A few nights ago I overheard two ramen-eating bros at Pai Men discussing the perks of the upcoming colder months. Bro #1 saw the benefits of chilly weather strictly in terms of their current dining situation, motioning with his head towards his dinner: “Soup season, dude.” The other bro shrugged, acknowledged that it was “sweet” to eat ramen when it’s cold out, but had different winter advantages in mind. “Yeah guy,” Bro #2 explained, “but it’s also Boyfriend Season.” Sensing Bro #1′s confusion, he elaborated further: “All the cute girls are lookin’ to lock down a winter boyfriend before the snow comes. And then you can just break up with her when it gets nice out again. Boyfriend season, dude.” A look best described as admiration swept across Bro #1′s face, and it all clicked. Boyfriend Season. “Right on,” Bro #1 said, before ordering another Naragansett and small hot sake. “Sake bombs are pretty chill, too though.”
I’m neither corroborating nor negating the legitimacy of Boyfriend Season, but I’ll roll with the concept for the sake of this list. If you happen to find yourself in the much-sought-after role of the Winter Boyfriend, then you probably aren’t planning many dates as that relationship denotes a lack of any real effort; you’ll pretty much just hole up and watch Netflix with a guaranteed hook up during the snowy months. However, if you aren’t a complete stooge and want to maybe put some energy into a relationship, here are some fun winter date ideas in Maine.
1. Shed the Gnar, Brah
Skiing is a great winter date activity but can be impossibly expensive for the average couple. If your financial situation isn’t exactly country club/ski house ready, relax. Shawnee Peak offers some pretty sweet ski deals for the thrifty gnar shredder. Monday night in particular offers a fantastic value, as they sell $13 lift tickets. And because everything’s sexier at night, you should probably sneak in a few hot n’ heavy make out sessions under those evening trail lights. Or if you want to make a day of it, head up on a Tuesday as it’s Shawnee’s TwoFer Tuesday special. Full day passes (9:30 am – 8 pm) just $59 per couple.
Shawnee Peak Mountain
119 Mountain Road
Bridgton, ME 04009
2. Get On A Tube!
I realize not everyone knows how to ski. Even if you’re comfortable with your date, making an ass out of yourself as a novice on skis may not scream “Fun Time” to everyone. If this is your deal, but you still crave a fresh-air activity for your wintertime couples outing, look no further than SeaCoast Snow Park. You can get a taste of the good old outdoors and relive your childhood glory days as your fly down their 12 lanes of tubing gold. Don’t want to drive to Windham? Fine, fine. You can grab your girl or guy, hit up Reny’s to get yourself a cheap inner tube, and head to the nearest hill for one heck of a nostalgic (and free) date. If you’re looking for a third wheel and some hot chocolate after all the intense tubage action, you can find me plowing over third graders in my tube as I whiz down the “big” hill at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth.
SeaCoast Snow Park
932 Roosevelt Trail
Windham, ME 04062
3. Ducks Fly Together
If you and your significant other are ’80s/’90s babies, chances are at least one of the classic Mighty Ducks films is a shared interest among the two of you. If neither of you cared for the films, you guys deserve each other, you classless twits. Anyway, as all D1-D4 fans know, reluctant pee wee hockey coach Gordon Bombay winds up falling for the ragtag group of child misfits against all odds and totally dogs his star player’s mom in the process. And just how does he woo the independent single mother of ever-lovable Charlie Conway? Easy. His dope ice skating skills. Ever seen Happy Gilmore? Same thing. Hot headed hockey player-turned-golfer winds up with Clair from Modern Family solely because he brings her ice skating. There’s some weird light show stuff and cheesy love songs along the way, but I’m fairly certain it’s the skating thing that does her in. You don’t even have to be good at it; Happy’s downfall as a hockey player was his skating deficiency. Follow suit from these ’90s bad boys and you’ll have the girl of your dreams eating out of your chapped, winter palms in no time. Better yet, you don’t have to travel too far to make this happen. There are plenty of ice arenas in Maine with skating open to the public. If skating outside’s your jam, don’t forget to check with the Maine Warden Service about safe ice conditions.
4. I Said “Mush!”
This “date” suggestion is a little more extreme than the others for two reasons: 1) it’s expensive ($400-$795) so you’re probably going to want to be pretty serious about the lucky guy or gal, and 2) it’s kind of intense, particularly if you choose the 2-day dogsledding trip package. But for adventurous dog lovers, this could be the perfect couples outing. If you don’t want to commit to a full-on getaway, you can do half or full day tours up in the outskirts of Millinocket. You and your special someone will meet the huskies, take photos, ask questions to your hearts’ content, then mush with a team for 15-25 miles in the forest and lake wildnerness. Imagine Mt. Katahdin as your backdrop the whole time, too. How’s that for romantic? Getting chills just thinking about it, aren’t you? The 2 day package is advertised as “the real deal,” and includes daily dogsledding treks, comfortable lodging and hearty meals, winter clothing and equipment, as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing equipment and trails.
Maine Dogsledding Adventures
Millinocket, Maine 04462
5. A City on Ice
All the other date ideas have had a taste of adventure in them. But maybe your hunny just isn’t that into the great outdoors. That’s okay. Not everyone can be super interesting. Jokes, jokes. I’m sometimes a bit of an “indoor” girl myself. Luckily, there’s plenty of relaxed winter fun going on from January 25 – February 1 for Portland Downtown District’s highly-anticipated Portland On Ice. The nine-day event kicks off at Portland Harbor Hotel’s Annual Ice Bar, an outdoor event even indoor kids can get behind. It is, after all, a bar. After that, expect over a week’s worth of local music, shopping events, the First Friday art walk, and more. Again, you have a full nine days to pick from date ideas. No excuses.