Whether you’re going on a first date or you’ve been married for years, every relationship can use a little spicing up now and then. And while dinner and a movie is nice, Virginia has many, many more options to kindle – or rekindle – a spark. The best part is that many of them won’t cost you a thing. Here are few ideas to help you put some romance in the air and get you and that special someone just a little closer…
1. Visit an Art Museum.
There’s something about the quiet thoughtfulness of an art museum that allows you to stand just a little closer. Plus, there’s always a quiet alcove to duck into when the moment is right. The Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, The Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke or the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk are all great places to prove me right.
2. Listen to Live Music.
3. Take a Cooking Class.
Like I said in the beginning, dinner is nice, but how much better would it be if you made it together? Check your local listings for available cooking classes. Sources like Yelp and TripAdvisor are great places to get ideas and reviews, or contact a local cooking school for available times and classes.
4. Go on a River Cruise.
Watch the sunset from the deck of a river boat and half the work is already done for you in the romance department. Try river boat cruises of the James, the Tappahannock or the Potamac. The
The Potomac Riverboat Company
, shown here, takes off from Old Town Alexandria and offers waterfront tours of Old Town, Founders Park, the Old Town Yacht Basin, Jones Point Lighthouse and more.
5. Take a Bike Ride.
Trails like the Virginia Creeper Trail beginning in Abingdon (shown here), or the High Bridge Trail State Park through Cumberland, Nottoway and Prince Edward counties, offer an ideal biking experience. If you don't have bikes of your own, both trails have bike rental locations nearby. And with fall on its way, you can't beat the scenery.
6. Sit, Sip and Enjoy the View at a Winery.
A glass of wine and a stunning view will create the mood in no time. Virginia has more than 230 wineries and vineyards to choose from and you can’t go wrong wherever you choose. From Loudoun County to Tidewater, Virginia wineries are a perfect date destination.
7. Go Fly a Kite.
No matter what your age, flying a kite will make you feel like a kid again. And the best part is that all you need is an open space, a good breeze and that special someone for the perfect experience. Try a quiet beach or a nearby field for a date you won't soon forget.
8. Visit an Historic Landmark or Take an Historic Home Tour.
Make your first date - or your 100th - one for the history books. Start in the right place at one of Virginia's hundreds of historic sites, towns and homes. How about Old Cape Henry lighthouse in Fort Story? Or visit Patrick Henry's Scotchtown in Beaverdam to hear of his tragic love story with a wife who he kept with him, even after she went insane. See The Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum in Abingdon. Or visit a president's home like Mount Vernon in Northern Virginia, or Monticello in Charlottesvile. The options are endless.
9. Go Apple Picking.
Virginia is full of beautiful orchards to choose from. Recently suggested to us was
Stribling Orchard at Mountain View Farm
in Markham. Pick your own apples (or peaches July - August), then enjoy some fresh cider while you stroll through the grounds featuring historic buildings, farm animals and the breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
10. Find Love at a Botanical Garden.
Even in the fall, Virginia's Botanical Gardens are ideal for a romantic stroll. Exquisite flowers, quiet greenhouses, hidden corners…basically, the garden does all the work for you. Check out Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond (shown here) or Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Norfolk. You won’t be sorry!
11. Go for a Scenic Drive.
With fall rapidly on its way, a "Sunday Drive" takes on a whole new level of beauty. Try a few of the
we told you about recently (like this one through Grayson Highlands State Park), or find some of your own. And, of course, Colonial Parkway between Yorktown, Williamsburg and Jamestown is beautiful any time of year - or stick with old standbys like the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just don't run out of gas…unless lines like that still work these days.
12. Spend the day at a State Park.
From picnics to hikes to kayaks and canoes…our state parks are unmatched when it comes to amazing date ideas. You can even go treasure hunting with geocache adventures available at most parks. See our
favorite state parks
Virginia State Parks
to find the one nearest you.
13. Visit a Haunted House, take a Haunted Hayride or go on a Ghost Walk.
Halloween may still be more than a month away, but it's never too early to create ridiculously staged situations in which you have to grab on to your significant other - and maybe just forget to let go. Think about it guys - she screams, you get to put your arm around her and comfort her. He screams - and ladies, you've got something to hold over his head forever. This is a win-win, hands down. Try
Creepy Hollow Scream Park
in Glen Allen for their Haunted Hayride and Scream Forest Adventure Walk if you're really adventurous.
14. Take a Stroll Through a College Campus.
It may seem corny, but if you're looking for an inexpensive, but unique date, there’s nothing like young love to inspire romance. College campuses in Virginia are timeless in the romance department. The University of Virginia in Charlottesville and the College of William and Mary were ranked among the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in 2015 – so those are a great place to start. But I should warn you, William and Mary comes with a legend. If you cross the Crim Dell Bridge, then share a kiss, your love will last a lifetime. Should you break up, then sorry guys, if you want what’s best for your former love, you have to let her push you off the bridge or she will be alone forever. Please try to do the right thing.
16. Pack a Picnic and Head to a Covered Bridge.
There's a reason covered bridges are also called “kissing bridges.” Virginia used to have plenty of these romantic hideaways, but today, only 5 remain open to visit. Built in 1857, Humpback Bridge is Virginia's oldest covered bridge -- and one of the most iconic sites in the state. The stage is pretty much set with this one – all you have to do is get that special someone there.
Where are your favorite date spots? Better yet, we would love to hear about the most romantic date you’ve been on with a special someone – past or present! Please let us know in the comments below!