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Eat, drink and be in love

On Feb. 14, any sap can buy a box of chocolates, flowers or a bottle of bubbly. But nothing says "I love you" more than a chocolate tour, a kiss in a rose garden or a plastic tasting cup of champagne. Here are a few spots where Cupid reigns supreme _ and every day seems like Valentine's Day.


+ Hershey, Pa., is dripping in milk chocolate. Take the free Chocolate Tour Ride to learn about the cocoa process. Your prize at the end: a mini candy bar. There's also a 3-D show ($4.95) that tracks the company's history, as well as a trolley tour (717-533-3000, $9.95) that stuffs you with sweets as you cruise around.

Bunk at the Hotel Hershey (100 Hotel Road, 717-533-2171) and soak in a whipped cocoa bath ($45). Rooms from $249.

For information, call toll-free 1-800-437-7439 or visit

+ Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, on the edge of Fisherman's Wharf, is a happy tangle of restaurants, shops, sea lions and sugar highs. Learn about the area's chocolate past on a self-guided historic walking tour (pick up a map at the information booth), or pop into the original Ghirardelli store (900 N Point) for a hot-fudge sundae and a view of old-time chocolatemaking machinery.

For further indulgence, apply for a visitor discount pass that includes coupons and a free candy bar. Hotels on the wharf include the Argonaut (495 Jefferson St., toll-free 1-800-790-1415;, which has a romance package for $459 that comes with champagne, spa basket, breakfast and, yes, chocolate.

For information, call (415) 775-5500 or visit

+ Las Vegas boasts loads of chocolates beyond the casinos. Ethel M Chocolates (2 Cactus Garden Drive, toll-free 1-888-627-0990;, in nearby Henderson, has a free tour that leads you through the factory line and rewards you with a piece of chocolate.

Closer to the neon lights is the multistory M&M's World (3785 Las Vegas Blvd. S, (702) 736-7611;, with a free 3-D flick and other whimsies. Free tastings, too.

Stock up on unnatural shades (teal green?) of candy at Colorworks. For overnights, pick your theme resort on the Strip.

For more information, contact the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, (702) 892-0711;


+ Oregon's Yamhill County, less than 30 miles south of Portland, is home to more than 50 wineries, many of which produce sparkling wine. On a balloon ride, toast the grapes below with a "sparkling" brunch, care of Vista Balloon Adventures (toll-free 1-800-622-2309;; $179). The Sweet Brier Inn (7125 SW Nyberg Road, Tualatin, toll-free 1-800-551-9167 cq; has a champagne brunch with jazz on Sundays, plus rooms from $59 a night.

For Yamhill County information: (503) 646-2985; For a list of vineyards and maps: Oregon Wine Board, (503) 228-8336;

+ Pennsylvania's wine trail in the southeast corner of Lehigh Valley and Berks County leads to flutes of brut champagne and Berrylicious sparkling wine produced by Franklin Hill Vineyards (7833 Franklin Hill Road, Bangor, toll-free 1-888-887-2839;

And what could be more appropriate than Amore Winery (7054 Beth-Bath Pike, Bath, (610) 837-1334;, with such offerings as Celebration and Peach Mist. Fifteen vineyards are in the region, though other wine areas _ Lake Erie, Groundhog, etc. _ are just as bubbly.

For a directory, contact the Pennsylvania Wine Association, toll-free 1-877-472-9463;


+ Though February is not prime rose-viewing season, Santa Barbara, Calif., will be thick in petals. The Mission Rose Garden (Los Olivos and Laguna streets, (805) 564-5418) has thousands of varieties, depending on the weather.

Then head south to Pasadena and its free Tournament of Roses Museum (391 S Orange Grove Blvd., (626) 449-4100;, where sights include Rose Bowl memorabilia and the Centennial Rose Garden. The nearby Huntington Botanical Gardens (1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, (626) 405-2100;; $12.50) has a rose garden and will feature strolling balladeers on Feb. 14.

Book the "wine, roses, breakfast in bed" deal at Prufrock's Garden Inn (600 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, toll-free 1-877-837-6257,; from $100).

+ Tyler, Texas, 99 miles east of Dallas, is the self-proclaimed "Rose Capital of the Nation." The free Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the country's largest city rose garden. Also on site: the Heritage Rose and Sensory Garden and a museum (420 Rose Park Drive, (903) 597-3130;; $3.50).

Rest at the Rose Vine Inn (415 S Vine, 903-592-2221;; from $99).