Several of my friends are doing online dating. They tell me there is an art to finding the right setting and activity for “first dates” (or whatever you call the early encounters that help establish a connection). One prerequisite is that neither party should have to spend a lot of money on what might not turn out to be a good match. I came up with this little list with my dating friends in mind – but even us old married folks like a good date night!
Idea #1 – Go for a Stroll
Unless you are inseparable from your fur baby, I recommend showing up without a dog for this activity. (Will your date be more off put by the sight of you picking up dog poop, or by the notion that you don’t clean up after your pet? Who needs that stress?) And you want to select a walking spot that is scenic but not too strenuous, as the idea is not to impress your date with your cardio health, but to have an opportunity to hold a conversation in a pleasant setting. If you park at the East parking area to Radnor Lake, and walk around the lake, there’s not much elevation change and the scenery is lovely. (The West parking area has an initial short incline that won’t leave you winded if you take it slow.)
Idea #2 – Cook Something New
One of my favorite date night activities is taking a cooking class together, so I was disappointed when the Viking Cooking School closed several years ago. But – did you know that a new Sur La Table store has opened in Brentwood? Those classes are pricey, so I looked for a less expensive alternative. And I hit the jackpot when I opened the Nashville Community Education Spring 2018 Catalog. For just $25 each, you can sign up to learn Traditional Bangladeshi Cooking, Cuban Cooking, or Iraqi-Kurdish Cooking! Or, for just a little bit more, you can take three classes that will teach you to cook outdoors using cast iron cookware.
Idea #3 – Get Competitive
It’s time to put all those hours of watching “How It’s Made” to good use, and redeem the knowledge you gained in the past decade of failed Fantasy Football seasons. That’s right – Trivia Time! Although it’s possible to enter a local trivia contest as a twosome or join a sparsely-populated team, Trivia Nights are more fun when you’ve got some extra smart friends around you. Check out this updated list of places around Nashville offering trivia night contests. The contests are free – snacks and beverages are up to you!
Idea #4 – A Spirited Field Trip
This one’s for those who don’t avoid alcohol…some of the best tours in Nashville are those through local breweries, wineries and distilleries. Even my husband, who <gasp> doesn’t drink beer, enjoyed tour of Yazoo brewery ($8, includes a souvenir tasting glass). If you make the lovely drive out to Arrington Vineyards, you might get to enjoy some music on the lawn before or after your tasting experience ($7 for 4 wine tastings; $14 for 8 wines). And, even though their aged Tennessee whiskey isn’t ready yet (they bottle and sell some made by a larger distillery), the $10 tour and tasting at Leiper’s Fork Distillery is one of the most fun dates around.
Idea #5 – A Cultural Experience
Plaza Mariachi is a lovely indoor marketplace on Nolensville Rd. between the Nashville Zoo and Harding Place. Built in an old Kroger shopping center, the outdoor and indoor décor are reminiscent of traditional marketplace streets from Old Mexico. Interesting cafes, boutiques and a food market serve as main tenants of the center, and there’s a central plaza featuring live Latin music several nights per week. Thursday nights are Salsa Night – perhaps, if the mood and music are right, you’ll work off your dinner with a dance or two!
What’s your favorite cheap date?