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10 Unique Date Ideas

By Shonna McGrail Ryan

When you’ve lived in the same area for a while it becomes easy for everything to take on a “been there, done that” vibe.  Trying to be inventive with date ideas can really leave a person stumped, and that goes for all ages and relationship types.  If you feel like all of your date ideas have boiled down to the same restaurant, movie theatre or bar maybe it’s time for some fresh ideas.  Luckily, Greater New Bedford has plenty of fun things to do that are often overlooked.

Hopefully in this “10 Unique Date Ideas” article, you will find at least one thing you’ve never done before that will bring a little fun back into your relationship… even if it’s not a relationship of the romantic variety!  A lot of these ideas are bound to work just as well with a group of friends as they are with a significant other.

1. Go Kayaking
Osprey Kayak WestportYou are sure to have a memorable experience at Osprey Sea and Surf Adventures.  Located at 489 Old County Road in Westport, Osprey offers a variety of kayak rentals as well as Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP).  Osprey is situated at the head of the East Branch of the Westport River, which is a truly picturesque area.  Not only are kayaking and SUP excellent workouts, they allow you the chance to take in the beauty of the area at your own leisure.

Osprey caters to paddlers of all levels.  If you and your date are beginners looking for lessons they offer them.  On the other hand, if you are looking to amp up your kayaking or SUP skills by going into the waves you can also gain further instruction from their experts.  Osprey also offers SUP and kayak tours that range from scenic and casual to adventurous and physically demanding.

Whether your idea of fun is bird watching on the river or testing your limits against currents, Osprey Sea and Surf Adventures can help you get there and make for an unforgettable date.  For more information on rental costs, courses and tours go to: http://ospreyseakayak.com/.

2. Find Your Inner Child
No matter your age, acting like a kid can be a lot of fun.  If you’re looking for a way to loosen up on your next date, consider doing something you haven’t done in a long time.  If you’re really looking to bring out that 12 year old self, there’s always Lazer Gate (http://www.lazergate.com/) located at 288 Plymouth Avenue in Fall River.  Decked out with black lights and cool laser guns you can team up together to take opposite sides and navigate the mazes and catwalks as you exchange laser fire.  If you’re worried about being surrounded by actual children, go late at night, especially on weeknights (you’re an adult, you get to make your own bedtime!).  Lazer Gate is open until 10 PM weeknights and until midnight on weekends.  With events like college nights and free mom and dad nights you won’t be the only big kid there anyways.

And speaking of black lights, indoor mini golf puts a crazy spin on an otherwise typical date cliché.  Ocean’s 18 (www.oceans-18.com) in New Bedford creates an under the sea theme and actually serves wine and beer to those 21+.  Additionally, Ocean’s 18 has a golf simulator for those looking to practice their swing.

3. Take a Hike
While Southeastern Massachusetts may be rather built up with cities, highways and other developments, it is not without beautiful reservations and state parks.  No matter what the time of year is, you are subject to find some breathtaking views if you are willing to put on some walking shoes and take a short drive.

The Dartmouth National Resources Trust (DNRT) maintains 40 acres of walking trails that includes the much talked about Daffodil Field which is a popular sight in the Spring.  To learn more about the Daffodil field, read our article (http://www.newbedfordguide.com/daffodil-field-at-parsons-reserve/2011/04/20).  To learn more about the trails and the DNRT, go to http://dnrt.org/.

Another beautiful area in Dartmouth for walking paths is the Lloyd Center for the Environment (http://lloydcenter.org/).  Featuring 5 trails, this area has stunning views of Buzzards Bay, Demarest Lloyd State Park, Mishaum Point and the islands.

If you are more into paved paths, two great local state parks offer incredible ocean views and plenty of nice picnic spots. The first is Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven, and the second, Fort Tabor is located right across the New Bedford Harbor.  Both have interesting historical context and easy to walk on paths.

4. Challenge Your Taste Buds

If you find that dinner usually consists of the same old pub food or pizza, maybe it’s time to try something with a little ethnic kick to it.  There are numerous intriguing places to eat in the South Coast, and spicing up dinner a little can spice up your date as well.

