My husband and I have never been “date night” people. Since the pandemic began in earnest in March of 2020, we’ve gone from living together to engaged to married and, thanks to working from home, enjoying a deliriously long, hilarious, and happy honeymoon. It’s been bliss. The idea of something like a “date night” just doesn’t compute for us, and not just because we’re usually in our pajamas by 5 p.m. Living in the Adirondacks as we do means opportunities for unique adventures and escapades at all times of day and it’s undeniably romantic and joyous. Instead of "date night" we have what could be called date days, date adventures, date escapades. It's all about the fun of spending time together!
Instead of settling for the same old dinner and movie, why not try fresh donuts and fresh, snowy skiing? What about cupcakes and ice skating or cocoa, stargazing, and Wild Lights? The unique array of activities, shops, and tasty stops in Tupper Lake mean that this Valentine's Day,* and every day, the world is your date oyster! Here are three date options to try, personalize, and enjoy!
Wake up, sleepyheads! Sure, it might be warm and cozy indoors, but Tupper sees plenty of beautiful winter days, when the air is crisp and the sun shines on sparkling snow. Beautiful days are the perfect reason to get outside and have an adventure with your favorite person, so put on plenty of layers, pack up your cross-country skis, and head out the door.
Your first stop is Washboard Donut Shop, a simple donut shop that is locally legendary and full of flavor. Hot donuts emerge from the fryer crisp on the outside and magically fluffy on the inside. Eat them plain or with a variety of toppings, including cinnamon sugar, strawberry frosted, and maple bacon. That's right, you're on a day date and there are donuts covered in bacon. You're welcome.
Just a few minutes away, enough time to enjoy a donut, the James C. Frenette Sr. Recreational Trails offer groomed cross-country skiing trails that will have you and your date gliding over a magical landscape. The trails are located at the Tupper Lake Golf Club, offering a mixture of open swaths of snow-covered greens surrounded by thick woodland, and serene glades. The looping trail system allows for adventures long or short, and numerous intersections mean you can craft your own special outing. And even if your date continues after the sun goes down, some of the trails are lit for night skiing!
Okay, so maybe you're simply not a morning person. It's okay; I'm not either. Indulge by letting yourself sleep in, then wake up your day, and your taste buds, with a hearty dose of sweets! The locally-owned and operated shop Spruce & Hemlock, known for a charming array of must-have gifts, now has a bakery, too! Pick up a late breakfast or early lunch — the mac and cheese is heavenly — or make it a really special day and skip ahead to dessert. You'll find an array of goodies, including cupcakes, parfaits, coffee cake, apple pie cinnamon rolls (yes!), and more. The menu changes regularly, too, so there is always a fresh new treat to sample.
After you've made the excruciating decision over what to indulge in at Spruce & Hemlock, it's time for an old-fashioned, classic date activity: ice skating! The village of Tupper Lake has a great outdoor skating rink located at the Municipal Park. This free rink is easy to get to and spacious, so whether you're unsteady — don't forget to hold hands! It's cute and will help your balance — or just need a lot of room for all those jumps and spins, you'll have a blast on the ice. Skating with someone special is a great way to make memories, have a few laughs, and enjoy a winter tradition.
After all that fun, and all those lovely sweet treats, and time well spent with someone wonderful, you might find yourself in the mood to top off the day with a visit to Cabin Fever Floral & Gifts. Here, you'll find vibrant floral arrangements and an array of chocolates, handcrafted Adirondack gifts, and much more. Pick up a little something for your sweetheart or for you to enjoy together and remember your fun day!
A starry romance
I admit it: winters in the Adirondacks can be really cold. But if you prepare well, you'll be comfortable indoors and out and you'll be able to enjoy exceptional outdoor activities! (I know I scoffed at dinner and a movie, but the truth is I adore movies and Tupper is home to a charming theater, the Adirondack State Theater, so definitely check it out.) For an evening date that is out of this world (pun absolutely intended), it's all about light! I'm talking about starlight, moonlight, and Wild Lights!
Tupper Lake is a well-known and highly regarded location for dark skies: a place where there is little to no light pollution, allowing for outstanding views of the night sky. The less light pollution, the better you can see the vast wilderness over your head. As a result, stargazing is a popular activity here and a great way to spend an evening with your favorite fellow adventurer. The causeway is a great place to park and observe the sky, as is Little Wolf Beach. You don't have to know all of the constellations to enjoy the night sky: just look up and enjoy the sight of countless spots of colorful light, each one a distant star, planet, nebula, or even another galaxy.
There's a different kind of light that will make you ooh and ahh and that's the incredible seasonal light display at The Wild Center! Wild Lights is a remarkable, festive, spectacular outdoor display of lights on Wild Center grounds, including on the tree canopy heights of the Wild Walk. This wintertime-only event is perfect for all ages, but the warm glow of the lights and the wooded scenery makes for an extra pretty date. And the chill in the air just means that you have to stay close!
Say goodbye to ordinary dates and hello to gleeful adventures. You don't need a special day to do so, just someone you want to spend joyful times with, a good appetite, and a desire to live life to the fullest. Oh, and a willingness to share the donuts. That's how you know it's real love.
*Gift tip: Saint Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers. If you are looking for a fun gift, why not gift your favorite person a jar of honey? Find local Adirondack honey at Shaheen's IGA!