Date Night - Connect and Have Fun
Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I've been working on a list of ideas for date nights for myself and my husband for the year, and I thought I'd share them for anyone else who needs some ideas. For those who don't know, my husband is Navy and was away for about 8 years being a geo-bachelor (that's a long story for another day), and finally got a shore duty last year, which was thankfully here so we didn't have to move! He's now been home for just over a year straight, which is the longest stretch we've been together in our entire relationship (3 years dating and 13.5 years married). It has been soooo amazing having him home and not having to go out to sea or be stationed elsewhere. We took the time we needed to adjust to our new routine as a family and we've mostly found our groove. We realize that now being parents, our date nights need to be scheduled and aren't so fly by the seat of our pants like they used to be. It's important to make sure we make that time to connect with each other and have adult conversation. We've even chosen a night a week to be our night to stay up late together no matter what time our son goes to bed so that we can have some one-on-one time together.
And now for the list. Most of these are dates we have done in the past year or have on our list to do this year (and are in no particular order). A few were recommendations from friends. If you have other ideas, I'd love to hear about them! (A couple photos included are of my husband and me, but others are just of clients. I love getting a photo of mom and dad by themselves at family sessions!)
Bowling is one of those classic things I still love to do, even though I'm kind of a terrible bowler, ha! My husband has his own ball and is much better than I am. I like that we can do something fun together but still be able to have a conversation (unlike when going see a movie). It's also super budget friendly for when the budget might be a little tight. We love to go to the Rack 'N Roll Lanes on base. For those of you who are not military, there's Nassau Bowling Center in Yulee and Bowl America in Jacksonville (there are 3 locations).
*Note: I have not been to the bowling alleys in Yulee or Fernandina but wanted to mention them so you can check them out if you like.
Date Night - Bowling | Rack 'N Roll Lanes - Kingsbay, GaCopyright Kimberly Tank Art & Photography, LLC
Dinner & Walk on the Beach
Another go-to date night for us is dinner and a walk on the beach. We are big beach lovers and we even enjoyed this kind of date before having our son. Whether we go grab a bite to eat at a restaurant or bring a picnic dinner to the beach, it never gets old for us. The picnic option is another budget-friendly option if you don't want to spend a lot of money beyond the sitter. And again, this kind of date gives you lots of time to just be together and have a conversation without your kids interrupting. There may be a theme here, haha. Communication is such an important part of a healthy relationship and for us, it seems like one of the biggest challenges now that we have a child and our schedules don't allow for much time together just the two of us.
(Photo Credit: Life Unstill Photography)
Walk on the Beach | Fernandina Beach, FLCopyright Life Unstill Photography - www.lifeunstill.com
Dinner & Walk Downtown St Marys or Fernandina Beach
Another date night we've done and enjoyed is grabbing dinner at a favorite restaurant (or even bringing a picnic dinner to the waterfront park in St Marys) and then just walking around downtown. The waterfront park in St Marys is a great place to just hang out and enjoy each other's company. You could also visit some of the local shops and support small businesses while your there. There are several good restaurants where you can grab some dinner too. There's entertainment on the first Fridays throughout downtown and in the summer, there's a free concert in the park on the second Saturdays.
We also really love walking around downtown Fernandina Beach. There are so many great places to eat and shop or just hang out for a bit at the coffee shop. First Friday's they have an Art Walk and the art galleries are open later. I'd love to go do that sometime soon. Our most recent date was just before New Year's and we went to Timoti's for dinner and then to Amelia Island Coffee for a warm beverage. We spent most of our evening talking about 2017, our first full year together, and reflecting on what we loved doing together and as a family and what we could do less of. We made a bucket list for 2018, a list of things we wanted to make sure we made room for and what we wanted to do both together and as a family. On another date in the fall, we may or may not have ended up in the awesome toy store downtown, Villa Villekulla Toys, and ran into another couple we know who were also on a date and without kids, in the toy store.
