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Countryside Valentine's Day Traditions

Posted by Kristen Boye on February 9, 2022

This year, we're celebrating rural Valentine's traditions that have been bringing couples closer together for centuries. Get 5 ideas for old fashioned romantic gestures that will help you create lasting memories in the countryside.

Living in the country offers the perfect backdrop to create a personal, authentic and memorable Valentine’s day.

However, if you’re used to making fine dining reservations in the city, planning a country-style romantic gesture may seem a little daunting. But, if you get this right it could make for a much more memorable and romantic experience.

For inspiration, here’s a list of 5 simple Valentine’s Day traditions anyone can pull off for their loved one.

#1: Carve your initials in a tree

This may sound juvenile, but couples have been immortalizing their love by carving their names together within a heart for centuries. Plus, when it’s done on your own land it’s not considered vandalism AND creates a special memento your loved one will cherish forever.

#2: Plan a Valentine's Day picnic in your own backyard, woods or pasture


Picnics can be a hassle to organize, prepare and tote around through busy city streets and parks. However, with acres of beautiful land at your fingertips, you can easily create a gourmet picnic to enjoy with your partner.

A picnic on your property, or somewhere scenic nearby, doesn’t have to be complicated. However, since it’s Valentine’s Day, plan to do something a little more special than your run-of-the-mill sandwich, chips and soda.

Here are some tips to make it really special:

  • Prepare at least 3 courses: appetizer, main course and dessert.
  • For an appetizer, cheese or a charcuterie board are easy to pack and can be served at room temperature. A baguette with pre-made bruschetta topping or compound butter also makes an elegant and simple starter. Gourmet soups (like Catherine's Pond's warming winter chowder recipes) are also lovely and can be packed in a thermos and served with croutons, fresh herbs and/or crusty bread.
  • For the main course, choose a favorite dish that’s 100% packable and ready to eat with very minimal last-minute prep (just because you’re picnicking close to home doesn’t mean you’ll want to be walking acres back and forth to the kitchen). If you can think of a dish you both shared at a memorable occasion like a first date, wedding, honeymoon, first hunting trip, first camping trip, etc. all the better! Braises, tagines, stews, sushi, baked pasta dishes, pot pies, quiches, casseroles and gourmet sandwiches (like the Chilean staple sandwich, Churrasco---a deliciously simple yet elegant sandwich made with sliced filet mignon or sirloin, seasoned avocado and tomato with mayo on gourmet bread like a ciabatta bun) all make great gourmet picnic foods. Just be sure to use the appropriate thermos, bakeware, foil, etc. to keep them hot. Hot dishes can also be wrapped in blankets to stay warm.
  • Chocolate is traditional for Valentine’s Day and can be served in endless ways. Individual cakes, cheesecakes, tarts, trifles, parfaits or pies are easy to carry outside. Fruit can be macerated in sugar and wine, packed in individual mason jars and served with fresh (or high-quality canned) whipped cream. Or you can even pack chocolate fondue in a thermos, and cut up fruit, cake, etc. to bring along in mason jars or storage containers.
  • Include your sweetheart’s favorite drink, and remember to pack appropriate stemware, mugs, a corkscrew, bottle opener, etc.
  • If you're feeling bold and/or have experience in this area, you could also try cooking your main course (or entire meal) on a campfire or portable grill. You'll find some helpful outdoor cooking tips here and here.
  • Have a clean, large blanket and/or camping chairs ready to go.
  • Don’t forget real plates/bowls, cloth napkins, paper towels, hand sanitizer, cheese knives, one sharp knife, real silverware, corkscrew, bottle opener and anything you need to finish off or garnish your courses.
  • Anticipate cold weather and pack an extra blanket to snuggle up under and hot hands, etc. to keep comfortable.
  • Leave your phone inside and really focus on each other (unless you need it to play music, in which case download the music and put it on airplane mode).
  • Bring a spray bottle with water to help rinse off dishes and wipe them with paper towels.

#3: Dance by moonlight surrounded by candles

Ballrooms and dance clubs have their place. But there are few things more romantic and old-school than dancing under the stars surrounded by flickering candles.

Setting this up is easy. Just select a nice spot on your land, create a playlist of your favorite romantic, memorable and fun songs on your phone, set up a portable speaker, put out a couple glasses of your favorite wine or other beverage and a dish of chocolates (for energy). Next, light several candles OR if fire is a concern, use electric candles or hurricanes to contain the flames, and place them around your natural “dance floor”. Tiki torches and a firepit work well too. You can also add electric lights to nearby trees or around your porch or patio. And if you have a pond or water feature, some floating lanterns are a really nice touch!

Finally,  invite your loved one out to see their surprise and slow-dance the night away.

#4: Name a special place on your property after your loved one, commemorated with personalized signage


In many country homes, it’s traditional to name parts of the land after family members. If you haven’t done this yet, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to christen a special place in your sweetheart’s name.

Choose a spot they love to frequent, like the pond, the barn, your firepit area, the gardens, an outdoor cooking area, the top of a hill, etc. and either create a sign yourself using wood and paint, or commission a local artist to make one for you.

You can keep it simple, like “Leah’s Garden” or get more creative with personal quotes and humorous phrases that define your loved one. A custom carving of their name in a bench, on a plaque placed on a fence, in stone, or in an arbor is also a nice touch.

Then place it and surprise them on Valentine’s Day.

#5: Take a romantic boat or horseback ride


How many times have you seen couples fall in love whilst in boats or riding horses in movies? That’s because men and women have been using these romantic mediums to seduce each other for centuries!

If you live near water, a romantic row boat, paddle boat or any-kind-of-boat ride at sunset is always a lovely gesture. Likewise, most of us rural folks either own horses or live near equestrian facilities where you can arrange a couple’s horseback ride through the countryside. Either of these are great to combine with a simple picnic (in this case, gourmet sandwiches would be appropriate) to make a perfect Valentine’s Day date.

Need more countryside Valentine's inspiration?

Check out our other Valentine’s articles:

7 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Country and

How to Bake a Little Healthier (and feel a little sexier) This Valentine’s Day (includes links to several yummy recipes)

Cheers to true love and making new and memorable traditions from old-fashioned gestures.

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is the editor of Rethink:Rural and the owner of Holistic Writing Concepts---a copy and content writing company specializing in the natural health and green living markets. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in beautiful rural Western North Carolina. Visit her online at:

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