This cool weather, and all the extra time on my hands, has gotten me thinking. Specifically about all of the things I would love to do with my husband during the most beautiful season of the year. I don’t get to spend nearly as much time with my man as I would like to seeing as how he’s working to support us both right now, but I love making the most of the time we do get together to make him feel appreciated and special. Perhaps you have more time to spend with your loved one, but can’t think of any ideas, or you have someone you’d like to woo. Well, I’m happy to share my ideas with you, along with a few pointers to make these moments that much more special.
Fall is the perfect time for apple picking and here in Charlottesville, we have a ton of places to do this. The best is probably Carter Mountain Orchard for quite a few reasons. Not only do they have a wide variety of apples to choose from, but they also have an amazing view, hot food, apple cider donuts, and hard cider available to those of age. They do live music in the evenings and there are tons of great gift ideas too. If you are from the Charlottesville area, or even just driving through, Carter’s Mountain is well worth the trip. If you don’t live in the Charlottesville area, just ask google where the closest apple orchard is to you. If there aren’t any orchards near you don’t despair, go to your local grocery store, pick out a few different varieties of apples, and have your own apple taste test party at home!
Check out the Local Color
Another one of my favorite fall activities is checking out the local color. I love taking my hubby up along Sky Line Drive, our local scenic road through the Shenandoah National Park. This road extends for 105 miles from Front Royal to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro and if you drive the whole thing it takes about 3 hours. There are lots of points of interest along the way, including viewpoints, picnic areas, rest stops, and restaurants. You can also get out to hike along nature trails and other activities as well.
Couples Costume Party
It may be too late for this one, but keep it in mind for next October. Costume parties are a load of fun. I always try to pick a matching costume for my husband and I that we can do cheaply and that we may be able to reuse in coming years. This year he went as Doctor Who and I used an old dress and went as the Tardis, we didn’t have to buy anything except some foam and hot glue. Costume parties like this are a great way to get your goofy on and show a less serious side of your personality to your friends, the one you love, and yourself too.
My husband and I both love star-gazing, and will often go out to my mother’s house in Green County where the light pollution isn’t so bad to watch meteor showers and other astrological events. She also has a hot tub, and though it may not “face the right direction” as she claims, there is something magical about sitting in a hot tub with a nice glass of wine while staring at the stars. If you don’t have access to a hot tub, warm sweaters, some pillows, and a few cozy blankets are the next best thing. Even better in the bed of a truck or in a blow up kiddie pool for support. There are quite a few apps for your phone that will show you a map of the night sky, so you can look for your astrological sign and tell whether that bright light you’ve been staring at is a satellite or a plane.
Visit an Art Gallery
Charlottesville has a pretty populous art community and on the first friday of every month most of the galleries change over their exhibits. If you or your partner are into art, find a showing near you and take a look around. You don’t have to be experienced in art history to have an opinion and the discussion afterwards can be quite revealing. When your eyes have had their fill, head home or to your neighborhood wine bar to have a glass and discuss your thoughts. If you’d rather be making the art you can check out a pint and paint night. These aren’t just married ladies get-aways anymore. Try your hand at painting or any variety of crafting while getting sufficiently lubricated along the way. Maybe your painting will be good, or maybe it will be very very bad, but you will have fun finding out and getting out of your comfort zone.
Live Concert or Music Festival
Live music has always been an important part of my life, so I try to make it an important part of my relationship too. My husband and I try to swap off on seeing our favorite musicians live, or going to see whomever might be playing tonight at a location we like. We don’t do this nearly enough, but I’m working on it. Not only does experiencing live music lift up my heart and spirit, but it’s a great way to spend time together without having to talk too much. I know relationships are supposed to be all about communication, but sometimes you want to spend time with someone without having to talk a lot or be heavily emotionally invested in the “evening going well.” When the music’s too loud to talk, we can just dance, have a beer, and not think about our worries or who did the dishes last. Charlottesville has ton’s of free music events where this is totally possible. I”m sure your town does too. I suggest checking your town’s local paper or webpage for local music opportunities.
Every now and then, when I’m obviously stressed, and obviously in the middle of something not super important; my husband will put on some music and make me dance with him. When we first started dating, we went to a swing dancing class with a local dancing club. We learned some basic steps and generally had a really great time. We haven’t had the time or money to go back, but we always talk about it and always want to make it happen. There are quite a few dancing schools and clubs in our area: swing dancing, salsa, and ballroom. Most of these groups get together at local bars and events for dancing nights at least once a week and some even offer free classes at the beginning of these outings. The classes usually mean you will be passed around the circle dancing with a bunch of strangers all night, but I’ll be honest, this makes me appreciate my husband even more. I hate being in groups of strangers and have generalized anxiety when it comes to crowds. However, he still manages to make these evenings fun for me and we learn a lot each time.
If a fancy harvest dinner isn’t in your budget then plan a friendsgiving. The event itself shouldn’t need too much explanation. It’s like a thanksgiving that you have with your friends instead of your family. Everyone brings something to eat and something to drink, and in my experience it usually ends with a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity. It also give you an opportunity to play matchmaker with your single friends, which could be great or terrible.
Fall is really the season of food. I know most people think that summer is when all of the best foods become fresh, especially with all of the cook outs, but fall is the season of the harvest. WIth that being said, a lot of restaurants and wineries host harvest dinners. They tend to be a bit more expensive, and have a prix fix menu, but they are also very creative and use produce in ways I never would have imagined. I love to sit in on at least one of these events per year if I can, sometimes this means I cater the event, but when I’m lucky I get to go with my husband and those nights are particularly special.
Wine Tasting or Beer Tasting etc.
Any date list of mine would be incomplete without wine or beer tastings, or any other tastings for that matter. I’m not sure why fall in particular makes me want to go wine tasting but it does. In the Charlottesville area we also have a few cideries, meaderies, and even distilleries, so this idea can get really interesting really quickly. I either like to hit one winery at a time or grab some friends and make a day of it. Most places will let you bring in your own food too, so pack a picnic basket with cheese, meats, crackers, and whatever else you like to keep sober along the road.
For those who have an extra-large heart, volunteering this time of year is always extra special. Whether you want to collect food for the food bank, or give blood. It’s nice to have someone to go with you and share in the warm and fuzzies. It’s also great to have someone else who can drive if you tend to get woozy giving blood. If you can’t think of a charity you’d like to help out, you could also make and pass out meals for the homeless or even just make a few no-sew blankets.
All of these ideas can be improved with the presence of a picnic basket loaded to the brim with tasty, seasonal treats. Or, you can just go on a picnic to enjoy the beautiful fall colors, and crisp weather. This is a great opportunity to pull out extra blankets that never get used, and the extra warm, soft sweaters that seem too casual for a party but too warm to wear to dinner. My recommendations for a fall picnic include: apples, honey, roasted almonds, prosciutto, blue cheese, triple cream brie, Ritz Crackers (they’re my favorite), some sweet potato popovers, a thermos of mulled wine, and fresh cinnamon scones.
What’s your favorite fall date idea? What do you think of my Picnic menu? I’d love to hear your opinion below or you can e-mail me at email@example.com!