Offbeat Pathways to the Heart : Cupid's Helpers Have What It Takes for Valentine's Day

Roses are red and they're popular on Valentine's Day. So is candy, but it's fattening. As the day approaches, anticipation rises. What to give one's beloved for Valentine's Day?

For the adventurous or unconventional romantic, there are ideas for offbeat, creative gifts.

For those who find themselves speechless with love on Valentine's Day, Ronni Korenblit's Sublime Rhyme will compose a poem and frame it in a colorfully decorated matte frame for $25.

In order to capture the personality of her subjects, Korenblit asks the sender detailed questions, including the loved one's favorite songs, sayings and hobbies. She then crafts her poem accordingly.

Korenblit's style runs the gamut from sunny sonnets to bawdy ballads and from sentimental love poems to humorous limericks. She has written poetry and parodies as a hobby for 20 years. The one-time English and drama major looks to William Shakespeare for her inspiration. "I admire the lyrical quality of his work," she said.

Korenblit works out of her Encino home. She also sets poems to music and, for an extra charge, will perform them. For more information, call Sublime Rhyme at 501-0388.

If an adventurous pursuer wants to inflate the romantic opportunities, there are balloon rides at dawn, complete with champagne.

Several Valley companies offer hot-air balloon rides on weekends, weather permitting. Prices hover near $90 for an hour, and include complimentary champagne after the flight.

The brightly colored balloons leave from the Thousand Oaks and Moorpark areas early in the morning, when the air currents are still mild. The balloons can carry up to 16 passengers.

Some of the companies offering balloon tours in the Valley are: Sunrize Ballooning Co. at 805/522-9914; High Times Hot Air Ballooning Co. at 805/522-8183 and Piuma Aircraft at 888-0576.

For a more down-to-earth gift, the William Barton Family rents antique carriages for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions.

The Bartons recreate a romantic mood from a bygone age, and with Valentine's Day coming up next week, they are preparing for a very special occasion.

The family's sleek quarter horses are carefully groomed and ribbons are braided in their manes. Workers scatter flowers in the carriages.

Quarter horses trained to move in heavy traffic pull the carriages. "The honking of horns is music to the horses' ears," Barton said.

For evening rides, 200 tiny night lights illuminate the carriage, the wheels and the horse itself.

Barton rents carriages that hold up to seven passengers. Some have tops, others are open. The variety of choices includes one of William Barton's prize possessions: a 1907 surrey with white fringe on top.

A glass coach with six beveled windows is also in the Barton collection. "It looks like Cinderella's carriage," Barton said with pride.

In the summer months popular for weddings, Barton said his carriages sometimes are booked up months in advance. Valentine's Day, however, is still open. His prices start at $200 and vary with the number of people and the length of time involved.

For more information, call (818) 447-6693.

During the age of chivalry, serenading minstrels wooed court ladies with music. In the computer age, Donna Norris Stevenson is still in the serenading business--as a harpist.

Stevenson has an eclectic repertoire. She plays classical music, "swing" harp (jazz tunes), pop and the standard glissando, in which the player runs her fingers along the strings to create a liquid, rippling sound.

Works of Franz Schubert and Felix Mendelssohn are favorite requests, according to Stevenson. Lionel Ritchie and Willie Nelson songs are also popular. Stevenson has performed with the Pasadena Symphony and the West Valley Chamber Orchestra.

Serenades at the location of your choice are priced at $100 an hour and $50 for each additional hour. For more information, call 349-8521 or 886-9279.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World