“That sounds awesome.”
Recently at a summer bonfire, I overhead the tail end of a conversation between my husband and his friends as Joel evidently described our first date. Joining them mid-conversation, I wasn’t sure what part of the date it was that sounded so awesome.
My first guess, because this was a group of guys, was the part where Joel and I had carved a Jack-O-Lantern, jabbed a bunch of sparklers into its mouth and ended our first date holding hands and watching it burn on my back porch. But no, he hadn’t made it to that part of the story yet.
This left the parts of our first date where we browsed records at an antique store for a friend’s birthday, wandered around some random neighborhood looking for a bookstore Joel had been to once (I love nothing so much as a bookstore), caught a movie at an independent theater and ate Korean barbecue.
All of this sounded awesome, the guys said, because our first date sounded like one big adventure. And it was.
So for the adventurous among you, here are a 10 summer date ideas for you to try.
Get out of town. Or, at least, out of the neighborhood. Try the Korean barbecue in K-Town or the turkey gizzards festival in a neighboring city. Find the things that make each place unique, kind of like your love (not that I would compare your date to a turkey gizzard).
Just get out. Drive to the nearest state park, body of water or quirky roadside attraction. Pack a picnic. Ride bikes. Point a telescope at the stars (throw in a star map and really impress your date). Rent a rowboat or kayak. Go fishing. Fire up the grill, maybe even for all those fish you caught. Take advantage of all the weather-permitting things 75 percent of the country can’t do 25 percent of the year.
Learn something. Visit a museum. Take a walking tour, a boat tour, a bike tour, a Segway tour (OK, maybe not a Segway tour), a ghost tour, an architectural tour or a foodie tour of your town. Find an event that will cultivate your common interests, and give you plenty to talk about.
Be trivial. Compete together in a trivia night; many bars and restaurants host these competitions. Maybe even use what you learned at the museum to show off your skills.
Visit your state or county fair. There is nothing more romantic than fried food on a stick–except maybe holding hands atop a ferris wheel, squeezing close together on the Tilt-A-Whirl, throwing darts at a balloon to win your admiring date a prize (or picking a duck out of a pond, based on your skill level) and cheering on the pig races together. The Illinois State Fair even has a husband-calling contest, if you’re trying to drop a hint.
See a Bollywood movie. Find a movie theater that screens Bollywood movies, produced by the Indian film industry based in Mumbai. Most are romantic comedies, punctuated with catchy song-and-dance numbers, and all of them clock in around three hours long. That’s three hours of hand-holding, brushing buttery fingers in the popcorn tub and, most importantly, air-conditioning.
Mini Golf. Your two-word ticket to a great time.
Burn things. If love is friendship set on fire, as the favors my mother chose for my bridal shower suggest, fan the flames with a bonfire on the beach, in the woods, or even in a fire pit in your suburban backyard. And don’t forget the s’mores. Everybody loves s’mores.
Be picky. Use PickYourOwn.org to find your nearest pick-your-own farm or fruit festival. Strawberries are in season May to June; cherries, June to July; blueberries and blackberries June to August; and raspberries, July to October, according to the website. Apples come into season around September, at the end of summer. Then Google or Pin recipes for cobblers and smoothies and pies to make together. Aren’t you sweet?
Volunteer. Why not have a fun at the same time you might learn something about your date and do good together? Find out what causes are close to him or her, then find a volunteer project you can tackle together on VolunteerMatch.org.
Emily McFarlan Miller is an awards-winning education reporter and adventurer, a social media-er, a Christian, and Chicagoan. Mostly, she writes. Connect with her at http://www.emmillerwrites.com/