Cupid didn’t have a car.
OK, he had that specially-calibrated archery set, but you get the point.
You don’t need a car to wow your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. In fact, she or he might be even more wow-ed if you finagle a romantic evening that’s nearly carbon-neutral and doesn’t involve a half-hour hunt for a parking spot on this busy lovers’ holiday.
Depending on your current transportation habits, a car-free date may be a cinch for you. In the instance that it is not, here are a few ideas I’ve pulled together for you:
Take a walk
Sound obvious? It is, but we still don’t do enough of it to make our legs worth their weight. I’m currently in Italy, where the evening passeggiata is a sacred daily ritual, and I’ve come to realize how relatively infrequently we Americans use our feet for something other than pushing a gas pedal. Here, Italians use walks to work up an appetite for dinner, to digest their meal, or simply as an excuse to be seen out on the town. Arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand, down a sidewalk or down a boardwalk, under the sun or under the stars—do some strolling this V-Day.
Go on a carriage ride
If you live in a city and you’ve got some cash to spare, you can create a romantic, old-timey ambience by taking your beloved on a ride in a horse-pulled carriage. Since the carriages usually go around downtown areas, you should be able to get there by bus or subway. Bring along a carafe of hot tea and some shortbread, and you’ll have rounded out the Dickensian theme enough to impress any date.
Bike to your destination
Going out on a bicycle may seem like a pain, but in my experience, the most difficult part is finding an outfit appropriate for both pedaling and dining. For women, a skirt and heels can be difficult but certainly not impossible, depending on what type of bike you have. Men need to be sure to roll up their right pant-leg to avoid getting chain grease on their fancy pants. Aside from that, be sure you have helmets, locks, and lights, and you should be set. Just in case, here’s a bit more info on night cycling from the League of American Bicyclists.
Catch a car-free flick
It might be difficult to find one in the theaters, but movies at home are cozier anyway. Here are some suggestions: Contested Streets—New York City flirts with car independence; Breaking Away—Teenage Hoosier has love affair with cycling; Into the Wild—Minimalist 20-something ditches more than just his car for his passions.
Best of luck, one and all, in your love pursuits this Valentine’s Day. If you try one of the ideas above, come on back here and leave a comment to let us know how it went.