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Search for the perfect Valentine's Day gift in San Benito County

With Valentine's Day around the corner there is something for everyone in San Benito County including dinner theater, vintage records, and the perfect treat.
Kayla's Kandies range from chocolate covered treats to truffles
Records at Fool's Gold Antique Store range from $1-$400 with most records falling between $5-$20.
Gabriela Madrigal who works at Margot's Ice Cream Parlor says all treats with the name "Kayla's Kandies" are made on site.
Vertigo coffee is roasted on site and uses coffee beans from all around the world.
Bear's Hideaway is pet-friendly and has two dogs and one cat on site.
All cast and crew members of the romantic comedy "Almost Maine" live in the area and describe the show as being "fun" and having "something for everyone."
Debritos currently has caramel apples that are decorated just for Valentine's Day.
San Benito Bene sells goods from local artisans.
Imelda Ceja makes all of the arrangements that she sells for Valentine's Day for between $10-$45.
The Inn in Tres Pinos is a popular spot for locals to go to dinner.
San Benito County is full of beautiful views if residents want to take a drive and take in the natural beauty of the county.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner people may be wondering what to buy for that special someone in San Benito County. Whether a person is interested in theater, grabbing an imported beer, or buying a locally made item, there is something for everyone in San Benito County.


Fool's Gold Antique Store

  • Location: 34 Polk St.
  • Gift idea: Purchase a record and/or turn table.
  • What makes it unique: As owner Halina Kleinsmith said, “One thing that sets us apart is we are San Juan’s record store.” Inside the antique shop customers can find records from different genre’s and decades, as well as a few turn tables for purchase. Records range in price from $1 to $400 with the average price of a record being between $5-$20. 
  • Why records for Valentine’s Day: As found on UC Berkeley's online magazine Greater Good Magazine, "Listening to music and singing together has been shown in several studies to directly impact neuro-chemicals in the brain, many of which play a role in closeness and connection." Kleinsmith confirmed this idea with her own observations as she said “Couple’s come in and buy records together,“ and enjoy doing so together as customers as they are “experiencing each other’s” music together.

Margot's Ice Cream Parlor

  • Location: 211 3rd St.
  • Gift idea: Chocolate covered treats and truffles.
  • What makes it unique: All treats sold in Margot's Ice Cream Parlor with the Kayla Kandies label are made on site. Gabriela Madrigal who works at Margot’s said that this included chocolate dipped cones, graham crackers, apricots, Oreos, as well as truffles. A repeat customer herself, Madrigal said, "Once you try it, its hard not to buy it again." 
  • Why sweets for Valentine’s Day: Following the idea behind a traditional gift for Valentine's Day Madrigal said, “It’s always been a thing to get someone something sweet." A benefit of shopping at Margot's according to Madrigal was that not only are customers supporting a local business in the community where they live, but they are also showing they are putting more thought into their gift than buying a discounted gift at a major retailer. 

Vertigo Coffee Roasters

  • Location: 81 Fourth St.
  • Gift idea: Coffee
  • What makes it unique: Vertigo prides itself in having coffee beans that come from all around the world including Ethiopia, Brazil, and Burundi. As barista Evan Morris said, “We get it (the coffee beans) green,” and then, “we roast it here on site.” Morris said that the coffee beans purchased to roast are all, “sourced through small farms,” which makes them, "a really personal commodity."
  • Why coffee for Valentine’s Day: “The whole idea behind coffee is it’s an experience you can share,” Morris said. Morris further described how couples can start their “day off right over coffee together” or can make coffee to enjoy together as they catch up and visit later in the day. 

Bear's Hideaway

  • Location: 402 3rd St. #B
  • Gift Idea: Premium cigars, beer, and wine
  • What makes it unique: “We are a little hideaway,” owner Lori Wilson said that is a, “small venue but everything I have is quality”. Named after one of her dog’s Bear, Bear’s Hideaway is a wine, beer, and cigar bar that is pet friendly. On site Wilson’s two dogs and cat named Clyde can be found interacting with customers.
  • Why Bear’s Hideaway for Valentine’s Day: “On Valentine’s Day I’m going to have a special on selected items,” Wilson said. Wilson will also have chocolates customers can enjoy while sitting either inside the shop or outside on the patio. Wilson explained that customers can purchase beer, wine, and cigars that are made both within the United States and internationally. 


