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Top Ten Dates That Won't Break the Bank

So we've all been there...the traditional restaurant date. Everything is going smoothly, you're enjoying yourself-but then it comes time for the check. You start to feel anxiety creeping in as you wonder how the situation will pan out. Should I offer to pay? Will my date pay? Will we split it? Maybe we shouldn't have ordered an appetizer and dessert.

Well, have no fear because as warm weather approaches, the opportunities for inexpensive and original dates are endless! This list provides you with 10 date ideas that will quench your thirst for romance and fun without draining your bank account.

  1. Think your date is up for a little competition? Release some stress and your inner child as you putt through 18 holes of miniature golf. DC Sports in Wappingers only charges $8 a person at their mini golf course. They also offer bumper boats, sand volleyball and a pub where you can get a bite to eat. Located at 1630 Rte. 9 in Wappingers Falls, and open 10am-10pm every day. Call 845-632-6621.

  2. If you're looking for a discount double-date, Stump! Pub Trivia may be a perfect fit. Stump! Trivia is a two-hour, team trivia game played in bars and restaurants all over the country. All you have to do is put together a team of two to six people and visit one of the sites in Dutchess. Test your skill at an assortment of trivia questions, ranging from anatomy to literature, movies to history. There is no fee to play the game, and many of the host bars and restaurants offer food and drink specials!

    Locally, Stump! Pub Trivia is offered at five locations in Dutchess County on weeknights: Max's on Main in Beacon on Tuesdays at 7pm, Sidelines in Red Hook on Tuesdays at 7pm, Traghaven Whiskey Pub & Co in Tivoli on Wednesdays at 8pm, Uno Chicago Grill in Poughkeepsie on Wednesdays at 8pm and Piano Piano Wine Bar in Fishkill at 7pm. Always call to confirm.

  3. How would you and your date like to enjoy watching two movies for the price of one? At three local drive-in movie theaters you can do just that, seven days a week, beginning April until October! At Hyde Park Drive-In in Hyde Park, and Overlook Drive-In in Poughkeepsie, it's only $10 per adult to see two movies. Both theaters even feature a "Bargain Nite" (Mon. for Overlook, and Tue. for Hyde Park) where admission is reduced to only $6 for two movies! The gate opens for ticket sales one hour before the first showtime. The movies change weekly, and the schedule is available on the theaters' websites, or by phone: Hyde Park at 845-229-4738, Overlook at 845-452-3445. Both theaters feature a full-service snack bar, but patrons are allowed to bring a cooler with food and drinks of their own.

    In Amenia, you'll find the Four Brothers Drive-In. A double feature (and the occasional triple feature!) is $10; gates open as soon as the first car arrives. They even have charging stations for electric vehicles. For the nostalgia lover, they offer car-hop service, making your movie experience and extraordinary one!

  4. If your date is interested in art, the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson features more than 1,700 contemporary works of art. Admission to the museum is absolutely free, and it's open Thursday through Monday, from 11-6 pm. Exhibitions in the Hessel Museum compliment the extensive exhibitions curated for Bard's Center for Curatorial Studies Galleries, which are also open to all free of charge.

    The foundation of the center's permanent collection is the Marieluise Hessel Collection of 1,780 paintings, sculptures, photographs, works on paper, artists' books, videos, and video installations from the mid-1960s to the present. Call 845-758-7598.

  5. As the May flowers bloom, the spring weather makes it a nice time to take your date on a walk through one of Dutchess County's formal gardens. Innisfree Garden in Millbrook consists of a 40-acre lake surrounded by cliffs, low hills, waterfalls and streams. From 1930 to 1960 Innisfree was the private garden of Walter and Marion Beck. In 1960, the Innisfree Foundation opened the garden for all to enjoy.

