Great Dates Around the States
Some really great people have supported this venture by hosting a date. If you're ever in the area and you're looking for something unique to do, check out these options!! They were wonderful to me and my dates!
Date #5: The Lanterns Festival at Wildwood Park for the Arts in Little Rock
Friday, February 26
Luminaries, lanterns, and moonlight -- what a recipe for romance! From what I understand, Wildwood is a botanical garden & performing arts center that's beautiful on a normal day, but one weekend a year, in celebration of the first full moon, they put on this festival with food & entertainment from around the world. We ate lamb kabobs in Morocco, springrolls in Asia, and churros in Mexico, all without leaving Little Rock. There was entertainment at each "locale" as well -- my favorite was the mariachi band in Mexico. There were lots of kids there, too, so I guess there's something for everyone, but I really thought it was a great place to bring a date. We had plenty of time to talk as we wandered along the lit up pathways, and the whole event was really well done. Way to break my stereotypes about Arkansas, Wildwood!
Date #11: Steak, Roast, & Chop Workshop at the Viking Cooking School in Atlanta
Wednesday, March 17
Wow! Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I'm a meat & potatoes kinda girl (growing up on a farm in Iowa will do that to you!), so I thought this class was fabulous! I was afraid Mr. Georgia and I were going to have to make the meal ourselves, which could have been disastrous (and left us hungry!), but instead we got to watch Chef Chip and his lovely assistant Peggy do the majority of the work. They were incredible! We started off sampling the Chopped Salad with Three-Peppercorn Buttermilk Dressing (Did you know there was such a thing as pink peppercorns? I did not.), then dug into THREE kinds of meat: Grilled New York Strip with Cabernet Butter, Roasted Prime Rib of Beef with Horseradish Cream, and Pork Chops with Italtian Sausage Sauce. It was unbelievable. Oh, and sweet Peggy made delicious Roasted Garlic Popovers, too. We finished off with Chocolate Mint Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Glaze before waddling out. The cool thing about this class was the variety of people taking it. There was another couple at the opposite end of the counter, a father and teenage son, and a guy learning to cook to impress his wife. They've got these schools around the country, so you can see if they have classes closer to where you live. We all left with a better idea of how to do things like chop veggies, select good quality cuts of meat, and test for doneness. Now if only I had a kitchen to try out my new skills in . . .
Date #43: Mystery Adventures in Las Vegas
Friday, October 15
What a cool idea -- be presented with a mystery, then go rip apart offices and labs for clues to find out who done it! There were ten of us in our group -- my date and I, another couple, and then a group of six friends. We worked together doing everything from pulling clues off of computers to deciphering secret codes to finding a secret door in the back of a closet that led to a secret workroom. A bus took us from location to location, three stops in all, and we had an excellent time! We even won prizes! The couple who leads the entire experience was just awesome -- a great example of people turning an idea into a livelihood. Viva Las Vegas!!
Date #1: High Finance Restaurant at the top of the tram in Albuquerque
Thursday, February 18
Wow! Way to get this adventure started right, Albuquerque! I met Mr. New Mexico at the base of the Sandia Peak Tramway -- the world's longest aerial tramway -- for the ascent. The tram unloaded us at 10,378 feet -- what a view! It was pretty cold up that high, so we hustled into the restaurant. What a cool place -- the seating areas are terraced so everyone gets to look out the windows at that incredible view. We had a great waiter, Carlos, who presented us with so many delicious sounding choices that it was hard to pick. We split the calamari appetizer -- yum! -- and I went with the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, 'cause you can't go wrong with pork. :) (My dad's a hog farmer -- gotta support the family business!) My date had the shrimp scampi fettuccine; I realize now that I never even asked him if it was good, but I'll take his clean plate as a yes. I'd read that they were voted the #1 place to take out-of-town visitors, and I can see why! I'd say it's a "must see" in Albuquerque!
Date #34: Adventure Shooting Sports near Fargo
Friday, September 10
was one of the most fun dates I've had thus far -- I got to shoot a
really big gun! John, the owner, set us up with a shotgun and a bunch
of shells, and we went out to the range to shoot clay pigeons. My date
was a much better shot than I was, but I hit more than I thought I
might. After that, we went inside to their restaurant and had the surf
& turf special. I admit that I maybe didn't expect much in Fargo
(sorry, but the movie was my only point of reference!), but before I
even got to taste the food, I was impressed by the presentation -- a big
ol' steak, topped with grilled shrimp, placed over mashed potatoes with
asparagus on the side. Yum, yum, yum. I tried to keep up the
conversation while shoveling it in. So good!! Savannah, the best
waitress in the world, suggested cheesecake with raspberry sauce to
finish us off. I seriously haven't had such a good meal in months!
