My Thrifty Valentine
"Can you afford to BE MINE?" may not fit on heart-shaped candy,
but it's a question more and more would-be Valentines are asking, if only inside their
While affection might be free, dating certainly isn't. Here in the High Country, we've compiled some wallet-friendly ways to treat your Valentine, heart-shaped candy not included.
A Walk in the Woods
"They loosen you up," High Country Therapy's Robert Wolf said. No, not like that.
"They make you feel a little more open, perhaps a little more safe with a person."
With the Boone Greenway and Blue Ridge Parkway a short drive away, a picnic might be all you need to make the day perfect.
"You can be out there in your old clothes with a casual conversation," he said.
Who knows where a casual conversation might lead? Wolf and his wife took walks when they first started dating, and it's a tradition they've continued.
"We still go on long hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway," he said.
When packing that picnic, read regulations carefully before pulling out that perfect bottle of wine. Alcohol is not allowed on the Greenway and only in designated picnic areas and campgrounds on the Parkway.
Hate walking? Why not take a romantic drive along the Parkway? Be sure to check on closures before you trek out by calling (828) 298-0398.
Your date isn't the only one worthy of affection. What better way to bond than over man's best friend?
Try hitting the dog park, located along Don Hayes Road between Rutherwood Baptist Church and the Boone Stockyard, about 4 miles from Boone off Old Highway 421 South. What better way to show your sensitive side than romping across 3.5 acres with your best dog and best Valentine?
Dogs must be members of the park and rabies certified. Memberships cost $50 per year or $3 per visit.
Be sure to leave the picnic at home. For more information, visit http://www.wataugahumanesociety.org.
Don't have a dog? Watauga Humane Society does, and they'll let you and your Valentine take a romantic stroll on the Greenway, Fido in tow. For information on walking Humane Society dogs, call (828) 264-7865.
A Snowy Adventure
A sled and a thermos of hot chocolate may be all you need to capture the spirit of the season and your Valentine's heart, especially if winter continues on course. Area college students are known for making it even cheaper by skipping the sled and using a cafeteria tray to speed down the hills.
Be sure to wrap up!
Outdoor activities like sledding, canoeing, skiing, rock climbing and spelunking tell you a lot about the person you're dating and are a great way to connect, local therapist Robert Wolf said. It's hard to fake a passion for the outdoors.
"If they don't like it, you'll find out in about two or three dates," he said.
Dancing: Contra Dancing
If you want extra closeness, senior broadcasting major and Appalachian Popular Programming Society (APPS) member Patrick Leitner has an idea.
"Contra dancing! You get to get close to them because you're dancing," he said. "It's cool. I like it. If a girl took me to a contra dance, I'd be like 'Girl, OK.'"
Appalachian State University puts on several each year in conjunction with the Appalachian Heritage Council.
The next dance is at the Old Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove this Friday. The beginner's workshop is at 7:30pm and it's just $7 for adults.
You can also check out http://www.boonecountrydancers.com for a schedule of upcoming dances.
Movies for free and other university tricks
The university is a perfect tool for dating on the cheap. Not only are there always cultural events, but APPS has loads of wallet-friendly dating options, like free classic movie screenings at Greenbriar Movie Theatre on campus.
Suspiria plays Feb. 10 and 12, and the 1938 classic The Adventures of Robin Hood plays on Feb. 17 and 19. What's more romantic than Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland?
For more information on what's playing, visit films.appstate.edu and check out the cultural events calendar on the sidebar of http://www.appstate.edu .
For more events, check out the events calendar in your Mountain Times. Happy Valentine's Day!