Spring Dates

It is finally warm outside. Take advantage.

Based on a glance at the calendar, it’s spring.

Mother Nature, being the bipolar brat that she is, is messing with our heads about the weather. So it might seem anything but. One day she’s serving us up sunshine. The next day she’s dishing out sleet. It’s confusing and awful and enough to make you sick (literally and figuratively).

This can’t last forever, though. I don’t know about you—I’m ready for real spring. True spring. Birds chirping. Cherry blossoms. Green grass. An absence of snow and ice. No more winter! (Let’s chant it together.)

I’ve always thought, too, that spring is the best season for socializing. The vibe is right and there’s activities aplenty. Plus summer in this region is a cousin to the climate of Hades. Unless uber sweaty is the new sexy, it’s a tough look to pull off.

My zest for spring certainly carries over to dates. Winter, with its burr factor, might present the opportunity to snuggle up under a blanket in front of a fire, thus breaking the touch barrier with a suitor. Spring, however, brings possibility and ample opportunities for outdoor time and outdoorsy excursions in which to get to know someone.

Here are my favorite spring dates and Northern Virginia versions of where to make them happen:

Get in the water

Not only did Ryan Gosling’s character yell this in “The Notebook” to Rachel McAdams’, it’s also a good dating tactic. When it comes to water activities, there’s also no one size fits all deal here. Kayaks, canoes, paddle boats. If you want to take a really extravagant, fancy approach, there are even dinner cruises.

Where to do it: Alexandria’s Washington Sailing Marina, paddle boats at the Tidal Basin near the National Mall

Take a hike

There’s no better way to see the area than hundreds of feet up on the side of a mountain climbing on top of rocks. Challenge each other, get physical and keep taking breaks to savor the view.

Where to do it: Bull Run Regional Park, Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park

Go all artsy

So this isn’t an outdoor activity per se but creativity bonds people. That’s a fact. And I’ve always wanted (but never really had success in getting) a man to take me on an art-tastic date. That could mean a painting or drawing lesson that’s more structured, glimpsing someone else’s beautiful work or even visiting a studio and seeing artists in action as inspiration.

Where to do it: Torpedo Factory Art Center, the Reston location of Uncork’d Art

Make it mini golf

I’m a sucker for games. Not in relationships to gain an upper hand, mind you. But if a man can’t be a child every once in a while and goof around partaking in games, well, we’re probably not soul mates.

Where to do it: Woody’s Golf Range, Top Golf (which also has driving ranges)

Dining Al fresco

Let’s face it. Dinner on a rooftop, in a courtyard or sitting in a patio is heads and shoulders above a cramped bar or eatery’s interior — when the temps are right. The region is chock full of places like this, so make reservations already.

Where to do it: Almost anywhere on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, and  many to choose from throughout NoVA


Drinking in the great outdoors

If eating outside, why not imbibe? To me, this means vineyards. Virginia is known for its gardens to grapes, so a winery tour and tasting seems like an ideal way to get to know that special man or lady.

Where to do it: There are oh-so-many. To name two, Paradise Springs and The Winery at Bull Run


Outdoor Cinema

The idea of a traditional movie date has never thrilled me. But taking it outdoors brings a whole other dimension to it. Suddenly the date is a icnic and movie in one. And luckily in the region there are more and more outdoor movie options popping up every season.

Where to do it: Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival, Crystal Screen Outdoor Film Festival 

What are you waiting for?