Visit MaineToday's profile on Pinterest.

About The Author

mainetoday

Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

Send an email | Read more from Ray







Posted: February 11, 2015

Not your average Valentine: Maine couples reveal their creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Written by: Ray Routhier

Valentine’s Day, we all can see, is controlled by the card companies and the candy makers. This year, if you’re lucky enough to be with someone you love, make it about finding creative ways to celebrate that love.

Not that easy? Maybe not, but we’ve enlisted some creative Maine couples to help with ideas.

We asked each one to give us an idea for their ideal Maine Valentine’s Day date, with cost and time being non-factors.

It can be something they’ve always wanted to do, or something they may never do, or something they just thought up.

Here’s what they came up with:

Emilia Dahlin and Aaron Frederick of Gorham pose for a portrait outside their home on a snowy day February 2, 2015. This photo was shot on an iPhone with the Instagram app using the Earlybird filter. Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Emilia Dahlin and Aaron Frederick of Gorham pose for a portrait outside their home on a snowy day February 2, 2015. This photo was shot on an iPhone with the Instagram app using the Earlybird filter. Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Emilia Dahlin and Aaron Frederick, Gorham

Married eight years, one son, Attean, 1.

Dahlin, 37, is a singer-songwriter while Frederick, 40, is a co-founder of the youth development organization Rippleffect and an organizational consultant. On Valentine’s Day he’ll be launching his new company, Heroes Of Humanity, an adventure race/treasure hunt to benefit charity.

Ideal Valentine’s Day: “We’d make a day of our date,” said Dahlin. It would include a cross country skiing trek to Seawall Beach in Phippsburg, through the Bates – Morse Mountain Conservation Area. The trek provides “stunning, elevated views of the saltwater marsh,” Dahlin said.

They would bring a picnic lunch and a Thermos of hot cocoa. “After a good whipping by the wind, we’d head back to Portland for a couple’s massage at Nine Stones,” said Dahlin. Then they’d stay in Portland for dinner, drinks and dancing. They’d dine on dim sum at Empire, followed by drinks and dessert at Grace, and dancing to the reggae band Royal Hammer at Port City Music Hall.

Plus, they would exchange poetry. No Hallmark cards for this couple.


Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Cindy Williams and her husband Lee Nelson and dog Maddie at their home in Falmouth. Shot on an iPhone with the Instagram app using the Earlybird filter. John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Lee Nelson and Cindy Williams, Falmouth

Married 25 years. Two children, Xander, 20, and Noah, 17.

Both are news anchors at Portland TV station WCSH, Channel 6. Nelson, 52, does the morning news, while Williams, 51, does evenings.

Ideal Valentine’s Day: The date begins with a limo picking them up at their home and driving them to The White Barn Inn, a romantic restaurant in Kennebunk. “I’ll have the carpaccio of local beef tenderloin with the daikon radish salad. Cindy will have the pan roast New England quail breast with foie gras farce and mushroom ragout,” Nelson said.

They would eat early, to catch some light in the sky as they fly along the Maine coast in a helicopter, to the Norumbega Inn in Camden, where they’d have a drink by the fireplace before retiring. “Then, to top it all off,” said Nelson. “The next morning we’ll watch reruns of the Patriots beating the Seahawks” in the Super Bowl.


Jeff Logan and Linda Shary of Portland. Photographed on an iPhone using the early earlybird filter. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Jeff Logan and Linda Shary of Portland. Photographed on an iPhone using the early earlybird filter. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Jeff Logan and Linda Shary, Portland

Married 24 years. One daughter, Maddie, 18.

Logan, 58, is an acupuncturist, homeless outreach minister and a singer-songwriter. Shary, 55, is a private school administrator, actress, and director and founder of the Guerrilla Downtown theater collaborative.

Ideal Valentine’s Day: A walk along Crescent Beach in Cape Elizabeth, where they each would “dare” the other to jump in freezing ocean water. Then they’d head home to soak in a hot tub and have a “picnic” dinner by the wood stove. “And of course it would include Prosecco,” an Italian sparkling white wine, said Shary.


FALMOUTH, ME - FEBRUARY 5: Shot on an iPhone with the Instagram app using the Earlybird filter. Shannon Moss and her husband Andy Hagerty at their Falmouth home. (Photo by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer)

Shannon Moss and her husband Andy Hagerty at their Falmouth home. Shot on an iPhone with the Instagram app using the Earlybird filter. John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

Shannon Moss and Andy Hagerty, Falmouth

Married 10 years, two sons, Quinn, 10 and Rowen, 8.

Moss, 44, is a former news anchor for Portland stations WCSH and WMTW and a freelance journalist, while Hagerty, 46, is a Portland Police officer.

The couple’s date would involve driving to Camden to try out the famed toboggan chute at the Camden Snow Bowl. Moss says she’s reported on the U.S. National Toboggan Championships held there over the years, but has always wanted to try the chute for herself.

Then they’d drive down to Rockport to stay overnight at the Samoset Resort and have dinner.

“Oh my gosh it’s such a nice place. We’d have a drink by the cozy fireplace and look out at the skating rink,” said Moss.


Deb and Herb Ivy stand in an Old Port alleyway off Exchange Street in Portland. Shot on an iPhone with the Instagram app using the Earlybird filter. Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

Deb and Herb Ivy stand in an Old Port alleyway off Exchange Street in Portland. Shot on an iPhone with the Instagram app using the Earlybird filter. Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer

Herb and Deb Ivy, South Portland

Married 15 years, son Devin, 25 (from Herb’s first marriage) and daughters Emma, 14, and Olivia, 10.

Herb, 52, is co-host of the morning show on Portland radio station WBLM and Regional Operations Manager-New England for Townsquare Media, while Deb, 43, is the founder of Tiny Olive Bag Company and a partner in Brown Sustainability Solutions. The couple got married at the Portland Museum of Art.

Their idea is something they’ve actually done before on Valentine’s Day. They pick three spots each to visit, six total, in downtown Portland. The spots could be restaurants, shops, pubs, live shows, whatever. Herb picks a spot, then Deb picks a spot, and so on.

Neither tells the other where they are going until they get there.

“It’s a marathon day, but we both love Portland,” said Herb. “We can’t think of anywhere else we would rather be on Valentine’s Day than in our perfect little city.”

Up Next: