Plan your Happy Valley Valentine’s Day

– by Jodie Dello Stritto

It’s not too late to plan a winter getaway this Valentine’s Day. Surprise your special someone with some quality time in Happy Valley, enjoying our beautiful natural landscape, picture-perfect small towns, unique restaurants, a variety of breweries, wineries, distilleries, and a lot more. Here’s our advice for a Valentine’s Day getaway that’s filled with love and happy-ness.

The Tavern

- Photo courtesy of The Tavern

Find the perfect stay

No matter your budget or your preference for style and location, you’ll find ideal accommodations here. A great place to start is the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau’s booking tool which takes the hassle out of checking availability at individual locations. Just plug in your dates and browse the options to find the best spot for your visit. Choose from charming B&Bs, cozy lodges and cabins, upscale inns, and modern hotels.

Here are a few ideas for a memorable stay:

State College:


Bald Eagle State Park:


Centre Hall:

The Rivet

Get a delicious start

Fuel up for the day at one of Happy Valley’s renowned breakfast spots or cafes. A Penn State alumni favorite, The Original Waffle Shop has two locations in State College—one on North Atherton and one on West College Ave. From the fluffiest pancakes and waffles to fresh omelets, both locations offer traditional breakfast favorites and exceptional service.

In Downtown State College, Webster’s Bookstore & Cafe offers a local-favorite Sunday brunch; as well as fair-trade, organic coffees, and quality local foods. Eat before you browse the large selection of books of all genres.

Located in Downtown Bellefonte, Bonfatto’s Italian Corner Market & Café serves up traditional breakfast options plus Italian coffees and breakfast dishes, like shakshuka (poached eggs in diced tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil), ricotta toast, frittata, paninis with pesto and eggs, and bomboloni (Italian donuts).

In Philipsburg, check out The Kitchen @ Brown Dog Cafe for a meal with “approachable elegance.”

Enjoy quality time

Walk hand-in-hand and enjoy one of Happy Valley’s beautiful outdoor spaces, like The Arboretum at Penn State, open from dusk to dawn. Located at the corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Road, The Arboretum includes ten acres of gardens that offer year-round beauty.

Talleyrand Park on the banks of Spring Creek is the centerpiece of Downtown Bellefonte. The park is home to the town’s historic train station and has paved walking paths that continue onto the adjacent waterfront property across High Street from the park. Shops and restaurants are walkable from Talleyrand, including antique stores and unique gift shops.

Just a mile and a half from Beaver Stadium, Millbrook Marsh Nature Center is a unique 62-acre marsh ecosystem at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center. Visitors can walk through the pollinator garden and enjoy wildlife viewing from observation decks.

Riffles and Runs

Philipsburg is a hidden gem for browsing and shopping at unique stores and enjoying a day out. The heart of the Moshannon Valley and dubbed “Wilderness City,” Philipsburg offers natural beauty and small-town charm.

Spend some quality time together trying something new, like indoor climbing at Climb Nittany in Boalsburg. The facility is designed for people with little or no climbing experience of any age. You can book your visit online in advance, but walk-ins are also welcome.

If you’re looking for a more artistic endeavor, check out The Rivet at Discovery Space — a 5,000 square foot community workshop where visitors can take advantage of open workshop hours and classes. Check out the schedule for some unique Valentine’s Day-themed opportunities.

More adventurous couples can head to Tussey Mountain for skiing, snowboarding or tubing. Check the website for the snow report, lift ticket, and rental information. Afterward, head to the lodge for lunch or snacks at the Tussey Bar & Kitchen.

Find the perfect gift

A Basket Full in Boalsburg goes all-in for Valentine’s Day with the sweetest women’s apparel and accessories. For him, stop into one of the many downtown retailers offering Penn State merchandise in Downtown State College, like Lions Pride and McLanahan’s Student Store.

For a wider selection of gifts for your sweetheart—from stained glass and pottery to artisan snacks and hand-decorated Valentine’s cookies—shop together at Belle Mercantile in Downtown Bellefonte. The shop is a curated collection of vendors and products, including Bellefonte and Penn State keepsakes to commemorate your visit.

Choose a romantic dinner spot

There are so many delicious dining options across Happy Valley. Here are just a few to get you started. Plan ahead for a busy dining night and make a reservation.

If you love a good burger—paired with a hand-spun milkshake and fresh-cut fries—The Field Burger & Tap in Toftrees is your place. Now is a great time to visit: Toftrees is undergoing a major revamp and The Field will close later this spring.

Speaking of major revamps, recent renovations at long-time State College tradition The Tavern have elevated both the ambiance and the menu, making it a perfect choice for Valentine’s Day.

In Bellefonte, Creekside at the Gamble Mill serves a seasonally inspired locally sourced menu including desserts made in-house, featuring the restaurant’s must-try signature Righteous Chocolate Bread Pudding.

Craft beer lovers should make the picturesque drive to Penns Valley to Millheim’s Elk Creek Café. Rotating seasonal brews make the perfect pairing with the hearty, super-local regular menu items and the chalkboard daily specials.

For a special dining experience, reserve your tickets at Pine Grove Hall for the four-course Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe Dinner. The restaurant and music hall offer one of Happy Valley’s most unique environments and exceptional fare.

After dinner sweets and drinks

In Downtown State College, stop by Central Reservation cocktail bar or the Allen Street Grill, which offers an extensive wine and cocktail list. Bellefonte’s Big Spring Spirits distillery serves traditional and signature cocktails made with its line of spirits crafted with (and named for!) water from the town’s Big Spring. If you want to wrap up the night in a more casual atmosphere, visit Axemann Brewery where you can enjoy a craft beer and challenge your significant other to a game of cornhole or giant Jenga.

For a sweet treat to wrap up your Happy Valley Valentine’s Day, there’s only one choice: ice cream! Find farm-fresh ice cream options across Happy Valley on the Ice Cream Trail.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at