Sporty spice

Forget dinner and a movie---strap on some sneakers and take your date rock-climbing. Or sea kayaking. Or tandem biking.

Love, in tandem with nature. - SCOTT BLACKBURN
Love, in tandem with nature.

Fall's here, school's in and l'amour is in the air. But romance needn't be an exclusively indoors affair. Atlantic Canada is known for its late summers and beautiful falls. With autumn as gorgeous as it is, why not invite a new love interest or a long-time partner on a date in the grand ol' out-of-doors?

There are plenty of active and open-air options that more than fit the bill for flirtation and fun. Read on and be convinced that the Venn diagram of dates and outdoorsy activities does indeed have a healthy amount of overlap.

I double-heart bikes

Don Juan, meet Lance Armstrong.

Nothing comes off cuter than a tandem bicycle. Seriously. Black pepper is to sneezing what a tandem bike is to sentimental "aww"s. Don't have a tandem bike kicking around? Not to worry. I Heart Bikes (1325 Lower Water Street, 406-7774) offers a spiffy $65 bike date package, which includes a half-day bike rental and a pre-packed picnic for two.

Love to bike but tandem's not really your thing? No sweat. The deal is also available for two single bicycles, although be warned ---this seriously risks lowering the cuteness factor.


Halifax and its environs are positively peppered with lakes. Why not take advantage of the swim-worthy weather and take your better half or new flame for an amourous aqua adventure?

A close-to-town destination is Chocolate Lake, which was incidentally voted by Coast readers as Halifax's Best Lake and Halifax's fourth Best Place to Have Outdoor Sex. For the more intrepid there are Williams and Colpitt Lakes, both of which are replete with secluded nooks and crannies for those who are particularly on fire.

Pack a picnic, a bottle of wine and a Pablo NEruda poetry anthology and you'll be well on your way to a successful date.

Love on the water

Dating outdoors needn't be a land-locked endeavour. While a tandem bike doesn't share the Harbour Hopper's amphibious convenience, why not trade in the wheels for a paddle or two, and head out in a double kayak to explore Halifax's beautiful urban waterfront?

For $55 a day, Mountain Equipment Co-op (1550 Granville Street, 421-2667) rents out double sea kayaks, which you can carry by hand and launch from the dock at the end of Salter Street.

Bond on the water. Circumnavigate Georges Island. If you've the time, make the 3.5-kilometre one-way paddle out to McNabs Island. You may even be inclined to extend date-day into date-morning by spending a steamy night in a tent on the romantic island escape.

"Hang"ing out together

Trust is the lynchpin of any successful relationship. What better way to test out or develop this crucial commodity than while suspended off a cliff, err, indoor climbing wall? It may not, strictly speaking, be outdoors, but it certainly counts as active.

Although a little out of the way, Ground Zero Climbing Gym (3 Wright Place, Dartmouth, 468-8788) claims to be Atlantic Canada's first and biggest indoor climbing facility. A day pass here will run you $12 each, plus $5 for shoe and harness rental.

The Rock Court in the Dalplex (6260 South Street, 494-3372) is a little closer to home and offers twice-a-week introductory climbing classes both to members and non-members all summer long, every Saturday afternoon and Tuesday evening, for only $10-$12 a person.

Even better deals await those with a Dalplex student pass. Why not grab a date and get shown the ropes together? Think of it as a labour of/in love.

So what are you waiting for? Finish reading then get outside for some tandem, lakeside, upside down, fall-time fun!

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