Date ideas in Franklin County: Indoors, outdoors, seated or dancing — here’s where to have some fun with the one you love
|Published: 02-09-2024 12:55 PM
As the season of love approaches, a plethora of exciting dates awaits in Franklin County, promising to warm hearts and support the community. If you're tired of the same old dinner-and-movie routine, brace yourself for a journey through diverse and delightful date ideas across the county. Whether you're an adventurous explorer, a cinephile seeking vintage charm, or someone looking to embrace unconventional winter escapades, this guide has you covered. Let's delve into a trail of unique experiences that will have you falling in love with both your special someone and the enchanting Franklin County landscapes.
For my South County suggestion, lace up your hiking boots.
Start by visiting the new Korean deli, Banchan, at 285 Amherst Rd. in Sunderland, where you can pick up picnic supplies. Consider grabbing different types of kimbap (similar to sushi for those new to Korean cuisine) and various drinks, some of which come in fun juice boxes.
Since this deli doesn't have seating, peruse their refrigerators filled with tasty treats and pack your backpack for the journey ahead.
Next, drive down Route 116 to Mount Sugarloaf and ascend the mountain together. Opt for the South Trail for the fastest route to the top, which is usually less frozen than the road. Enjoy a scenic picnic at the summit, overlooking the rushing waters of the Deerfield River, or try to identify distant mountain peaks.
For a longer, less steep, and less crowded hike, explore the North Sugarloaf hike. Although lacking an iconic view or a man-made structure to climb, the top features a charming rock structure resembling a cave, perfect for a cozy picnic.
As per my date's review, be prepared for cold temperatures, especially at the summit. This location is ideal if, like me, your situationship is in Amherst, as it's conveniently halfway between your two homes.
Pothole Pictures at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls is still running, so make sure to attend with a date while you still can.
Take your date to the second floor of Memorial Hall for $6 movie tickets and enjoy the beautiful old theater. Cushions are available in the corner to make the 100-year-old folding chairs a bit more comfortable.
Before the film, treat yourself to $1 popcorn. Starting at 7 p.m. before every show, a live band plays music, and the film begins half an hour later. My viewing of “The Lady Eve” transported me to a different era.
After the movie, stroll across the bridge to Floodwater Brewery at 40 State St. Enjoy a pint and let your date teach you cribbage using one of the many Floodwater specialty boards hanging on the wall. If you're lucky, snag a spot in the back room with brewing tanks, and hope your date won't skunk you too much this time.
Forcing your date to jump into the ice-cold Connecticut River is only optional for this date.
The date started with kayaking. I understand that it is not exactly the right time to go kayaking, but with climate change resulting in up to 60-degree days this winter, and having the liberty to be unconventional in 2024, I think this is the perfect activity for you and a significant other.
So depending on the weather and the gear you can get your hands on, here is my suggestion: Either put your kayaks in at the Barton Cove Boat Ramp, located directly off Route 2, and paddle around enjoying the apricity, or go cross-country skiing in the Montague Plains.
After these activities, consider challenging your date to jump into the river, testing both your cold tolerances. While my date wasn't a fan of this part, I enjoyed making it happen.
Afterward, I recommend heading to Millers Pub for a cheap beer and a round of pinball. The machine might surprise you, as it recently changed from a Ripley’s Believe It or Not!-themed machine to a Monopoly-themed machine.
For pinball dates, I suggest you and your date each take charge of a singular flipper and play the game together. This not only gets both of you engaged but allows you to assess your potential soulmate’s teamwork skills.
This dinner and dancing date will be worth it.
Take your date to the People’s Pint at 24 Federal St. and order the BBQ platter for two. This classic dinner spot is one of my go-to choices for dates. It's comfortable, and while it gets crowded on weekends, it’s always worth the wait.
Then, after indulging in pulled pork and chicken wings, head to 10 Forward in the basement of 10 Fisk Ave. for some dancing. I must disclose that in addition to working at the Recorder, I also work at 10 Forward, but I've taken too many dates here not to include it in this guide.
On Saturdays, local DJs often provide music for dancing, and the first Friday of every month hosts the most popular night of 2-step social dancing. No matter when you visit, you're guaranteed to have a good time. And if you do, come find me and say hi.
While I don’t spend much time in the North Quabbin region, I recommend Deja Brew, located at 57 Lockes Village Rd. in Wendell.
Since they are not consistently open every weekend, I suggest calling ahead. The bar offers a lively atmosphere, providing an enjoyable experience to grab drinks and listen to various local bands, frequently featuring reggae, throughout the night.