New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

Sometimes Cupid has an off day with his marksmanship. Maybe his arrow hit you once or twice, however it didn’t go deep enough to stick long-term. Or maybe you just haven’t been it the right place at the right time for Cupid to get the perfect aim. Regardless, the singles who’ve yet to have their Cupid moment oftentimes aren’t excited about celebrating Valentine’s Day.

February 14th can be frustrating to even the strongest and most optimistic single. Not having a romantic love can make for a difficult day if surrounded by happy couples or if a bad breakup isn’t distant in the rearview mirror. Some want to simply go to bed on February 13th and keep their heads under the covers until the 15th. Choosing avoidance is one way to go, but showing a little self-love and fearlessly facing the day is a way better option.

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The sting of waiting for Cupid’s Arrow can be eliminated if other kinds of love are celebrated. The love of a friend, the devotion to hope and an optimistic view of the future all need to be fêted and Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to do just that. Having a Valentine experience with other single friends is just the ticket — a sharp and flavorful activity to celebrate love, hope and optimism.

Get ready for a friendly Jersey Date Night sure to be a lovely singles throw-down!

Why Grind the Ax When You Can Throw It?

It’s easy to give into those angry breakup feelings and wallow in single despair, but a visionary takes that negativity and turns it into a positive opportunity to gain a new skill set. Ax throwing is a great new activity that’s taken New Jersey by storm. Think of it as a game of darts, but way more hardcore. Darts are replaced with axes and, like Cupid, the goal is to hit the bullseye. Gathering some friends and letting loose with some axes is not only a great physical activity but also one that’s sure to allow for some laughs. Luckily for us, we have many locations in New Jersey with one sure to be near you!

Stumpy’s Hatchet House (stumpyshh.com) has locations in Eatontown, Fairfield and Green Brook, with three more slated to open in Princeton, Delran and Bergen County. 

Bury the Hatchet (burythehatchet.com) has locations in Bloomfield/Montclair, Paramus, Cherry Hill, Princeton, Matawan/Old Bridge and Tom’s River.

When you arrive, you’ll find friendly and knowledgeable staff on the ready to show you the ins and outs of the sport. With safety at the forefront, in no time you’ll be achieving ax-throwing perfection. Another great thing about each location is that they encourage every ax-throwing entourage to bring their own snacks and beverages. Not only will you learn a new skill, but you’ll also have a lot of fun choosing the perfect food to serve. 

Pairing some tasty treats with ax throwing will take your Valentine’s Day from flop to fantastic. Here are a few ideas to make your menu as sharp as your ax:

No Shortcuts on Sandwiches

When it comes to a singles night out, sandwiches are always a crowd pleaser.  You won’t be disappointed when yours are handcrafted by Bon Appetite Fine Foods in Princeton, NJ. If you’re not blown away by the Petto di Pollo ai Ferri (grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, basil, olive pesto and greens on baguette), the Grand Bleu (smoked turkey caramelized red onions, bleu cheese, arugula and arugula mayo on 7-grain) will knock your socks off. 

If you’re craving something warmer, be sure to check out their hot sandwiches and paninis, including pastrami ruben and croque monsieur. For a complete list of their sandwiches and other delicious menu items, visit www.bonappetitfinefoods.com.

Bullseye on the Healthy

Many singles like to maintain their “revenge body” by keeping meals healthy.  If salads are your thing, then you’re going to love the options at Monterey Fine Foods in Bernardsville, NJ. You’ll score high with lower calories with choices ranging from their Wild Rice Salad with cranberries, mango, fennel, pecans and citrus vinaigrette to their Greek Salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and feta. They also have amazing grilled vegetables and a fresh fruit salad sure to hit the spot. Visit www.montereyfinefoods.com to learn more.

It’s All Good if Your Aim Takes a Dip

Nothing makes a party more fun than finger foods, and serving up an assortment of dips and chips with a Greek flair is a sure crowd pleaser. You’ll find every tasty thing you need at The Greek Store in Kenilworth, NJ.  Dips include classic baba ghannouj (a creamy blend of eggplant, tahini, garlic, oil and parsley) and taramosalata (a tangy lemon and fish roe dip). Just add some pita chips and your party is off to a scrumptious start! To see their full menu, visit www.eatgreek.com.

Winning the Game by a Slice

Pizza takes any gathering straight to party mode, and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza will get you there in record time. With nine locations in New Jersey there’s sure to be one close to you, allowing you to discover the beauty of a pizza cooked in true Italian fashion. Choose your toppings or take advantage of ordering one of their specialty pies, such as meatballs and ricotta or Philly cheese steak pizza. You really can’t go wrong with a “well done” pie! Visit www.acfp.com for more information.

What Happens on February 15th?

Surviving Valentine’s Day as a single may seem futile, but spending the evening doing something new with friends is the best way to hit the bullseye. Creating some Valentine memories and doing so without being part of a romantic couple leads to an empowering sense of accomplishment. Instead of staying under the covers, you were part of a group of friends who truly supports you. 

Regardless of your relationship status, having strong friendships is so very important because you’ve got to have your people. Fostering friendships is right up there in importance with building the foundation of a romantic relationship. Your friends are the ones who’ll cheer your victories and be there when your efforts might be off the mark — no matter what your relationship status may be.

And when it comes to love, remember Cupid hasn’t forgotten about you. Keep the faith, keep your eye on the prize and keep being the best single you!

MORE: New Jersey Date Night: Happy Valentine’s Date!

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write.  Author of The 49th Challenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery.  To learn more about Craig, visit CraigRogers.nyc.

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date?  Tell Craig all about it at crogersnyc@gmail.com.

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