Back-to-school date spots

Hello, old friends! I hope you all had great vacations with plenty of hot summer romances - preferably with tall Europeans and Amazonian babes with foreign accents and rippling muscles. I'm eager to get back to writing this dating column filled with a bit too much of my personal life and embarrassing stories about everyone I know - or anyone who has ever made the mistake of sharing a small anecdote from their love life with me.

But before I dive right back into all of that, I thought I'd do something a little simpler and share some of my favorite back-to-school and end-of-summer date spots. Whether you're a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed first-year who wants to forget a disappointing prom night as soon as possible by going on too many college dates, or you're an experienced, old fourth-year who finally wants to ask out a lab partner you've been crushing on since 2007, hopefully these ideas will help. The perfect end-of-summer date spot for me is somewhere that takes advantage of the last of the warm weather before autumn comes and features something special about Charlottesville, one of my all-time favorite cities. Plus, I'm all about bringing back the classic "date" and getting rid of the college "hook-up culture." And so, here are my suggestions for some great places to go:

1. Peach picking and apple picking at Carter's Mountain Orchard\nThis is one of my favorite date spots. The orchard is tucked away in the mountains but is still really close by. You can chat with your date as you walk around the trees and check out their butt when they climb the ladder to pick the fruit. The scenery and beautiful views of the hillside just inspire romance. It's extra fun to go on a hayride and maybe brush against each other during the bumpy parts. Bonus: If everything goes well during the date, you can take all of your freshly-picked produce home and spend the evening together in the kitchen cooking peach or apple pies and cobblers. A sweet end to a sweet date.

2. Hiking Blue Hole\nBlue Hole is a popular swimming hole out by Sugar Hollow and a great spot to bring a date. Ladies, put on a pair of your many Nike running shorts, and guys, slap on your Croakies and drive out Barracks Road to this hiking spot. Apart from being a nice hiking trail and a fun, active date, there's a great rope swing and swimming hole for more fun during the date. Be careful if you or your date don't have a lot of upper body strength because - speaking as someone with not a lot of upper body strength - if you can't hold onto the rope long enough, you'll fall perilously close to the rocky ledge. Luckily, no accidents tarnished my Blue Hole date, and although we hiked a few feet apart on the way up, after a day flirting in the sun, when there was room on the way down, we walked hand-in-hand. Bonus: Pack some sandwiches and drinks in a backpack before you leave, and you can share a charming picnic while sitting on top of the rocks.

3. Concerts at the Charlottesville Pavilion\nIf you've never been to a concert at the Charlottesville Pavilion, you should definitely take advantage of this while the weather is still nice. You can get dinner somewhere on the Downtown Mall beforehand or yummy snacks and drinks from all sorts of vendors at the venue. There, you can sit in seats or spread a blanket on the lawn area. There are some great acts coming up, but you can also get a great deal at Fridays after Five until Sept. 10, when local bands and singers perform for free.

Bonus: The floor of the Pavilion usually opens up for dancing, so you can grab your partner and show off your moves if the music - and your date - so inspire you.

Jordan's column runs biweekly Mondays. She can be reached at

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