If you’re interested in getting sushi for dinner check out my article on 5 Spectacular Sushi Spots (http://www.newbedfordguide.com/5-spectacular-sushi-spots/2012/04/24).  Testing out new sushi rolls and eating with chopsticks can be an engaging way to spend your date night out!

Of course, Portuguese cuisine is a staple of New Bedford culture.  My personal favorite place for Portuguese food is Antonio’s Restaurant which offers huge servings of authentic Portuguese foods.  For more information about Antonio’s, or to look at the menu, go to http://www.antoniosnewbedford.com/.

Thai food is also delicious and a personal favorite of mine.  If you’re looking for a restaurant off the beaten path, check out Sivalai Thai Cuisine in Fairhaven.  Located in a cute little place it has a charming atmosphere and amazing food that ranges from sweet Pad Thai to spicy Pad Kee-Mao.  You can also stick to the downtown area and share a Thai dinner at the equally charming Spicy Lime restaurant.

Finally, if you’ve been missing the rich flavors of Korean cuisine ever since Ginger Grill changed to Commons, drive over to Dartmouth and check out From the Seoul.  New Bedford Guide’s Elsa Yeung called it “the best, most authentic Asian food in the area” and I have to agree!  To read her whole review go here (http://www.newbedfordguide.com/restaurant-review-from-the-seoul/2012/04/28).

5. Find a Unique Event

There are often many interesting and one-of-a-kind happenings in the South Coast, but they often go unnoticed due to a lack of advertising or just not knowing where to look.  The New Bedford Guide’s Event Calendar is a great way to stay in the loop about fun upcoming events and to plan a date night that ventures away from the monotony of the “same old thing”.

Next time you are stumped for a date idea, check out the calendar.  You and your date could go to a Yoga or exercise class together, or hit up a farmers market and cook a fresh and local dinner at home.  You could go to a free informational documentary viewing, or take in the sights with a New Bedford harbor tour.  Whether you’re into the bar scene, running in road races or anything in between, there’s a lot to be found on the calendar.

Of course, it nearly goes without saying that AHA! night in downtown New Bedford is perfect for finding unique events for your date night.  There are always lots of art showings, musical performances and other activities and demonstrations that will make you glad you got out of the house for the night.  For more information on the next upcoming AHA! night, go to http://www.ahanewbedford.org/.  For more about why you should factor AHA! into your social calendar, check out this article (http://www.newbedfordguide.com/5-reasons-aha-is-great/2012/05/10)

6. Check Out Some Local Music

Whether you like to dance or just prefer sitting back and taking in some relaxing tunes, Greater New Bedford has a variety of music offerings.  If you’re looking to bring your date out to check out some tunes, 5 Live Music Spots in Greater New Bedford (http://www.newbedfordguide.com/5-live-music-spots-in-greater-new-bedford/2012/07/20) can help you find a promising location.  Of course, the New Bedford Guide Event Calendar also often posts about upcoming musical performances.

If you’re willing to spend a little more money to catch some music, the Zeiterion Theatre is always featuring varied performances.  Located in downtown NB, the Zeiterion Theatre is a beautiful place with great acoustics.  In the upcoming year the Z will house acts that range from big names like Art Garfunkel and Lyle Lovett to national cover bands and even theatre productions and classical music performances.  Check out their site to find tickets to an event that will dazzle your date!  (http://www.zeiterion.org/)

7. Indulge in some Microbrews or Local Wine

New Bedford may not be on the same level as Portland, ME or Burlington, VT when it comes to microbreweries and brew houses, but it isn’t without variety when it comes to delicious brews.  If you and your date are beer lovers, a fun night can be had testing out some unusual brews.  Two microbrewery locations that frequently change up their beer options are the Pour Farm Tavern and Rose Alley Ale House.

On the Pour Farm Tavern’s website they claim “We Always Choose Creative Brews” and this is very true.  PFT features dozens of drafts beers that are often difficult to find anywhere else.  Additionally, they have numerous bottled and canned selections, and a decent list of 22 oz bottles that are great to share.  Nearly every Thursday PFT hosts taste testing at 8 PM.

