Our Valentine’s Day: Sweet but very simple

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There aren’t many stories of exotic gifts in Shelby County, but there is plenty of tradition.

By Todd Martin

Are you on the trail for unusual, extravagant or over-the-top Valentine's Day gifts?

You'll come up short in Shelby County.

Don't worry though. A county with traditional and conservative values doesn't come up short in the romance department. There are plenty of delicious meals, flowers and jewelry to make any honey happy.

But there's no $18,500 olive tree, like Angelina Jolie gave her hubby Brad Pitt in 2010. Of course, Kentucky's not exactly the right climate anyway.

There are no $84 million yachts like billionaire Anil Ambani gave his wife, Tina Ambani ,in 2008. Lake Shelby probably couldn’t hold it anyway, and it might look out of place on the Ohio River.

There are no 70-carat Harry Winston-cut diamonds either, like the one Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor in 1968. They are kind of heavy, and that large, shiny object might spook horses.

But don't think you can't make the most of it.

There was the one fellow, a few years ago.

"There was this guy who was giving his wife a cruise as a big present for Valentine's Day," said Sharon Nichols of Flowers by Sharon. "He really wanted his flowers put in a little cruise ship and delivered.

“We looked everywhere for a cruise ship to put those flowers in, and we couldn't find one anywhere.

"Finally, we found one in pieces, like a model, at a hobby store in Middletown. It must have had five hundred pieces, so I put it together at home during the evenings. It must've taken me two weeks; it took forever. I think I made about ten cents an hour on that one."

Plan ahead

Nichols said she's receiving large shipments of flowers now, mostly from South America so she can be ready for Tuesday.

The largest order her shop has received so far is $200, "about three dozen roses," she said. "We don't usually get anything any bigger than that."

Her shop puts together a menu for men to order off of, and it includes the FTD vase and flowers from the Super Bowl commercial with super model Adriana Lima.

"You wouldn't believe how many men we've had come in and ask for that one," she said. "I didn't much care for the ad, but it's been very effective."

And Nichols said there's plenty to go around.

"We'll probably get as many orders on Tuesday as we'll have preordered when we come in that morning," she said. "You wouldn't believe the number of men we'll have come in at three in the afternoon and ask, 'Is today Valentine's Day?'"

So don't delay

If you want to hit the restaurants, you might be hard-pressed to get that perfect reservation of 7 p.m.

"We get crazy busy," Old Stone Inn owner Shelley Thompson said. "We don't go over the top for it, but we're usually booked up. We still have a few reservations left."

Sue Andriot at Bell House said her tables are going fast, too.

"We're not full yet, but we do have a lot of reservations," she said.

Both restaurants will have special menus for the night, and Bell House is normally not even open on Tuesdays.

"We expect to have a big weekend, but Tuesday we'll have a special menu," Andriot said. "There's a choice of sea bass, filet minion or chicken breast with artichoke hearts, and we'll have white table cloths with red roses. Also, each person will receive a chocolate-covered cherry from C.J.'s Candies [the local handmade candy store]."

Thompson said her restaurant, too, will have some unique choices.

"We'll have a special dinner that features a filet, Oscar-style [with béarnaise sauce and crab meat], and we have two special drinks – a Sweetheart martini and a Valentine's Kiss."

The Sweetheart martini is mix of Absolut Grapevine vodka and orange juice with a splash of cranberry for that festive pink color. The Valentine's Kiss is champagne topped with pomegranate liquor.

"We don't go too over the top, but it's special," Thompson said.

So stay home in county for a delicious, fragrant and traditional Valentine's Day.

But if you're looking for a $2 million Bugatti Veyron like Beyonce got Jay-Z in 2010, you may have to head out of town.

Not too fast, though, because in a Bugatti the police may be keeping a close eye on you.