Yes, in case you haven't figure it out by now, we are pretty low-key people (ok we might be a little boring sometimes but we're ok with that, haha) and don't need a lot of excitement for our dates. The important thing for us is to have the time together, just the two of us. We actually did mini golf dates before becoming parents, and they're fun for the whole family too, but that doesn't mean they can't still be fun for just the two of us too! There's a simple course here in town at Crooked River State Park and then you could go for a hike or bike ride if you're doing an earlier date and like outdoors stuff. They also do sunset boat cruises which might be another option if you go in the evening. Then there's Island Falls Adventure Golf in Fernandina Beach, which we have also done and enjoyed. Then you can grab some pizza at Moon River Pizza or 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza. If you want to head north and spend an afternoon or evening on Jekyll Island, we've enjoyed their course there, Jekyll Island Miniature Golf, and then a host of other activities you could also do while you're there. If you're in Jacksonville, Adventure Landing is a fun place for miniature golf and has other activities as well. Date NightCopyright Kimberly Tank Art & Photography, LLC
Horseback Ride on the Beach
Ok, this has been on our to-do list for probably over 10 years, so this year we are determined to finally do this! I found three options on Amelia Island: Kelly's Seahorse Ranch, Happy Trails Walking Horses, and Amelia Island Horseback Riding. There's also Golden Isles Carriage and Trail at Three Oaks Farm on Jekyll Island (they also do carriage rides, that might need to go on our to-do list too!). If you've ever done this, I'd love to know which place you went with and how your experience was!
*Update: We did this for my birthday in 2018 with Happy Trails Walking Horses and it was a blast! I highly recommend it!
Date NightCopyright Kimberly Tank Art & Photography, LLC
Class or Workshop
This wasn't originally on our list as we hadn't thought about it, but I think it needs to be added for sure! I recently discovered Paisley Grace Makery in Fernandina Beach through the Network of Women (a women's networking group I just joined), and after being there for a meeting, I really want to go back and do one of the workshops she offers. There are so many projects to choose from and there are couples projects too. You (or your partner) don't need to be crafty to do one of the projects, so I think I may be able to convince my husband to do one! Then I had a friend suggest taking a class through The Studios at Florida School of Holistic Health. I had never heard of them, so I headed to the website and it looks awesome! I might need to do some convincing on that one too, but I would totally love to take one (or more) of the classes they offer. We missed the Art of Making Rootbeer but if they offer it again in the future I might be able to convince him to do that one with me.
Update: My husband and I did a date night at Paisley Grace Makery and we both had a lot of fun and love our signs! Date NightCopyright Kimberly Tank Art & Photography, LLC
I've recently seen friends posting on social media about going to an escape room and it sounds like something my husband would LOVE to do. This would also make a good group date. You get put into a room with clues on how to "break out" and you have an hour to do so. There's one in Fernandina: Amelia Island Escape Rooms, and two in Jacksonville that I know others have gone to: Mind Bender Escape Rooms and The Great Escape Room. It sounds like it'd be a lot of fun!
Update: We've no done two escape rooms at Amelia Island Escape Rooms and plan to do the other two sometime this year. They make a great double/group date and were a blast!
Another suggested date night option was a painting night. I love to pain but my husband, not so much, so while this isn't on our list, it might be something fun you'd like to look into. There's a studio in Kingsland: Camden Art Parties; and there's a place in Jacksonville that was recommended to me: Painting with a Twist. Date NightCopyright Kimberly Tank Art & Photography, LLC
If you have any other suggestions for date night ideas, I'd love to hear them! And if you've tried any of the ones listed here, I'd love to know what you thought.
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P.S. When was the last time you had photos of just the two of you? Your wedding? Let's fix that! I make a point to grab some shots of mom and dad together without the kiddos during family sessions and the best time for beach sessions (spring!) is rapidly approaching! Contact me to book your session.
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Kimberly Tank is an award winning professional photographer in Rockledge, FL, servicing Brevard County on the Space Coast in Central Florida (including Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Viera and surrounding areas) and traveling several times a year to Amelia Island - Fernandina Beach FL. Using natural light and custom on location sessions, Kimberly Tank specializes in photographing families from babies to seniors and commercial clients, both on land and underwater; providing an exceptional customer experience and helping save you time and preserve this chapter in your life's story. Kimberly Tank is a proud member and ambassador of National Association of Professional Child Photographers and member of Professional Photographers of America.
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