The leaves are starting to fall and the evenings are getting cooler, but it’s not quite time to make every night a Netflix night. Not that we’re judging — you do you. Summer barbecues and beach days have been fun, but autumn is time to add a little spice to your date nights — pumpkin spice included. ‘Tis the season of the perfect date night — and lots of them!
1. Hunt + Gather: We are, of course, talking about blueberry picking, peach picking, apple picking and pumpkin picking. That’s four separate potential dates. Because their peak seasons overlap, when you run out of one it’s time to go pick the next. We’re coming to the end of peak season for blueberry picking, but apples are right around the corner. The best place to find out when to go-a-picking? Ask your local farm or check your local newspapers and websites. (Photo via @BrittainyBell)
2. Bonfire Nights: Let’s face it: Summer bonfires are great, but you have to stand at least 10 feet away because it’s already so hot outside. Fall is the real bonfire season. Set a fire for you and yours and roast marshmallows, or just curl up under the stars. Feel like the night is too perfect not to share it? Make it a party! Invite friends over and set out a fancy s’mores spread. Who needs graham crackers and Hershey’s when you can have Lorna Doone’s and Nutella? (Photo via Daniel Zimmermann/Flickr Creative Commons)
3. Make Whoopie: We’re talking about pies — but you knew that, right? Whoopie pies, pumpkin pies, apple pies, blueberry pies; if you can dream it, you can bake it. Remember those apples you picked way too many of and have no idea how you could possibly eat all of them before 2016? Enter flour, sugar and butter. Just add love. Find some awesome recipes and have a bake-date. (via Stephanie/Flickr Creative Commons)
4. Picnicking: Now that the temperatures are starting to wane, it’s cool enough that your food won’t spoil in the basket but still warm enough that you can enjoy laying on a blanket in the sunshine. You can easily DIY the essentials — a picnic basket and blanket. When it comes to the food, you can pack some cheese and wine, some simple sandwiches and a couple apples. If you’re concerned about your picnic-food-packing abilities, you can always outsource the food part. Should Mother Nature rain on your parade, just take it inside. It still counts as a picnic if the food comes in a basket and you eat on a blanket. (Photo via Jean L./Flickr Creative Commons)
5. Leaf-Peeping: If you’re lucky enough to live near any of North America’s regions infamous for their foliage, you’re lucky enough. If you’re not, make a day or weekend trip out of it. Head to the Catskills or Aspen, Colorado. Head to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee or North Carolina. Grab a couple PSLs, or maybe some warm apple cider and cider donuts, hop in your car and head out on a pretty foliage hike or drive. (Photo via Anthony Quintano/Flickr Creative Commons)
6. Local Love: When we travel, we always do the corny tours of the cities we’re in to learn more about their history and quirks. So why don’t we do this in our back yard? Spend a day together adventuring through your town or city and learning all about its history. If you’re in a big city like Boston or San Francisco, you can take a Duck Tour ride to learn new things. In New York, hop on a twilight cruise and get to know the Big Apple from a new vantage point. If you live in a small town, search for tours or museums in your town. There may be a brewery or winery nearby that you’ve never heard of or been to — see if they offer tours. And if you can’t find one, create one! Find some restaurants or cafes or maybe a park you’ve never been to and have an adventure. (Photo via Diesel Demon/Flickr Creative Commons)
7. Pumpkin Carving: While we generally do not advocate playing with sharp objects, a pumpkin carving party is the appropriate time. This is another one of those two-for-one deals. One pumpkin (or two!), two dates. You’ve already picked a pumpkin and provided that you haven’t yet chopped it up to make pie, get crafty! You can carve a classic Jack O’Lantern or use some stencils to create some holiday art for your home. So much win here! (Photo via @emmyrossum)
8. Haunted Tours: This is a serious step up from the usual “let’s watch a scary movie,” which actually translates to “what’s the best way for me to get wrapped up in your arms?” If you’re not sure where to go, check local amusement parks. They often transform into a spooky world come October. If that’s not your style, check your local papers for haunted house tours or historic ghost tours near you and spend an evening clutched in your loved one’s embrace. (Photo via Sam Howzit/Flickr Creative Commons)
