Sometimes I think back to before we became parents and realize that we were a little on the boring side. Yes, we went out to dinner, spent time with friends and held gatherings at our house. But, overall, we were pretty low key.
I realize now, in retrospect, that we could have been a little more creative when we had more time on our hands.
Hindsight is always 20/20.
Date nights/days naturally become more precious when parenthood hits. Unsurprisingly, we now put more thought into what we do when we get some time to ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, dinner and a movie is still a nice night out! But, with longer days and warm nights, summer is a perfect time to try new things.
Here are some of my local summer date night/day to-do’s (and a few we’ve already done and some we really want to try!):
- Wineries/Breweries: Visiting local wineries and breweries are a great way to unwind while supporting local businesses. The Coastal Wine Trail is a list of local wineries stemming from Connecticut, through Rhode Island, ending on Cape Cod. Many vineyards have an outdoor area where you can enjoy your tasting. The RI Brew Trail is another option if wine isn’t your thing. My husband and I just made a date day of three Pawtucket breweries recently and had a lot of fun. You really can’t go wrong!
- Bowling/Mini-Golf: When we have a dinner and bowling or mini-golf date, I suddenly feel transported to our early days of “teenagery” dating. You know, that awkward time when there wasn’t much to do , or the money to do it. It’s a simple date night, but helps us hold onto a glimmer of youth, and have a few laughs about how bad we were (and still are) at bowling/golfing.
- Enjoy the Water: We are the Ocean State after all! Go to the beach sans kids. Remember what that was like? (I don’t either!). Or, go on a Whale Watch. Frances Fleet boats leave right out of Narragansett. My husband and I are really itching to try the recently opened Providence Kayak. It’s a reasonably affordable way to explore the Providence and Woonasquatucket Rivers.
- Al Fresco Dining: Dinner is standard date-night fare, but why not enjoy the nice weather and scenery our state has to offer? If you want more of a city feel, Cafe Nuovo has an outdoor dining area with incredible views of our capital city. On the upscale side, Waterman Grille or The Boat House Restaurant, offer beautiful dining vistas. Blu on the Water and Chelo’s Waterfront offer waterfront dining options and occasional live music. Looking for a more economical option? Grab chowder and clam cakes from George’s of Galilee and dine on one of their decks. Or, better yet, take it to go to Salty Brine Beach and enjoy a casual dinner watching incoming ferries, complete with a sunset.
- Enjoy Historical Sites: This might not be for everyone, but my husband and I have a semi-history buff side. Perhaps the most well-known historical sites in our state are the Newport Mansions. Visiting a couple of mansions is a great way to have day date! Follow up a visit to the mansions by exploring the Cliff Walk, or the Brick Market Place. Alternatively, if you are interested in going to Boston, head to the Freedom Trail. My husband and I took a Freedom Trail tour as part of a Boston date day. Neither of us had been since junior high, but it was an informative tour that was right up our alley.
- Get Creative: By now, you’ve heard of the popular trend of Paint Nite. You don’t have to artistically inclined to go, and it’s a nice way to spend an evening with your significant other. There’s also Plant Nite which might be more appealing to those who harbor art aversions. No green thumb is necessary, just an open mind! Both Paint and Plant Nites are usually held in local restaurants, so it’s also a great way to try new dining options. If you want to get even more hands on, Clayground in East Greenwich offers paint-your-own and make-your-own pottery. I not-so-secretly want to try my hand at the pottery wheel with my hubby and hope to make it there soon!
- Catch a Sporting Event: Head to Newport to catch a polo match at Newport Polo. Pack a picnic and beverages and grab a lawn or grandstand seat They are available on a first-come-first-serve basis on game day at a reasonable price. Alternatively, you can pick up some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and head to a PawSox game.
It’s easy for us as parents to ignore the need for time to ourselves. Date nights don’t have to be extra creative or particularly expensive to be time well-spent together. But, it’s fun to be a little different. Please share with us your favorite ideas for summer dates!