    The garden is a unique contribution to garden art in America, as its design is influenced by a Chinese cup-garden style dating back 1,000 years. Visitors to Innisfree take in picturesque views as they stroll through the garden, providing a relaxing and scenic backdrop for a romantic date. Innis free Garden is located at 362 Tyrrel Rd., and opens for the season on May 7. From then until October the garden is open Wednesday through Friday from 10am-4pm for $6 a person, and Saturday through Sunday from 11am-5pm for $8. Call 845-677-8000.

  6. If you're looking for some nightlife with your date, check out the buzz on Main Street in the City of Beacon. Located at 246 Main St., Max's On Main is a casual city bar hosting live bands on Friday and Saturday nights, with no cover charge. And their food is great if you crave a late night snack, too! For something totally different on a Saturday night in Beacon, check out Beacon's Second Saturday celebrations, hosted by BeaconArts. A city wide celebration held the second Saturday of each month, make your way up and down Main Street, enjoying gallery openings, artist receptions, food tastings, music and shopping. Most sites are open until 9pm.

  7. If you and your date prefer outdoor recreation, Dutchess County offers an abundance of hiking trails. One such destination is the Pawling Nature Reserve on Quaker Lake Rd. in Pawling. Protected by The Nature Conservancy, this 1,060 acre area appeals to hikers of all levels. You can explore more than ten miles of marked trails that range from moderate one-hour strolls to strenuous day-long treks. The reserve is also home to many animal species, including 77 different species of birds. There's no cost for entry, just make sure to bring water for you and your date on your hike!

  8. Another inexpensive date idea is a picnic. You and your date can each bring some food and a beverage of choice to a park and enjoy a quiet afternoon together. A perfect park for picnics in Dutchess County is Wilcox Memorial Park on Rte. 199 in Stanfordville. It's a public park, so admission is free. Until May 21, the recreational area is open from 9am-4pm. During the summer it's open Monday to Friday from 9am-7pm and from 9am-8pm on the weekends. Wilcox Memorial Park has two small lakes for swimming in the center, covered picnic pavilions and 5+ miles of hiking trails where you and your date can work off your delicious lunch!

  9. Interested in history? Dutchess has an assortment of historic sites and great estates in the area, ranging from a Scottish-style castle (Bannermans' Island) to stately mansions and quaint homesteads. Two such exciting places to explore are Locust Grove and Wilderstein. Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie is a historic estate, museum and nature preserve built for the artist and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. Covering almost 200 acres, Locust Grove gardens and grounds are open year round, daily from 8am-dusk. There is no charge for access to the grounds and its 5 miles of walking trails. You can also visit the mansion, open by guided tour only, featuring a 15,000 piece collection of furniture, paintings and decorative arts. Tours are daily, May – October and on weekends in April, November and December. $11 per person for adults.

    Wilderstein was the home of Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, cousin and confidante of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary as a historic site, Wilderstein is featuring a new exhibition celebrating the Conservation, Preservation and Restoration accomplished during these years - CPR! The remarkable restoration of the exterior of the 1888 mansion; recent conservation work in the dining room, entry hall and library are showcased. A Queen Ann style mansion, the house is opening for tours this season on May 1st. From then until October, tours are available Thursday through Sunday, from noon until 4pm (last tour begins at 3:30pm). Tickets are $11 a person and visitors can expect to see the books, letters, photographs, furniture, paintings, art objects and china acquired by three generations of the Suckley family. Located on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River, after your tour you can take advantage of the remainder of the 40 acre estate and walk several walking paths enjoying views of the river, specimen trees and ornamental shrubs. There is no charge to walk the grounds and trails, which are open daily from 9-4pm.

  10. Link arms with your date and stroll across the Walkway Over the Hudson. Enjoy a relaxing walk across this spectacular 1.25 mile long pedestrian bridge stretching from Poughkeepsie to Highland. At one time the Walkway carried freight trains across the Hudson so they could reach destinations all over the country. Open from 7am-dusk, the park is free and open to the public. Walk, jog, bike, skate or bring your favorite furry friend; dogs are allowed on the Walkway.


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