Snow leopards resting under a tree
Animal attraction: Zoorotica at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan

Three of Hearts

In case you haven’t noticed: The hearts and flowers marketing machine is in full force this week. Whatever your attitude toward the day of St. Valentine—love, despair, or indifference—here are three ways to have fun on the holiday known for fat flying babies armed with arrows.

  1. Ski for your supper
    On Saturday, February 12th, the Dine & Glide trail dinner is a progressive dinner—on skis. The 5K cross-country trek/fundraiser is broken up by four scenic outdoor stops, each with a blazing fire, libations, and food. The trek ends at the Muskegon Lodge, where you can either hang out in a heated tent with music or continue skiing on the complex’s lit trails. Cost: $40 per person.
    GO Dine & Glide trail dinner, Muskegon Sports Complex, 462 Muskegon Dr., North Muskegon; 231-744-9629,
  2. Weekend at a winery
    On the Michigan peninsula jutting north from Traverse City, seven vineyards form the Old Mission Wine Trail. Two have overnight accommodations: the Chateau Grand Traverse (12239 Center Rd., Traverse City, 800-283-0247,; rates from $125 to $140 a night) and the Chateau Chantal (15900 Rue de Vin, Traverse City, 800-969-4009,; rates from $165 to $460 a night). Stay at either and you’ll be conveniently situated to hit the rest of the trail, including 2 Lads Winery, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, and Peninsula Cellars.
    GO Old Mission Wine Trail,
  3. Go wild
    At the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan, you can nosh on hors d’oeuvres while a naturalist tells you about the sex lives and mating behaviors of the wild kingdom. Zoorotica—from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 12th, and Sunday, February 14th—can even mark a romantic milestone, such as an engagement or anniversary: Let the zoo know in advance and they’ll work in a shout-out to your sweetheart. $40 per person; $70 for couples.
    GO Zoorotica at Binder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Dr., Battle Creek; 269-979-1351,

Where to stay: In Muskegon, the Port City Victorian Inn (1259 Lakeshore Dr.; 800-274-3574, offers marvelous lake views in luxurious surroundings. Rates range from $135 to $225 per night. In Battle Creek, innkeepers Tom and Kathy VanDaff have transformed Greencrest Manor (6174 Halbert Rd.; 269-962-8633, from a comparatively austere Catholic Seminary into a posh bed and breakfast. Rates range from $135 to $275 per night.

Where to dine: Near the Old Mission Peninsula, the family-owned Trattoria Stella (1200 W. 11th St., Traverse City; 231-929-8989, features local wine and food with a decidedly Italian flair. Near Battle Creek, Schuler’s (115 S. Eagle St., Marshal; 269-781-0600, has been offering its signature slow-roasted prime rib for over a century. And in Muskegon, C.F. Prime Chophouse and Wine Bar (948 W. Norton Ave., Muskegon; 231-737-4943, is offering a Valentine’s Day special of four courses for $40.