9. Take a Hike: If you’re in a foliage-friendly region, this also doubles as a beautiful foliage hike. Fall is a great time to go for a hike and not be concerned that you’ll be dripping sweat by the time you reach the top of the mountain or the end of the trail. Keep an eye on the time, though; the sun is setting earlier now and you don’t want to get caught going down the mountain after sunset without a flashlight. (Photo via Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
10. Go to a Festival: Fall festival season is upon us — soak it in. From pumpkin festivals to agricultural and renaissance faires, there are loads of festivals to choose from. Head to Carver, Massachusetts for King Richard’s Faire where you can listen to minstrels sing, watch a guy eat fire and eat a giant turkey leg. Head to Maine in October for Harvest on the Harbor and enjoy all your favorite seafood amid a bright foliage backdrop. In Columbus, Ohio, have fun at an Oktoberfest celebration. If you’re in New Mexico, Santa Fe’s Wine and Chile Fiesta will bring some spice to your life. North America has a lot to offer this fall — find one near you and make a day of it. (Photo via Robert Bijal/Flickr Creative Commons)
11. Lend a Helping Hand: There are a lot of reasons to volunteer year round, but as we get closer to the holidays, there are a lot of ways that you can help. Volunteering doesn’t cost anything more than your time, and it always benefits both parties. Not sure where to start? Check out Volunteer Match — they’ll help you find opportunities in your area and match you with activities that you enjoy. Did you know that all those toy drives need help wrapping the gifts and donations before they bring them to their intended families? Grab some tape and help out! There are a lot of organizations looking for help, and you can combine something that you and your partner enjoy with helping others. No matter the weather, that’s sure to warm your heart. (Photo via California National Guard/Flickr Creative Commons)
12. Learn Something New: Take a class and learn something new together! Learn about light and angles in a photography class or why butter is so important in a French cooking class. Try an art class like oil painting or pottery. Join a creative writing group and work on those napkin love notes you leave each other. If hands-on isn’t quite your style, find a wine tasting and learn all about why people say their wine has “legs” and which wine you should be pairing with your favorite fall dish. Tastings for wine, beer and spirits like whiskey often involve a lesson on how they’re made as well. Drink a delicious bourbon and walk away with newfound knowledge on what the heck peat is. (Photo via J Wlash/Flickr Creative Commons)
13. Tailgate: You’re never too old to tailgate, and you don’t need to shell out big bucks to go to an NFL game to do it. If you’ve never been tailgating before, now is a good time to start. There is an inexplicable kinship born between you and the others in your row of cars, grilling on a portable grills and enjoying a cold beverage or two. Get the schedule for this football season from your alma mater or a local university and set a date. Play games with the people five cars down or bring a bunch of friends and family of your own. Whether or not you paint your face is entirely up to you. (Photo via Texas A&M/Flickr Creative Commons)
14. Stargaze: The crisp fall air is the perfect accompaniment to a night of stargazing. Grab a warm blanket and curl up under the stars — there’s a lot to see in the great beyond. October, November and December are great times to catch a beautiful meteor shower. In October, catch the Draconids and the Orionids. In November, see the South and North Taurids and the infamous Leonids, and in December gaze at the Geminids. Stay up late into the night or wake up super early — the time depends on the meteor shower — brew yourself some pumpkin spice coffee and curl up for a spectacular show. You don’t need a fancy telescope; just find the darkest place you can, then give your eyes about 5-10 minutes to adjust to the light. Keep moving your eyes and you’ll be able to pick out constellations, shooting stars and satellites. (Photo via Dave Joe/Flickr Creative Commons)
What are some of your favorite fall dates?