Some may grumble about Valentine's Day - "it's too commercial", "it's a 'fake' holiday" - but I prefer to think of it as yet another opportunity to support our local small businesses. These businesses are close by, so there's no need to drive miles and miles for that last minute gift. Here are just a few ideas:

Of course, we have to start with flowers! There are several local flower shops that will craft the perfect bouquet for your Valentine, including Montour Falls Flowers & Gifts, Stillman's Greenhouse, and Zeigler Florists.

Beyond flowers, there are so many other great gift ideas. How about a gift certificate for a moonlight trail ride with Erika at Painted Bar Stables, wine from one of the stellar wineries around the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, dinner at one of our fantastic local restaurants such as Murabella's Italian Steakhouse, Montour House Cafe & Tapas Bar, or Jerlando's. Find the perfect gift at Famous Brands where you'll find shoes, apparel, jewelry, outerwear, and so much more! If Jim doesn't have it - you don't need it! Did you know the Watkins Glen State Park Gift Shop is open year round?! Well it is! And they have loads of great stuff including souvenirs, jewelry, apparel, glass, and much more.

Maybe you'd prefer to look toward warmer weather and book a boat ride with Seneca Wine Boat Tours or hot air balloon ride with Liberty Balloon Company. Nothing says I Love You like getting out and about in the Finger Lakes!

Looking to get out and about and support a great cause at the same time? You could attend the Humane Society of Schuyler County's Mardi Gras/Valentine's Day event at the Community Center on Saturday at 6pm with delicious food, wine and beer tastings, Zydeco music, and more!

Pamper your loved one with a gift certificate or visit to New Image Hair Network, Simply Your Best, or a wonderful massage at Watkins Glen Massage.

Oh, and why not close out Valentine's Weekend with delicious brunch at FLX Wienery on Sunday?

Phew! With so many great places, people, and things in our area, there is no reason not to shop small year round.