A Town that was built on a Love Story…

It all began with a railroad and a love story… You see, it was the 1820s and Captain Williams built a house and planted a cotton farm in what was to become Aiken. The problem was there was no simple way to get the cotton from his fields to Charleston, so he and his associated created the SC Railway and Canal Company with the intention being to turn their crossroads into a town. Alfred Dexter is the young surveyor tasked with where to lay the line, after much study he concluded the only option would be for the line to go 15 miles south of town and of the Captain’s fields. Then Dexter met Sara Williams, Captain Williams’ daughter and was immediately head over heels. He asked Captain Williams for his daughter’s hand in marriage, and the answer was, “No railroad for me, no Sara for you”… and the rest is history…

So for Valentines we invite you to step into the town of love, and romance, and we have no doubt that Aiken will steal your heart this Valentine’s Day! Cupid’s bow is aiming at Aiken with Valentine’s specials, romance packages, special dining and events.

With the approach of Valentine’s Day, you may be thinking about how to spend an ideal day of romance. Cupid’s bow and arrow is aiming at Aiken with Valentine specials, cards and gifts, romance packages, dining options, and exciting things to do for this occasion – couples and singles (and even for your furry friend). This beautiful town will no doubt steal hearts on Valentine’s Day!

Make it a Day Date

Start your day with a unique breakfast experience at La Dolce. Wear a hat (hats are in the tea room for purchase), and immerse yourself in the La Dolce’s authentically British ambience. Enjoy a Caramel Macchiato with Baked French Toast made with Fresh Banana Nut Bread or sample a cup of Royal Earl Grey tea with a scone. You will swear you just had a “Downton Abbey” experience. Pick up some pretty pink Valentine’s cupcakes on your way out. 


Take a drive under the beautiful canopy oaks of South Boundary on your way to downtown and stop at Hopelands Gardens for a leisurely stroll. Spend your day shopping downtown Aiken where you can find unique gifts. After shopping, avoid the mushy-gushy and instead try some fresh street food at Una Mas Taqueria (true fact: the restaurant does not own a freezer and the produce are fresh every morning).

Sweeten the end of your day with dessert at The Willcox lobby bar. Enjoy chocolate flair in a drink by trying the Godiva Chocolate Martini. Or, go ga-ga for the deep friend brownie bites Valentine’s special. Couple both desserts for that sweetness overload. And February, being National Chocolate Month, is a very good excuse to indulge.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

The Ivy Cottage is blooming with pink tulips and roses. The hottest floral arrangement this Valentine’s is the “Full of Love Bouquet”.

Pick up some healthy and homemade heart shape cookies at Bone-I-Fide Bakery for your furry loves. They also customize special valentine’s gifts for your pet. 

For her,  dazzle your sweetheart with jewelry from Re-Fresh or for him, buy a unique handmade piece of art for his man cave or office, and also sweeten him up with dark chocolate salt caramels.  If sugar is on your agenda, shop in the most popular candy shop in Aiken! Cyndis Sweet Shoppe is always churning out new goodies that will soon become must-haves for your family. Create your own valentine’s basket with interesting and unique treats like chocolate covered sprinkled pretzels or candies. At the Aiken County Farmers Market, Antebellum Chocolate Company provides limited edition dark chocolate bars just for Valentines. The chocolates are made with dried raspberries and blueberries with the word Agape, the Greek word for ‘love’, on the back of the chocolate bar. Also, at the Market, Tasty Treat Bakery will be selling small heart shaped pound cakes.


Valentine’s Day Dining Specials


Indulge in a 4-course French cuisine at The Bradley. The dishes will be prepped with Oysters on the Half Shell, Shrimp Ceviche Tostada accented with Grilled Pineapple and Spicy Chipotle, Seared Muscovy Duck Breast with Glazed Root Vegetables, Seared Day Boat Scallops married with White Truffle Butter, and a couple of desserts – one which is a Flowerless Chocolate Cake. And, that’s not all that will be served. Make reservations to find out because no more spoilers will be revealed in this blog.

Celebrate Valentine’s with Italian cuisine at Alloro that will prepare the Maine Lobster Bisque, Seared Red Shrimp with Buccatini Pasta, House Dry Aged Ribeye with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Charred Broccolini. Nestle in the main house of Rose Hill Estate for Valentine’s Day and enjoy the 7-course meal with chocolate intertwined in each course. Optional wine pairings with dinner by sommelier, Christopher Murillo will be served with dinner. An added perk will be live jazz that will be playing by saxophonist and vocalist, Jimmy Easton. The Willcox will be offering an exquisite 3 course dinner.

Prime Steakhouse will be serving Chilean Sea Bass with Lobster Risotto and Slow Roasted Prime Rib. Aiken has many spectacular restaurants to list, so don’t let other restaurants fly under your radar.

For a Getaway Package (she’ll think you planned it all yourself)

Plan a getaway to sweet Aiken where romance is in the air. Spend Valentine’s Day at the Carriage House Inn. Romance packages include premium jacuzzi room, champagne, decadent chocolates, breakfast in bed, and late checkout; or make it a weekend escape and spend Valentine’s Day at the Willcox. The Romance Escape Package includes dinner for two, daily cooked to order breakfast, and the option of adding fireside s’mores, a private cocktail class, and a Love Bath Butler with champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Surprise your loved one with a spa treatment, or better yet, schedule a couple's massage at The Willcox. View the Valentine’s Couple Massage or a spa package treatment that best suits your style.

Aiken Events to Celebrate Valentines

Last but not least. Valentine’s doesn’t have to be celebrated on February 14. There are many things to enjoy before the actual date or on a weekend. Enjoy the Antiques in the Heart of Aiken Show and Sale. It is a popular Aiken event at the Aiken Center for the Arts that showcases the South’s finest Antiques. The Sweetheart Café will be open with drinks and desserts, and Sunday’s feature will include a Bloody Mary tasting.  Beat the crowds and plan to celebrate Valentine's Day in The Village at Woodside on Thursday, February 16, from 6-8 pm. Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner on the patio of one of your favorite Village eateries, enjoy music courtesy of Tony B. from Oldies KSX 92.7 FM, and shop the local vendors set up in The Village Pavilion. At the AECOM Center for Performing Arts, Romeo and Julie will be showing on February 17 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Reserve tickets for you and your sweetheart today. Happy Valentine’s!