Amid the hours spent on school, work and just generally getting by, it can be difficult to plan for a holiday, much less for love. That's why each year, just as many of us are busiest, Valentine's Day has a nasty way of sneaking up to pat us on the shoulder and remind us that the flower store closes in 12 minutes.
Fortunately, The AS Review is on top of things this year. Below are a few ideas for activities on and off campus to check out, whether you'll be spending the day in the embrace of a significant other, celebrating Singles Awareness Day or cursing the person you used to date.
WHAT A VIEW! For practical couples trying to find a nice place to spend time together without spending any cash, there are a few spots tucked away on campus that feature breathtaking views and a respite from the daily commotion. For starters, there's the railing between the PAC and west side of the VU.
Here, you and someone special can enjoy the full spectrum of Bellingham, including the bay and cars downtown moving like ants off in the distance. For more privacy, head down the set of stairs next to the VU's side door and snuggle up on the set of benches that overlook North Garden St. During the evening, warm up together in the nearby Underground Coffeehouse where you can lounge on the couches, look out the massive bay windows and enjoy Tony's Fair Trade coffee. The UGCH is open 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.
ARE WE THERE YET? If you prefer a more naturalistic tone to dating, the good news is this year Valentine's Day conveniently falls on Saturday, a day many students are most active in personal pursuits. Adventurers seeking a little romantic privacy within nature will find just the right spot in the Sehome Arboretum.
You can enter the arboretum at a few different points across Western's campus, but we advise the entrance next to Edens Hall. This way, you can follow the trails upward until you reach the watchtower, a massive six-story structure that overlooks the arboretum and everything to the north. After the hike, the reward lies at the top: a beautiful view of the sunset as the sun goes down over Bellingham Bay. From the top, viewers may be able to make out the lights of Victoria, British Columbia, to the south. The watchtower is the perfect place to share a first (or hundredth) kiss.
However, we understand the need to get away from school on a non-school day, which is why we suggest the AS Outdoor Center's Winter Moonlight Snowshoe Trip. The cost is $30 for students with ID and $40 for guests. Equipment will be provided. Tickets can be purchased in the Outdoor Center, located on the first floor of the VU. A pre-trip meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the OC Feb. 13. Come dressed in warm clothes at 3 p.m. in the OC on Saturday. From there, the group will make their way up to the Baker backcountry to snowshoe into the night.
FORGET THE COMMERCIALISM It can be somewhat difficult to escape the commotion generated by Valentine's Day. Given the status it has reached among corporate advertisers, one has to make an effort to stay away from teddy bears and roses so fresh they seem fake.
For a less corporate endeavor, head out to Boulevard Park, located by Fairhaven on the Interurban Trail, and take in the scenic view. For optimal romance, spend the evening under the moon while you stand on the boardwalk that juts out into the bay. Also, make sure to walk hand-in-hand down the South Bay Trail.
FIND THAT SOMEONE SPECIAL Valentine's Day isn't just a holiday for the couples of the world to reaffirm their love; it's also a special day for singles to get out and meet each other.
Looking for Western students interested in the same activities as you? Try starting at the newly launched Viking Village (forum.wwu.edu), Western's open forum where students can discuss anything from school to good books they've been reading.
For those who enjoy spending their nights on the dance floor, Northwest Youth Services is hosting the Just Fabulous Valentine's Day Benefit Dance, an all-ages dance with the proceeds going to local LGBTQ teen group, Just Us. The dance begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 14 in the Majestic Dance Hall at 1027 N. Forest St. and should end around midnight. The cost is $5 at the door, which not only gives you access to five hours of dancing, but also to food, games and a raffle.
BREAKING UP If you're planning on dumping your partner on Feb. 14 and can't wait at least a day, we figure that you probably don't mind doing the deed without face-to-face interaction. Remember, there's always the “end relationship button” on Facebook, or the ever classy text message. If you're going to be brutal and dump someone on Valentine's Day, why not do it in the most coldhearted way possible?
For those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a breakup, remember that Valentine's Day happens to offer a lot of means to alleviate the pain, like, oh I don't know…chocolate!
Take comfort in the fact that Mallard Ice Cream is open until 11 p.m. if you'd rather spend the evening with a pint of ice cream than the jerk that decided to dump you on Valentine's Day. Put on some Barry Manilow, find a comfy couch and remember that no one will offer you chalk-tasting heart candies in the morning.