By Courtney McEwen, Editor
Whether it’s a feeling of first date jitters or 46 years of butterflies, life’s harried nature can cause a lack of creativity and render us date-challenged. From simple to safari, here’s a few ideas that are sure to inspire, going beyond the standard dinner and a movie. New, exciting and unexpected experiences create vivid memories, and these are sure to leave a lasting impression.
LITTLE ITALY – A setting sun, gentle breeze, sip of champagne and soft music make for a romantic evening. Add a gondola built for two and it’s romance at its finest. At Mandalay Canal in Las Colinas, you can choose from a basket-lunch cruise, gourmet dinner cruise or the beloved chocolate and champagne cruise. For more information, visit www.gondola.com. Side note: A lot of craftsmanship goes into making these tapered vessels. Each hull is made out of 280 intricately cut pieces of wood including oak, elm, fir, walnut and mahogany to name a few.
DINING AL FRESCO– Celebrate Labor Day with your love by creating a dinner menu perfectly customized for the grill. Infuse a little early Oktoberfest by incorporating bratwurst with your already planned salads, sliced fruits or vegetables, pastas and cheeses. A seasonal potted plant on the patio table adds a romantic touch. Side note: Don’t forget to winterize and clean your grill. Heat on high, covered, for about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly and scrape with grill brush.
LUXURY DRIVE-IN – Does your date have a dream car? Rent your beloved’s chariot for the day and enjoy a night under the stars at Coyote Drive-In theater in Fort Worth. With pre-movie live music, food truck cuisine and craft beers, it’s a recipe for many memorable date nights to come. For more information, visit coyotedrive-in.com.
LIFE IN TANDEM – Anybody can go on a bike ride together but not everybody can go on a bike ride “together.” For your next date, consider renting a tandem bike and experience a journey from a whole new perspective. Not to mention, your partner can pedal when you get tired. Date success. Side note: Studies show that cycling only three hours per week can cut your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent. Let’s ride.
STARGAZING – Plan a romantic evening under the stars with your certain someone. Whether it’s a park bench and champagne or a blanket and a thermos of delicious hot apple cider, enjoy a wondrous evening . Visit space.com for skywatching events. Side note: If you’re a beginner photographer, visit digital-photography-school.com for an easy tutorial on how to capture the best star images.
BACKSTAGE SAFARI – Take your love on a morning date with a 90-minute guided tour behind the scenes of The Dallas Zoo. It is sure to be an adventure with opportunities to feed the elephants, meet the penguins or explore an encounter with a cheetah. Love is in the air and the animals are adorable. For more information, visit dallaszoo.com. Side note: Since it launched three years ago, it has raised nearly $90,000 for wildlife conservation projects across the globe.
RIDE THE RAILS – Spend time with your date at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, complete with steam engines and luxurious Victorian coaches. In the fall months, the open-air coaches are a welcome delight. Make things extra special by climbing aboard the wine train and experiencing all of Grapevine’s well-known wineries. For more information, visit grapevinetexasusa.com. Side note: In 1827, the first steam locomotive lost a race to a horse-drawn train.
READ ALOUD – Reading to each other may seem like a cliché but it can be a great way to spend quality time together. A good book can transport you to another place, inspire discussion and even result in a little giggling. Studies show that reading aloud is exercise for your brain. It’s a much more complex activity for the human brain and is proven to build new connections. It seems only natural to read to the one you love.
THE ALE TRAIL – Are you searching for the perfect pint? In and around Fort Worth, you can visit up to nine breweries that are working daily to serve the best in craft bears. A unique date that is sure to be memorable, you might even make a few new friends along the way. For more information, visit fortworth.com. Side note: Our daylight savings time change is Nov. 6 but in Belgium, it’s Oct. 30. I think it’s safe to say, happy hour people everywhere are proclaiming “It’s six o’clock somewhere!”