Married couples who wish to add some romance to their dates will discover many new options if they think outside the box. Instead of a predictable dinner at a restaurant or an evening at the cinema, search out overlooked and unexpected venues for your dates, like a nearby waterway or even your backyard. With a bit of advanced planning, even a ride on a commuter train can become a romantic date.
A Memorable Date on a River or Lake
Lakes and rivers provide a beautiful setting for a romantic date. Think beyond the predictable beach picnic and look for other romantic opportunities. Rent a sailboat and spend the afternoon sailing around a lake. Charter a houseboat and spend the weekend cruising a river. Borrow your best friend’s canoe and take an early morning paddle down a creek.
Check with a local forest preserve or state park; many offer boat rentals for use within their property.
In addition, look for unique boating opportunities available in your community. For example, private companies in Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles offer gondola rides on nearby lakes and rivers. The LaSalle Canal Boat gives one-hour rides on its mule-pulled boat that travels on the historic Illinois and Michigan Canal near Chicago. Padelford Riverboats offers stern-wheeler cruises down the Mississippi River near St. Paul, Minnesota.
Romantic Train Ride
This idea requires some research and advance planning. It is especially appropriate for individuals who live in the suburban area of a big city with commuter train service.
Plan a day-long date riding the commuter train through some of the picturesque towns along its route. Get off the train at different towns to enjoy breakfast at a popular pancake restaurant, purchase a bouquet of flowers, see a film in a historic theater, stroll along a beautiful river, shop for treasures at an antique mall, share a banana split at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor or visit a local museum. Your trip’s itinerary depends on the sites, restaurants and attractions available in each town along your route.
For example, a commuter train trip through Chicago’s western suburbs could include stops in Elmhurst to taste gourmet ice cream, Glen Ellyn to see Lake Ellyn, Wheaton to visit the Billy Graham Center Museum and Geneva to stroll along the Fox River and finish the day with a meal at a restaurant that overlooks the river.
An Idyllic Backyard Dinner
In his book “250 Ways to be Romantic,” Author Barry Rosen suggests planning an “All Out Backyard Dinner” for your sweetheart. He describes how one man transformed his backyard into a romantic outdoor restaurant complete with a canopied dining area, a table draped in a fine linen cloth, fresh-cut flowers, long tapered candles and fine china. A friend dressed in a tuxedo acted as the waiter during the gourmet meal that the man enjoyed with his girlfriend. Afterward, the couple danced to music playing on a nearby stereo and spent time looking at the stars. Rosen also suggested enjoying champagne and conversation around a fire if your city allows backyard fire pits.