Scheme to hit the Valentine’s mark

Though Valentine’s Day may seem like an excuse for greeting card companies to pocket an extra buck, legends suggest otherwise.

One myth slates St. Valentine as a priest who was put to death for marrying young lovers in spite of a ruling from Emperor Claudis II who outlawed young men to marry because they made better soldiers when single.

Another popular legend states Valentine was in prison and fell in love with his jailer’s daughter who visited him while he was imprisoned. Before he died, he wrote a letter to her that was signed, “From your Valentine.”

Whatever legend fits your romantic fantasy, Valentine’s Day is a holiday for lovers that has been celebrated for hundreds of years with the exchange of handwritten cards or tokens of affection. Now, in 2007, your significant other might be looking for something more than a piece of paper.

If that’s the case, look no further. Here’s a break down of Valentine’s Day activities appropriate for people feeling thrifty, or for V-Day overachievers trying to make their lover’s chocolate melt.

Take your Valentine to the ever-romantic Vito’s Cafe in Fort Thomas, Ky. Dinner for two can include a bottle of wine and the Trio of Pasta with ravioli marinara, fettuccine alfredo and spaghetti al pesto. For dessert try the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake. After dinner, laugh away the calories from dinner at the Funny Bone in Newport on the Levee with Comedian Joe Reep at 7:30 p.m.

Another slightly pricey V-Day destination is The Federal Reserve Restaurant and Piano Lounge in downtown Cincinnati. The restaurant will be hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner at $79.95 per couple. Cocktail shrimp, desert and valet service will be included. Reservations are recommended.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is feeling fishy, check out the Tunnel of Love at the Newport Aquarium. Romantic music and decorations will be displayed to set the mood. Also, if you are planning on making a commitment this Valentine’s Day, go to to register for “Perfect Proposal.” If you win, an underwater diver will hold up a sign that asks, “Will you marry me?” to your soon-to-be spouse. Winners also get a free dinner and engagement ring.

If you’d rather go out to lunch, try the BonBonerie Tea Room in the O’Bryonville District. This tearoom looks like your kitchen, but serves gourmet fare you’d never find on your midnight snack run. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Delicacies include soup, salad, sandwiches, and of course, Cincinnati’s largest selection of tea. Then grab desert in the pastry shop next door.

British actor Hugh Grant oozes romance in his new movie “Music and Lyrics,” also starring Drew Barrymore. The movie, about a washed up pop star (Grant) and a songwriter (Barrymore), opens Valentine’s Day, so reservations might be a necessity if you would like to get a seat. Also, many theaters offer a student discount if you show your college ID.

A fun place to take your date is Yesterday’s Caf