Whether you’re looking for an afternoon break or a fancy night out, these hot spots in Calhoun County will keep the romance alive this winter. 

Sweet date 

Sip on hot chocolates at Cafe Rica. The seasonal menu has a winter hot chocolate, with peppermint, chocolate and cranberry bitters. Pair it with some fresh waffles. If you want to brunch up the date, try the mimosa sampler with an order of the What Came First sandwich: egg, chicken, in-house strawberry ghost pepper jam and pepper jack cheese between two waffles. The old-fashioned flight is another classy addition to any date. 

Follow it up with a trip to The Rink. As any fan of romantic comedies knows, ice skating ranks as one of the top five dating activities. Make sure to check the website for open skate times.  

Buy something sweet for your sweetheart at Simply Sensational Berries. The grab-and-go display changes every day. Chocolate-covered strawberries are a no-brainer, but a whimsical cupcake is also a nice surprise. Keep an eye out for pickles or bacon dipped in chocolate. 

Bring home flowers from Horrocks Farm Market. There are always buckets of fresh blooms, so make your own bouquet or pick one that’s been curated by the store’s experts. Maybe pick up a giant jackfruit, while you’re at it. 

Movie date 

Speaking of romantic comedies, why not rent out an entire movie theater? Bohm Theater in Albion offers rentals for private events. With plush seats and a balcony, this restored movie palace has retained its old-time charm. 

After the movie, head to Albion Malleable Brewing Co. for dinner and a craft beer. Say “I love you” with the best burger in Michigan. 

Drink date 

Visit the Marshall Social District for boutique shopping and cocktails. You can order a grown-up beverage from places such as Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub, Copper Athletic Club and Grand River Brewery. If you want a special night out, the Royal Hotel at Schuler’s will treat you like royalty. 

Or consider lighting some candles at home and having your own cocktail hour. You can order drinks along with some dessert. Clara’s on the River will make you everything from martinis to adult milkshakes to-go. Lucky Rooster has some deliciously fruity mixed drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. New Holland Brewing Co. Has an amazing selection of canned cocktails and spirits if you feel like shaking up your own. 

Overnight date 

Feeling a little stir crazy at home? Book a hotel room for the night. Courtyard by Marriott Albion is right in the middle of downtown, so everything you need is within walking distance.  

Share some cinnamon rolls from Foundry Bakehouse or get drinks at Albion Malleable Brewing. Yellow Bird chocolate shop sells handmade bars that can be paired with beer or coffee from the nearby bookstore, Stirling Books and Brews. Stop by Anna’s House of Flowers for a bouquet or a tropical house plant. Browse through a couple of boutique stores or go for a wintry walk along the river. Galazio Restaurant serves authentic Greek and Mediterranean food. Don’t miss out on the traditional lamb chops or moussaka. 

Fancy date 

Sometimes a special event calls for a special experience. Nibi is the fanciest restaurant in town. You’re guaranteed elegance and style. Try the beef navarin or the fresh seafood. If the extra-long wine list intimidates you, Nibi will offer some suggestions based on what you like and what you ordered. 

Nibi is one of the many restaurants at FireKeepers Casino Hotel. Book a hotel room at the hotel, rated four diamonds by AAA. There’s a suite that has a fireplace and jacuzzi tub.