Last updated: May 22. 2014 11:05AM - 1032 Views
Tilly Dillehay Editor

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My husband and I enjoyed something rather rare and wonderful last weekend—a local date.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not that we’re regularly galavanting out into Hendersonville, Gallatin, Nashville, Cookeville, or Bowling Green for evenings out. In fact, we usually plan to have one real date night out per month. The other weekends, we cook a nice meal and stay in. It’s built into the budget, see.

But until sometime last year, we did spend our monthly date night somewhere out of town—usually at the Carrabba’s in Hendersonville (don’t ask me why; we love that place). Then last year, we had an inspiration and decided to go to a local restaurant instead, then to a movie at our own hometown theater. It was fantastic! Not only was the evening great, we were home in five minutes afterwards. We loved it so much that we’ve made a habit of it.

So last Saturday, we headed down to The Country Junction, which is off New Harmony Road, in the stretch between Lafayette and Hartsville. I’d heard about the place, but I wasn’t sure exactly how well it would suit my husband’s and my style of entertainment. Because the thing is, we don’t often dance together. There just isn’t a lot of opportunity.

In the end, I told my husband we had a ‘surprise date night’ and drove him over there, then sprung the idea on him as we were parking. “They do line dancing!” I told him brightly, as we walked in the front door. He seemed genuinely game, which surprised me a little. Maybe I just sold it to him really well.

So we sat down to a nice burger and steak meal, and by the time we’d finished, the dancing space in the next room was full! I couldn’t believe how many people regularly fill that place out—we were told it is because of the house band.

As for what happened next, I don’t quite understand what exactly happened to Justin and I that night. It could only be described as a miracle. We danced for two hours without stopping. We didn’t know what we were doing—none of the line dances or couple dances were remotely familiar—but we just sort of watched folks and picked it up. The atmosphere was very conducive to learning, with a low embarrassment factor and also very low lighting. And yes—the band was fantastic.

Well, just imagine our glee as we drove home. A one-stop-shop date spot, with dancing! My husband declared that we would do it again! And what’s more, I believed him.

So here, frugal couples, is a short list of 100% local date ideas, courtesy of Justin and Tilly’s experimental nights out—in no particular order.

  1. Dinner and a movie. Dinner at any of our fine sit-down restaurants, followed by a 7 pm showing over at the local cinema. Don’t like what they’re showing? Wait a week or two and it’ll be something else.
  2. Dinner and dancing. We have no fewer than TWO family-style dance spots around here: The Country Junction and Daisy Dukes, not to mention certain nights at the hotels in RBS. Try this at least once.
  3. Drive in. The drive in theater is really a total blast. They have good food for sale there, too—or you can always be cheap and pack supper or snacks. It’s a great spot to hold hands in a car with a cute boy.
  4. Picnic in Key Park or RBS City Park. Not only is there a free movie lineup in Key park this summer, we’re also getting several good concerts—including the Nashville Symphony, courtesy of the Arts Council. Couldn’t really get cheaper than this.
  5. RBS hotels for dinner and a show. There are regular plays or haunted nights at The Donoho and Thomas House, and monthly open mic nights are held at The Armour. All of these places will serve you a meal, although you may need to alert them in advance that you’re coming.
  6. Local sports. If you, like me, have neither family nor friends who are playing sports at the high school level, that shouldn’t stop you from checking out a game sometime. Go team!
  7. Coming soon: go for a hike. We’re so close to getting our very own nature trail and beauty spot, when Winding Stairs becomes a reality! That could be this very year, folks.
  8. Winery. We have a winery here! Red Barn Winery offers tastings, and you can chat with the owner and pick up a bottle while you’re there. This is, in fact, the only place in the county where wine can be purchased. Hurry, though; they close at 5 p.m.
  9. The fair. The fair will be back again this summer! Don’t miss the opportunity for a fun day out with people you love.
  10. Sightseeing. Never underestimate the fun of just driving around our county. Start with some yard sale action on a Saturday morning and then hit up the Driving Quilt Trail, which currently has 35 quilts and covers 98 miles (see maconcountytn.com/quilt_trail.htm). Or just head out and stay on the back roads.

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