While spring is for cleaning and summer is for fun in the sun, fall is all about fresh starts in both life and love. Whether you're with a new beau or have been married for decades, autumn is a great time to spice up your love life and re-light that romantic fire. The old dinner-and-a-movie combo never goes out of style, but why not trade out those classic dates for something a bit more creative? Trying a different activity with your partner could help you learn surprising things about each other and form a tighter bond. Sometimes people don't go on dates due to budget constraints, but these ideas will fill your heart without lightening your wallet too much.
Become a true dancing duo
They say it takes two to tango, but it also takes two to rumba, salsa, waltz, and do every other popular dance except the Macarena. Scott Hopkins has been offering a free dance class every Monday night at Battle Mountain High School for the past year. Hopkins got his start dancing in college, when he was "dragged" (his word) to a social ballroom event by a girl he was dating at the time. Hopkins was so impressed by the dancers he saw he decided to join the club himself, eventually competing in professional ballroom competitions in his home state of Mississippi.
Hopkins thinks dancing is a perfect activity for couples because it helps them connect on both a physical and emotional level.
"There's nothing better than getting to hold onto your special person," Hopkins said. "You build up great non-verbal communication with the leading and following that happens. (Through) taking care of your partner, you become much closer in the process."
Edwards resident Tim Nottingham and his wife have been taking Hopkin's class since it started. Learning the rhythms of the rumba gives the Nottinghams a chance to spend time together without any diversions.
"(When dancing) we're not distracted by external things," Nottingham said. "We can focus on talking to each other and listening to each other."
Hopkin's free class is held every Monday night from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Battle Mountain High School dance studio. September's style is rumba, and October will focus on the salsa. Contact Hopkins at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Colorado Mountain College also has a few dance classes that haven't started yet, such as ballroom, salsa and West Coast swing. CMC classes range from $34 to $135. To sign up go to coloradomtn.edu/register.
The chilly weather is a nice excuse to cozy up next to a warm stove and learn how to make a tasty treat for your special someone.
This fall Felicia Kalaluhi, owner of Cornerstone Chocolates and Confections in Minturn, will teach both a chocolates and candy-making class at CMC.
"I'll teach the students how to temper chocolate, make a variety of chocolate garnishes, learn about the science and lure of chocolate, and make their own lollipops," Kalaluhi said.
Studies have found that chocolate contains some of the same chemicals that occur in the brain during sexual arousal and feelings of romantic love. If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, it might be time to learn how to make your own chocolate kiss in order to get a real smooch in return. Register for Kalaluhi's and other cooking classes at CMC at coloradomtn.edu/register.
Although not proven by scientists, another aphrodisiac that's worked for many is alcohol. Wild Women Winery in Breckenridge holds "Music, Massages and Merlot" every Friday night starting at 6 p.m. Massages are $1 per minute and $10 dollars will get you seven tastings. Piano man and owner Pete Baldwin provides the free music.
"A lot of couples come because it's unusual," Baldwin said. "It's not your average dinner and shows a little more class (rather) than going out and downing IPAs. Wine has a romantic aura to it." Call 970-453-3991 for more information.
Wine may be romantic for some, but for others, a good beer is the real way into their heart. The Vail Cascade Resort hosts complimentary craft beer tastings every Wednesday through Nov. 14 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
There's also Vail Restaurant Month's "LoveFest Week" Oct. 8 - 14, which will have romantic activities for couples and special deals for two at local establishments. Visit www.vailrestaurantmonth.com.
Outdoors and more with your amore
For many locals, a perfect date involves working out before making out. As an outdoor enthusiast, Edwards resident Janette Adrian thinks the best dates combine "a little bit of physical activity with something romantic," she said.
Adrian said the cooler weather makes this time of year ideal for rock climbing, especially in places like Wolcott or Red Cliff where the changing aspen trees provide a picturesque setting.
Also on Adrian's list of fun fall dates is a bike and wine tour through Palisade. Palisade may be synonymous with peaches, but it also boasts a variety of wineries within biking distance, giving couples a chance to tandem together without having to bring a third wheel as the designated driver.
Although many have started talking snow, it's still sunny enough in September and October to bike locally. Adrian suggests riding west to places like Eagle Ranch or the Boneyard/east Eagle area where it's warmer.
If you're part of a couple that likes to be spontaneous (or hates taking the time to plan anything) there are some simple seasonal options that you can hit up on a whim.
The Underground Sound series at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek features a concert every Sunday night beginning this Sunday through Nov. 4. Take advantage of the bargain ticket prices ($20-$40 dollars for individual shows or $98 for the pass, which includes all seven shows and a drink at each show) and see some live music with your significant other.
Visit the Eagle Ranch Pumpkin Patch on Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to pick out a pumpkin and hold hands while walking through the haunted barn.
Perhaps the best way to revive the romance in your relationship this fall is to not think about it at all.
"Don't try to be romantic (on a date) because it never works out that way," Adrian said. "Go with the flow, get together and have a great time and the romance will come."
There's a reason they call it falling in love. Like jumping off a cliff, it can make you feel free, weightless, and excited about life again. But maybe a better way to fall is like a leaf; slow, steady and patiently. Either way, make an effort this autumn to fall in love for the first time, or all over again.