It’s that time of year again – the over-hyped and greatly publicized Hallmark holiday of Valentine’s Day. While presents are always welcome, thoughtful gifts have more meaning. Consider your loved one’s interests and desires. Get them something that they would never get themselves, or something that represents your love and appreciation for the person. The staff members at these lovely shops are more than happy to help in your search. For additional options, check out last year’s gift guide: Best Places For Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts In The Washington DC Area. Don’t forget the card with a heartfelt note – the written word goes a long way.
2836 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
Personalization goes a long way. It requires great thought and understanding. A&R Engravers in Clarendon specialize in custom engraving, using the latest computer technology and lasers. Suitable materials to engrave include anything with a metal-plated surface, glass or acrylic plastic. The options are endless when it comes to engraving-worthy items: picture frames, pens, flasks, mugs, jewelry boxes, etc. Create a memorable keepsake by sending a romantic message or engraving a meaningful date.
1130 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Opening in 1984, Chocolate Chocolate was the first independent chocolate shop in Washington, DC. It is known for fine chocolate from around the world. Prior to Valentine’s Day, the inventory turns to hear-shaped boxes. Recommended bon bons are the Laderach Raspberry Pleasure Heart from Switzerland (white chocolate heart filled with raspberries & cream) and Calvados Love (marbleized red and white chocolate filled with white chocolate ganache and Calvados), which are sold individually at $2.25 a piece. The most popular item at Chocolate Chocolate is the Small Batch House truffles. They come in five different decadent flavors and a tin of six is under $20. All of the pre-boxed assortments come with a ribbon – no wrapping necessary.
3510 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22207
La Maison is an ideal gift shop for French-inspired merchandise, geared mostly toward women. Located in the charming Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington, the cottage-chic store features antiques, home décor items and custom-farm style furniture, as well as jewelry from local artisans. Luxurious beauty products that anyone would appreciate incorporate French-milled soaps, lotions and bath salts. La Maison offers complimentary gift wrapping in house, using stunning wrapping paper and ribbons. No need to visit Hallmark because the store also carries a wonderful card line called Positively Green, made with recycled paper and adorned with loving messages.
1709 Centre Plaza
Alexandria, VA 22302
This Alexandria specialty shop is filled with an impressive assortment of gifts, antiques, home goods and accessories. Products are brought out especially for Valentine’s Day, like heart-shaped glass boxes and candles, locally made chocolate and vintage Valentine’s cards. For a special lady, browse the scarves and jewelry. For the a special man, browse cuff links and ties. All gift items are rather affordable, on average from $20 to $30.
1514 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Now a third-generation family-run business, The Phoenix opened shop over 50 years ago. The jewelry collection is quite sizable with varying price ranges and assortments from established designers around the world, like OSKA from Germany and San Francisco’s Porto. “From bold cocktail rings and chunky stone necklaces to simple 14kt gold disc necklaces embellished with tiny diamonds, we really do have something for everyone,” said Samantha Hays Gushner of The Phoenix. With an underlying Mexico focus, The Phoenix sources the finest Mexican Sterling Silver. Gushner suggests a simple gold necklace for Valentine’s Day, “One of my favorite items for Valentine’s Day comes from ARA Collection from Santa Barbara. It is a very delicate 24kt gold necklace with tiny faceted rubies.”
Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.