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Valentine's Day dates you'll just love

Students prepare food at a cooking class at

Students prepare food at a cooking class at A la Carte Culinary Services Ltd. in Lynbrook. Photo Credit: A la Carte

Is the way to your love's heart through his or her stomach? Valentine's Day is the perfect time to whip up romance by taking a cooking class together. If your loved one can't stand the heat of the kitchen, the warm glow of a sunset by the Fire Island Lighthouse could be just the right setting for a romantic rendezvous.

Whatever your passion, here are a few offbeat Valentine's Day dates sure to stir up the passion of your heart's desire.

Let's get cooking

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Feb. 12 and 14, A la Carte Culinary Services, 32 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook

INFO 516-599-2922, alacartecs.com

HOW MUCH $239 a couple

Nothing can put you in the mood for love like food, especially when you prepare it with that special someone. Couples will each get to make a portion of the Valentine's Day menu, which includes chicken phyllo pillows, arugula salad, baked swordfish and chocolate ganache bread pudding. The best part happens once the oven is turned off.

"Everybody sits down at the end and serves themselves a delicious meal," says owner Polly Talbott. "And it's a chance to make new friends as well as enjoy the company you're with. Plus, to make it more romantic, we'll have candlelight."

This castle's rockin'

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 13 and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 14, Oheka Castle, 135 Westgate Dr., Huntington

INFO 631-659-1400, oheka.com

HOW MUCH $25-$50 a person

Get a taste of how the other half lives on this hourlong tour of the luxurious Oheka estate, from the grand staircase to the formal gardens, plus "certain locations you could not access unless you were attending an affair," says marketing director Nancy Melius.

Those taking the $25 tour get a special treat - heart-shaped cookies prepared by the executive pastry chef. But true romantics should opt for the $50 tour, which includes coffee, tea, Valentine sweets, Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries served tableside. And after a few sips of Champagne, who knows what might happen?

"It's a very popular time to propose, whether you want to do something that she won't expect or you just want to do something beautiful and elegant," Melius says.

Lighthouses are for lovers

WHEN | WHERE 4-6 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Fire Island Lighthouse

INFO 631-321-7028, fireislandlighthouse.com

HOW MUCH $30 a couple

Sure, the light in your significant other's eyes won't be the only thing beaming on this sunset tour of the historic lighthouse. After reaching the top of the lighthouse, guests will enjoy light refreshments, as well as chocolate and a fresh flower for the ladies.

"It's a nice time to get out of the house and climb the tower at sunset, although I don't promise the sunset," jokes lighthouse administrator Dave Griese.

Gotta dance

WHEN | WHERE 7:15 p.m. Feb. 14, Cinema Arts Centre, 425 Park Ave., Huntington

INFO 800-838-3006, cinemaartscentre.org

HOW MUCH $40 (movie, dance lesson and reception) or $10 for movie only

You'll be in heaven watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing cheek to cheek - and even on roller skates - in their 1937 classic, "Shall We Dance." And if seeing Fred and Ginger inspires you to get on your feet, dancers from The Ballroom of Huntington will be on hand after the movie to offer a dance lesson and a ballroom exhibition. Topping off the evening will be a reception with chocolate, cake, champagne and flowers for each guest.

Seal the deal

WHEN | WHERE 12:30 p.m. Feb. 12, Captain Lou Fleet, 28A Woodcleft Ave., Freeport

INFO 631-369-9840, riverheadfoundation.org

HOW MUCH $24 ($19 ages 3-12)

If you're an animal lover, too, get on board for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation's two-hour cruise throughout Hempstead Bay to observe the winter harbor seal populations. A naturalist will also be on deck to answer question about our whiskered aquatic friends and other marine life you'll spot.

Say 'I do' again 

WHEN | WHERE 4 p.m. Feb. 14, Gurney's Inn, 290 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk

INFO 631-668-1737, gurneysinn.com

HOW MUCH $10 donation to Montauk Food Pantry

Fall in love all over again and renew your vows in the chapel, with some help from Judge Jim Ketchum. Immediately after the nuptials, couples will enjoy wedding cake and a Champagne toast, plus they'll receive an official wedding renewal certificate. And maybe even a little rice will be thrown.

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