As if it were news to anyone, the Greater Olean area shares little in common with Venice, Paris and the Maldives.
According to a U.S. News Travel article published in late 2017, these locations rank among the world’s most romantic destinations. Sure, the Greater Olean area may have fell short of making the list, but unless residents have plans of traveling this Valentine’s Day, they’ll more than likely be spending the holiday right here.
So how exactly does one celebrate Valentine's Day in the Greater Olean area? More times than not, residents flock to local eateries.
As Diddy Bzdak of Allegany said, “The only fun thing to do here is go to a restaurant for dinner.”
The Greater Olean area’s abundance of new and old restaurants alike gives plenty of options for places to share a meal with that special someone.
"I think there are a lot of unique places to have a good time,” said Ardyth VanScoy, a Limestone native who works as educational coordinator of the Cattaraugus County Arts Council.
VanScoy recommended places such as Beef n' Barrel in Olean, Sprague's Maple Farms in Portville and Union Tea Café in Olean as good spots to spend Valentine’s Day.
"You won't find these places anywhere else,” she said.
For most, Feb. 14, is a day to spend time with loved ones. That’s exactly the case for Jess Farnham, store manager of Payless ShoeSource in Olean. She spends the special day with her husband.
"We have quite a few local restaurants with delicious food, like Mirchi or Brother's Bistro, and we also have Good Times where you can go bowling, hang out like kids at the arcade, and just be goofy," said Farnham, who has lived in Olean her entire life.
Larry Sorokes of Olean also sees an advantage to living in the Greater Olean area on Valentine’s Day.
“We have a movie theater and variety of food choices downtown. I think that is what a lot of people like to do, and Olean can be just right for that," he said.
While some go over the top for Valentine’s Day, others do not.
Peter Wintermantel, who lives in Olean and works at Studio 4 East in Allegany, has been married to his wife for 40 years. They don't do anything too extravagant. The pair attended a concert at St. Bonaventure Tuesday night, and counted it as their Valentine's Day night out.
With Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day this year, Wintermantel said he is more excited for the beginning of the Lenten season.
While going out to dinner seems to be the norm for Greater Olean residents on Valentine’s Day, not everyone will be leaving home.
“My husband will cook something special," said Linda Ewing of Allegany, who usually stays in with her husband for Valentine's Day.
It’s all work and no play on Valentine’s Day for Olean’s Kieze Hund. He won't be able to go out for dinner because he will be serving coffee and donuts all night in his job as night manager at the Tim Hortons on West State Street.
"I have to work, so Olean is not a very good place for me this Valentine's Day," Hund said.
Kyle and Danelle Carson from Limestone celebrated their Valentine's Day early at Green Acres Café in Olean. Just like Hund, the two both work on Valentine’s Day.
"I wish there was an Olive Garden closer so we didn't have to go to Jamestown," said Danelle.
Kyle thinks Greater Olean is a good place to celebrate because there are a lot of restaurants, including Angee's, which is his favorite.
While the Greater Olean area doesn’t have an Olive Garden like Jamestown, an Eiffel Tower like Paris or sandy beaches like the Maldives, it certainly has enough restaurants and other activities to keep residents happy on Valentine’s Day. Just ask Phil Hardiman of Allegany.
“There’s plenty of restaurants in town, and I know there’s a local barber shop that goes around and sings,” Hardiman said. “Of course, there’s plenty of stores for flowers and candy and other things of that nature.”
“I’m not a Valentine’s Day person,” he added, “but I just try to be nice to everyone. Of course, I try to do that every day.”