Rose Alley Ale House also prides itself on having an incredible beer selection, which features “40 constantly rotating taps with some of the finest beers from around the world”.  The basement portion of Rose Alley is only open at certain times, but focuses mostly on “local micro brews and Belgian beers as well as a few of the all time favorites.”  Conversation over an international brew and a tasty appetizer at Rose Alley Ale House is certainly a great way for beer lovers to spend some time together.

If you are more into wine tastings, Westport Rivers Vineyard Winery (www.westportrivers.com) is a local place with beautiful views and frequent tastings and weekend tours.  In addition to its wine offerings, the grounds of Westport Rivers are breathtaking, and it’s not a bad idea to buy a bottle after the tasting and find a spot to sit and enjoy.

Travessia is also part of the “coastal wine trail” and is an urban winery located right in downtown NB.  They are open Thursday- Saturday from noon to 6:00 PM and Sunday from noon to 5:00 PM.  You can test out their delicious wines and buy some bottles to add to your home collection or enjoy with dinner when you get home.  For more information, go to http://www.travessiawine.com/.

8. Share a Romantic Dinner

Some say that romance is dead, but it can be found if you know where to look!  Greater NB is host to some wonderful restaurants where you can wine and dine your date in a cozy intimate setting, or even with beautiful ocean views.  Check out New Bedford Guide’s “5 Greater New Bedford Romantic Restaurants” (http://www.newbedfordguide.com/new-bedford-romantic-restaurants/2012/08/14) to find the ideal location for your next big date.

9. Go Rock Climbing

Carabiner’s indoor rock climbing facility in New Bedford is a great way to have some fun while exercising.  It is sure to be a day neither of you will soon forget as you challenge yourself to scale the massive walls.  Even if you have never been rock climbing before, Carabiner’s is designed to be accessible and unintimidating, offering a personal belayer at the rate of $50 for 2 climbers.  Of course, you can also “learn the ropes” for yourself by taking the belay course which is $35 per person and includes an hour of training, a day pass and all rental equipment.  Learning to belay on your own is well worth it if you plan on making this thrilling date a regular activity.  For more information on rates and options go to http://www.carabiners.com/.

10. Check Out a Museum

You don’t have to drive to Boston or Providence to check out a museum.  While the museums may not be as large in scale, they can provide a fun and cultured afternoon.  New Bedford has three museum-type places that I would recommend checking out.

The first is the New Bedford Whaling Museum (http://www.whalingmuseum.org/) which has become a major part of the city and has a long history in and of itself.  The concept of a whaling museum in New Bedford was first set out in 1903, and since that time the collection of artifacts, exhibits and information has grown greatly.  If you have never been to the museum but live in the area, it really is a worthwhile endeavor as the whaling history of this region is rich and imperative to how the city developed.  The museum isn’t dry and boring either, it has plenty of intriguing artifacts to check out.

The New Bedford Art Museum (http://newbedfordartmuseum.org/) is relatively young as far as art goes, having gotten its start in 1996.  However, it changes its exhibits frequently to reflect both local and global collections.  One of my favorite exhibits I saw there featured old photos of New Bedford.  It was interesting to see how the city has changed in some ways but is very familiar in others.  The museum is not huge, but its thoughtful exhibits make it a good time if either you or your date happen to be an art lover.

Located in the historic New Bedford Institute for Savings building, the Ocean Explorium is much like an aquarium, featuring exhibits that focus on marine life and the ocean.  While the Ocean Explorium is a great pull for children, it has intriguing exhibitions and presentations that are sure be educational and interesting to any age group.  For example, there is a ray and shark touch tank where you can actually feel the aquatic creatures.  There are also presentations done for general audiences (not just kids!) that feature the very cool Science on the Sphere, which is a spherical projection system that creates an image of the planet in 3-D.  Of course, the Ocean Explorium can also make for a great family outing if you’re looking to plan to get out with the kids as well!

About SRyan

The South Coast has been my home since I came to UMD in 2005. I have worked and lived in NB, and now live in Westport. With a Master's in public relations I have worked as a consultant, and as a professor. I love trying new foods, writing, watching movies (and football!), traveling, listening to a wide array of music, and of course, I <3 the South Coast.

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One comment

  1. New Bedford Antiques Center

    How about some antiquing thru out the city, we are the largest antiques co-op destination in the Northeast with over 200,000 sq.ft in four locations !

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