Date #28: Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, OH
Monday, August 30
Holy cow, I have a ton of people to thank in Ohio! First of all, thanks to Randy Hugg at Mix 102.7fm for screening potential Mr. Ohio's and picking a fun one for me. He also contacted Cedar Point, and they hooked us up with free tickets. Awesome!! Big thanks to Roseann Hickman at Perfect Color Hair and Tan in Port Clinton for the free hair cut and products and local wine!! You're the best, Roseann! Thanks for making me look and feel fabulous! There was also a gift from Great Lakes Popcorn Co. waiting for me. Their shop is right next door to the salon and they brought over some road trip munchies for me! Thanks! Roseann also contacted her friends Bart and Sandy at Our Sunset Place in Catawba Island, the most beautiful Bed & Breakfast ever. They let me pick which room I wanted to stay in, (a tough choice since they were all incredible), so I went with the jacuzzi tub room! I slept like a baby that night! Breakfast was delicious -- fresh fruit, homemade muffins, thick slices of bacon, and French toast with caramelized peaches on top. Unbelievable! If I make any money on this book I'm going back for a week. Also, while Roseann was doing my hair, Jody from Bergman Greenhouses & Market came in with a basket of locally grown fruit and a bag of roasted peanuts. The peaches were to die for! I'm so happy to be back in the Midwest! People are so friendly here!!
Date #12: Frankie's Fun Park in Columbia
Friday, March 26
This date was so much fun! Frankie's treated us to a little bit of everything. They have three go-cart tracks, ranging from kiddie cars to serious race cars (I spun out multiple times . . . no comments on women drivers, please). We also tried out the giant fun slide, which was a flashback to my childhood. Love those gunny-sack slides! There are three different mini golf course routes and a great laser tag set up. Inside there are so many different arcade games -- my faves were the classic ski ball (the tickets flowed like water) and basketball (I won no tickets). They had bumper boats, too, but we weren't sure whether or not we'd get wet, so we skipped those. At the end of our date we cashed in our many tickets for matching mini Care Bears (my idea, not his . . . but he'll remember me every time he looks at it!). I would highly recommend a date at Frankie's for anyone who's stuck in the boring rut of dates at coffee shops or restaurants. I screamed, I laughed, and I had lots of time to get to know Mr. South Carolina over fun activities. Great date!
Date #2: Gondola Adventures on Lake Carolyn in Irving
Sunday, February 21
How romantic!! Even though it was a bit chilly, Mr. Texas was brave and got in the boat for our cruise on Lake Carolyn and the Mandalay Canals. We complied with some of the traditions (him helping me into the boat) but skipped others (kissing going under a bridge). :) I didn't even know the guy and I thought it was romantic, so imagine how romantic it would be if you were with someone you love! Our gondolier Matthew said lots of couples have gotten engaged on his cruises, and there's even been a wedding on board! He sang for us as we went along -- I would recommend you ask specifically for him, but he said there are other great gondoliers, too, including a classically trained singer, so you probably can't go wrong with any of them. It was rather cold, so you might want to wait for a warmer night, but Matthew was prepared with blankets and hot cider, so we were just fine. If you're looking for a memorable date in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, this is it!!
Date #44: Dirt Biking in Wasatch Mountain State Park
Thursday, October 21
Big thanks to Korey Smith from Heber, Utah's Pro-Action Suspension for giving me a bike to cruise around on. From what I understand, there are different sizes of bikes for different sizes of people, and also bikes that have less power than others. I was on a starter bike . . . meaning I wouldn't get it going so fast that I'd hurt myself. :) If you're going to be in the area and you're looking for something fun and fast, you can rent bikes and get instruction there, too.
Date #22: Tandem Jump at Vermont Skydiving Adventures
Monday, May 3
Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Huge thanks to Ole and the gang at Vermont Skydiving Adventures for swinging me an amazing deal on a tandem jump. My instructor was awesome, everyone was laid back and friendly, and I've watched my video about five times now. It's the coolest thing ever and my stomach still gets that butterfly feeling every time I see myself going up in the plane and jumping out. I got a chance to sit around with Ole after I was finished, and he's pretty much the most chill business owner ever. I don't think this is a date you'd want to surprise someone with, because they might freak out and not do it, but it's definitely a memorable date if both parties are willing and adventurous! Plus the views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks are incredible!