17, which is Collage Card Making, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. It is $35 including materials.

The other offering from the Inner Arts Society is also on Feb. 17, and is “Creating Your Own Personal Scent.” The event runs from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is $28, including the cost of materials. Call: (646) 645-1003. Click here for more information about Inner Designs on Facebook


Sparta area:

Mohawk House –The Mohawk House, at 3 Sparta Junction, always has something happening.  In addition to their extensive gourmet menu, there are big entertainment acts. On Valentine’s Day from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., there is “A Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” starring Steven Maglio, with cocktails, and hand-rolled cigars by Toni Santana, to round out the mood.

On Friday, Feb. 15, The Benjamins perform. The group, which was formed in 1999, is a high-energy cover band, performing songs from every genre, and every era. The Benjamins hit The Mohawk House Stage at 9 p.m.

After a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day, the Mohawk House recommended on its Facebook Page, one of their specialty desserts, the Belgian Dark Chocolate Dome, with blood orange white chocolate mousse, passion fruit puree, and candied citrus zest (The Alternative Press has featured a photo of this dessert in the article, from when The Alternative Press tried the dessert at the Mohawk House).

For reservations or more information, call the Mohawk House at: (973) 729-6464, or, go to the restaurant’s Facebook Page,  or website for more information.


Sparta Classic Diner – The Sparta Classic Diner is offering a Valentine’s Day Menu tomorrow, for $25 per person. The diner is located at 80 Woodport Road in Sparta. The menu includes a choice of one appetizer, either crispy calamari, or a Maryland Crab Cake; then a choice of soup or salad; then an entrée, such as roasted leg of lamb, pork chops, prime rib, lobster ravioli, or Chicken Marsala; and finished off with a choice of one dessert, such as Red Velvet Cake, or Lemon Meringue Tart.

Click here for the complete menu on Facebook. Call for more information or reservations: (973) 729-2425.


St. Moritz Grill & Bar – The St. Moritz Grill & Bar, located at 9 White Deer Plaza, has Valentine’s Dinner Specials, and, their “4 Days of Valentine’s” starting tomorrow. There will be dinner specials all weekend.

“We recommend and accept reservations,” said Rachel Cunningham, the restaurant’s manager.

She named some of the mouth-watering specials included for Valentine’s Day, such as: pan-seared diver scallops, with dill caper and white chocolate sauce; duck and spinach salad; twin lobster surf and turf; and seafood risotto.

The Pheiffer Twins, Linsay and Carrie, will be performing from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Boys Nite Out will be there on Friday at 8:30 p.m, and MuMu on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Call St. Moritz Grill & Bar at: (973) 729-5677, for more information, or reservations. Click here for the restaurant’s Facebook Page, and website


Sussex area:

Riviera Maya – In the mood for Mexican for Valentine’s Day, or over the weekend? Check out Riviera Maya, located at 340 Route 206 in Branchville.

The restaurant said in honor of Valentine’s Day, they are featuring Red Velvet Cake, with cream cheese frosting, made by Carousel Cakes, as one of their special desserts. The restaurant is accepting Valentine’s Day reservations, and will have a Mariachi Band for entertainment.

Call for more information:  (973) 875-6292, or click here for the restaurant’s Facebook Page.


Sussex County Florist – The Sussex County Florist still appears to be taking orders for Valentine’s Day. They offer free delivery for local online orders. Delivery is available for: Sussex, Wantage, Hardyston, Franklin, McAfee, Ogdensburg, Lafayette, and Vernon. The florist also delivers to St. Clare’s and Vernon Urgent Care, if a reader is looking to deliver flowers to a Valentine at work, and to High Point, Wallkill Valley, and Sussex County Technical Schools.

Bouquets on the florist’s website range from $38.95 to $238.95 delivered.

There is a large array for Valentine’s Day, with floral arrangements featured here.

The store is located at 121 Route 23 in Sussex, and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Call: (973) 875-0855.


Vernon area:

Apple Valley Inn Bed & Breakfast – The Apple Valley Inn Bed & Breakfast has some special Valentine’s Day getaway packages this holiday weekend.

There is the Chocolate Lovers Tasty Retreat, with chocolates from the Candy Apple Shoppe, which is adjacent to the property, topping off a two-night double occupancy stay at the Inn, with a full country breakfast each day. The sweets include a half-pound box of truffles, assorted milk and dark chocolates, and four chocolate-covered strawberries. A gourmet Heath Bar apple goes home after the stay. Packages range from $370 to $390, with tax included.

There is also the “Let’s Go to the Movies” package, with a two-night stay, full country breakfast each day, and movie gift basket, filled with candies. And, whenever guests decide it is movie time, the innkeepers deliver fresh-popped popcorn and soda to the room. The stay is $355 to $375, including tax.

The “Weekend Romance Package, includes a two-night stay, one-half hour in-room massage for each guest, bottle of champagne, and box of gourmet chocolates. Packages range from $450 to $470 (tax included).

Call: (973) 764-3735, for reservations, or go to the Inn’s website by clicking here.


Candy Apple Shoppe – The Candy Apple Shoppe located on 967 Route 517 at the Apple Valley Inn Bed & Breakfast’s property, is in the Glenwood section of Vernon Township, will be open tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., for those looking for sweets for their sweethearts. Chocolate covered cherries and blueberries, freshly dipped chocolate-covered strawberries, homemade candies, and of course their wide array of candy apples, are available for purchase. And, the store also has some other unique gift ideas. Click here for the store’s Facebook Page.


Mineral Springs – The Minerals Resort & Spa is part of the Crystal Springs Resort complex, located in Vernon Township. Guest rooms at Minerals range from Deluxe Guest Rooms (298 square feet) to Presidential Suites and even condominiums in Great Gorge Village, with one to three bedrooms.

On site amenities at Minerals Resort & Spa include the Elements Spa, where guests can enjoy a menu of spa services, including spa treatments for two.

The Minerals Sports Club features seven indoor/outdoor pools, and a 6,000 square foot fitness center, with activities to keep readers busy for the day, or the entire weekend, if they choose to stay. The sauna, steam room, and other benefits are part of the experience.

The Appalachian is another possibility at Mountain Creek, which is a mountain lodge situated right at Mountain Creek  with comfortable guest rooms, access to the slopes, and more.

Black Creek Sanctuary is another mountain creek experience, at the base of the slopes, with year-round pools, and hot tubs, to fully enjoy the stay.

Click here for Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day weekend packages for all. Or call: (973) 827-5996. 


Nordic House – The Nordic House located at 233 Route 94 in Vermon, will celebrate their traditional weekly movie night on Friday, not just their usual movie night, but Valentine’s Movie Night. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for movie night, and the movie starts right at 8 p.m. Gourmet desserts, and espresso-based drinks, and teas, are on the menu. Gourmet desserts include Norwegian Sour Dough Heart Waffles, Almond Kringle, Apple Cinnamon Freya, Chocolate-layered Krumkake, Valhalla triple-chocolate Brownies, and Kladakake (chocolate cake).

Seating is limited at the theater, so reservations are required. Call for reservations: (845) 545-5762. Or, click here for the Vernon Nordic House’s website, and the weblink with more information about the Friday Night Movie Club. 


Editor's Note: Happy Valentine's Day to all of our readers!

Follow The Alternative Press of Sussex County for Sussex County News, as well as The Alternative Press of Sussex County's Facebook Page, for news, and other information.


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