San Benito Stage Company presents "Almost, Maine"

  • Location: IOOF – 330 4th Street
  • Gift Idea: Dinner Theater
  • What makes it unique: This show, which consists of six passionate actors playing nineteen different characters, is composed of a local cast and crew from Hollister, Aromas, San Juan Bautista, and Morgan Hill. Before the show starts customers will be able to participate in a social aspect which includes drinks and dinner. As dinner wraps up the show will begin followed by an intermission that includes dessert. Being described as having something for everyone by the cast and crew, Co-Director Norma Molchan said the performance shows, “Love is more than perfect moments.”
  • Why dinner theater for Valentine’s Day: “We picked the show with Valentine’s in mind,” show producer Anne Hall said while further stating, "It would be fun for someone wanting something to do on Valentine's Day," away from the traditional dinner and movie. Director James Swan further explained, “It’s nine little romantic vignettes,” in which you, “never know what’s going to happen.”
  • Special note: Tickets can be purchased on the San Benito Stage Company website or at Postal Graphics in Hollister. Tickets purchased in advance have a five dollar discount and groups of eight that buy their table in advance will receive a $50 discount and a complementary bottle of wine.

DeBrito Chocolate Factory

  • Location:160 Briggs Rd.
  • Gift Idea: Chocolate covered apples
  • What makes it unique: Whether a loved one wants a traditional caramel apple or one with the works, DeBrito is a locally run and operated business that produces chocolate covered apples and other treats that are sold online to people all across the United States or locally within their store on Briggs Rd. With Valentine’s Day coming soon DeBrito’s has also created special caramel apples such as the “Be Mine” and “Queen of Hearts” that include colors and designs that celebrate the holiday.
  • Why a caramel apple: As found on a January 6th post from a customer on Yelp, “We stumbled upon DeBrito at a fair ten years ago, and have been coming back ever since! My family loves these apples for special occasions.”

San Benito Bene

  • Location: 615-B San Benito St.
  • Gift Idea: Buy a locally made good such as a stained glass bracelet, soaps, and/ or food stuff such as olive oil.
  • What makes it unique: As found on a December 11 post on San Benito Bene’s Facebook page, “We feel blessed to provide a gift service that features our amazing area artisans and love customizing gifts/gift baskets with our favorite local offerings.”
  • Why a local made gift for Valentine’s Day: Buying local made goods to support local artists and businesses helps keep small businesses alive in our community. In a day and age when items are mass produced, buying locally helps people return to a more simple time based on community and high quality goods being made in smaller batches.

Imelda's Flowers

  • Location: 969 4th St. 
  • Gift Idea: Flowers and stuffed animals.
  • What makes it unique: As told by Ceja's son Raul, "What's unique about my mom selling flowers is everything is handmade." Ceja's creations can include roses, mixed flowers, and stuffed animals. "It's something she likes doing," Raul Ceja said further stating, "For her its about serving her community." Imelda Ceja confirmed this when saying, "My husband and I decided to work on our birthdays for the past eight years selling flowers because we admire how much love, compassion, and kindness there is in Hollister."
  • Why a flower bouquet and small gift: For someone more traditional, flowers and a stuffed animal can be the perfect gift for the holiday season. "When someone buys flowers they convey the message, 'I like you, I care for you, I'm thinking about you.' It's another way of showing how much your special someone means to you," Imelda Ceja said.
  • Special note: Imelda's Flowers is only open February 13 from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and February 14 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.


The Inn

  • Location: 6991 Airline Highway
  • Gift Idea: Dinner or a gift certificate 
  • What makes it unique: With a town population of a little under 500 people according to a 2010 census, The Inn in Tres Pinos is popular destination. While spotlighting the Pinnacles National Park on, the site said, “this historic landmark serves up filet mignon, salmon, veal (thankfully, no hot dogs); enjoy it all with a glass of local San Benito County wine served in an unpretentious dining room.”
  • Why dinner at The Inn for Valentine’s Day: As found on Yelp by one reviewer who enjoyed the atmosphere, “DO NOT COME TO INN AT TRES PINOS - unless you wanna be made to feel EXTRA special, have delicious food and phenomenal service! I was so blown away by their attention to detail!”
  • Special note: It may be important to call the restaurant early to make reservations in case the restaurant gets full for Valentine's Day.


Driving the back roads of San Benito County

  • Location: Back roads throughout San Benito County
  • Gift Idea: Take that special someone on a scenic, relaxing road trip through San Benito County 
  • What makes it unique: In an ever connected world sometimes it is nice to slow down and disconnect from it all. By driving throughout San Benito County people can focus on spending quality time talking while taking in the natural beauty of San Benito County. Great places to stop for a bite to eat while driving throughout the county are The Panoche Inn in the Panoche Valley, Dunneville Cafe and Market in Hollister, Paicines General Store and Restaurant in Paicines, and the Aromas Grill in Aromas. 
  • Why a drive through San Benito County: As winter starts to turn into spring San Benito County is starting to come back to life with the hills and valleys turning green as plants are starting to bloom. 
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Becky Bonner (bjbonner22)

Becky Bonner is a local teacher at San Benito High School who is passionate about sharing things to do in San Benito County.

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