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Out of the Box Date Ideas

February 1, 2011

By Brianne Harrison Moore

By February, most of us are deep in the winter doldrums, hibernating in our homes and possibly overindulging in comfort foods. I say it’s time to shake things up, and since this is the month of romance, why not get out and enjoy some fun new date ideas?

Take to the Ice: When was the last time you strapped on skates and went out on the ice? For most of us, it’s been a while, which means it can be a little intimidating. Fortunately, skating’s like riding a bike—once you’ve done it once, you don’t really forget. Skating gives you a nice excuse to hold hands, and as a bonus, it burns lots of calories (up to almost 500 an hour!). Find a list of rinks here.

Move It: Improve your moves with a dance class (Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Upper Montclair’s offering a free Sweetheart Class on Valentine’s Day, and Swinging with Simone is partnering with The Chocolate Path to offer a group dance lesson and chocolate tasting. Click here to learn more and to get some exclusive NJL H+B discounts.). Like skating, dancing’s good exercise, and let’s be honest, haven’t you always dreamed of really learning how to waltz like Cinderella?

Go Green: There’s a foot of snow on the ground, but indoor gardens, like those at Longwood Gardens in nearby Kennett Square, PA, are blooming. Longwood is currently showing an Orchid Extravaganza exhibit trough March 27, and there are dozens of other plants and flowers on display in their Conservatory, which also includes a children’s garden and Longwood’s pipe organ, which has recently been rebuilt and will be unveiled this weekend with three days of events and concerts.

Wine Down: New Jersey is home to several wineries and vineyards. Why not pay a visit, perhaps take a tour of the vineyard, and sample some locally made vintages? At Unionville Vineyeards in Ringoes, you can even take dance classes most Sundays through February, though you do have to book those in advance (visit for more information).

Down Time: Indulge and unwind with some couples spa treatments. You can never go wrong with a good massage, and this month, plenty of spas in New Jersey are offering special treatments: The Urban Muse in Denville has the Couple’s Retreat, which includes roses, a massage in a candlelit room, and a box of handmade chocolates to take home. Araya Rebirth has a Casablanca Couple’s Retreat, Avanti has a Cupid’s Seduction, and Koi Spa has The Couples Connection and the Geisha Experience for Two (Princeton location only).

Continuing Education, Part I: Escape both the house and the chill by visiting one of the state’s many museums for a couple of hours. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or even aviation, you can find something to suit your passions. For a full list of museums, visit

Continuing Education, Part II: Take a class together. Want to learn how to cook a new dish, appreciate wines, or improve your warrior pose? Find a common interest, then track down a class the two of you can take together. There are a wealth of cooking schools and classes in the state, and Amanti Vino in Montclair has created two romantic classes just in time for Valentine’s Day: Sweetheart’s Dark Chocolate and Vino (February 11) and Pink, Orange, & Salmon, Oh My! Rose’s from Around the World (February 12). For more information, visit

Snow Day: Relive your childhood (and take advantage of all the snow that’s out there) by spending an afternoon playing in the snow. Go sledding, build a fort or a snowman, and have a snowball fight (excellent if you’re planning a double or group date). Afterwards, warm up with some rich hot chocolate and a cuddle by a roaring fire.

Change it Up: Dinner out is a classic, but plenty of the state’s top restaurants are now offering delicious, fancy brunches too. Why not change things up and go out for the best bacon and eggs or French toast you’ve ever had (accompanied by some artisan-roasted coffee or a fresh mimosa, of course!)? Check out our dining guide for a list of restaurants by county.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jackie permalink
    February 1, 2011 8:45 am

    These are some great ideas, but Longwood Gardens is actually in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (not Delaware)–it’s stunning and I highly recommend it!

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