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Low-cost love: Tips for dating on a dime

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Kayla Bunge
February 23, 2009
— Amid the worrying about layoffs, foreclosures and credit-card debt, couples also might be feeling distraught as they try to find ways to spend time with one another without spending too much money.

Well do not fret, oh cost-conscious romantics, dozens of date ideas are available that won't break the bank.


Here's a sampling:


-- Take a brewery or winery tour.


Gray Brewing Co., 2424 W. Court St., has tours from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of each month and by appointment. Call (608) 754-5150 or visit www.graybrewing.com for more information.
Randy's Restaurant and Fun Hunter's Brewery, 841 E. Milwaukee St., Whitewater, offers tours by request only. Call (262) 473-8000 or visit www.funhunters.net for more information.
Minhas Craft Brewery, 1208 14th Ave., Monroe, has tours at 1 p.m. Friday and at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday. Tours are $10 and include a gift pack including several bottles of Minhas beer and Blumers sodas along with gifts to commemorate your visit. Call (608) 325-3191 or visit www.minhasbrewery.com for more information.
New Glarus Brewing Company, 119 Highway 69, New Glarus, has self-guided audio tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Three 3-ounce samples of beer and a commemorative tasting glass are $3.50. Call (608) 527-5850 or visit www.newglarusbrewing.com for more information.
Staller Estate Vineyard and Winery, W8896 County A, Delavan, does not have tours but has tastings year-round. Call (608) 883-2100 or visit www.stallerestate.com for more information.
The Apple Barn Orchard and Winery, W6384 Sugar Creek Road, Elkhorn, does not have tours but has tastings from mid-June through mid-December. Call (262) 728-3266 or visit www.applebarnorchardandwinery.com for more information.

New Glarus Primrose Winery, 500 First St., New Glarus, does not have tours but has tastings year-round. Call (608) 527-5053 for more information.


-- Go thrift or consignment store shopping. Agree on a price limit and scour the shelves for unique gifts for one another.


-- Walk around Rotary Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville. Self-guided tours are $5, and guided tours are $7. Make sure to bring the camera.


-- Grab a cocktail and listen to live music at a local bar or restaurant. Check the listings in the kicks section of The Janesville Gazette.


-- Indulge in Cabaret Night on Friday and Saturday during show season at The Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville. Performances are free and will resume when “Guys and Dolls” opens March 11.


-- Laugh it up at Comedy Night at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville. Tickets are $10. Call (608) 741-7400 or visit www.janesvillearmory.com for more information.
-- Explore a state park. Vehicle day passes are $7. Call (608) 266-2181 or visit www.dnr.state.wi.us for more information.
-- Yerkes Observatory, 373 W. Geneva St., Williams Bay, offers free tours on the hour from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday throughout the year. Regular Saturday tours are designed for families and other small groups. Call (262) 245-5555 or visit astro.uchicago.edu/yerkes for more information.
-- The Thompson Observatory at Beloit College, 700 College St., Beloit, holds regular open houses during the school year. The next one is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Visit www.beloit.edu/physics/observatory for more information.

-- Stroll around the Geneva Lake Shore Path. The 21-mile path offers an unmatched view of the lake and some of the most beautiful homes in the region. “Touring the Geneva Lake Shore Path” is a pocket guidebook detailing the entire route and pointing out interesting estates and landmarks along the way. Call Nei-Turner Media Group of Williams Bay at 1-800-386-3228 to have a copy mailed to you for $6.50, or pick up the booklet for $5 at stores around the lake including Cornerstone Shop in Lake Geneva, McCollough's Prescriptions and Gifts in Lake Geneva and Walworth and The Abbey Resort in Fontana.


-- Take a driving tour of historic markers. A listing of markers is available at www.wi.centuryinter.net/nwoods/150.
-- Visit a historical site, such as the Tallman House in Janesville or the Webster House Museum in Elkhorn. Visit www.rchs.us for information from the Rock County Historical Society or www.geocities.com/walcohistory for information from the Walworth County Historical Society. Wikipedia also has a listing of sites in each county on the National Register of Historic Places.
-- Go ice-skating. Weather permitting, the rink at Traxler Park on South Main Street in Janesville is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Skate rental is free. Call Leisure Services at (608) 755-3030 for more information. The Janesville Ice Skating Center, 821 Beloit Ave., Janesville, has open skating hours daily. Admission is $5 and skate rental is $2. Call the center at (608) 754-7840 or visit www.ci.janesville.wi.us for more information.

-- Go sledding.


-- Go for a walk or bike ride on the miles of trails throughout Rock and Walworth counties.


-- Explore the undiscovered Rock and Walworth County parks. Visit www.co.rock.wi.us or www.co.walworth.wi.us.

-- Learn a new sport or activity together, such as ultimate frisbee.


-- Go for a drive, stopping or turning only when you encounter a predetermined something, such as a garage sale sign or a street that starts with the letter R.


-- Explore the back-country roads by driving the state's Rustic Roads and Scenic Byways. More information is available from the state Department of Transportation at www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/scenic/index.htm.

-- Snuggle in for movie night. Spice up the rental routine by challenging your sweetie to select a flick around a theme. Pop popcorn and split a cheap bottle of wine. Or pick a foreign locale you both want to visit. Prepare a meal and then watch a movie with roots in that country.


-- Go to a matinee movie.


-- Grab a latte at a local coffeehouse and sip it by the fireplace.


-- Pick a new recipe and cook together. Allrecipes.com has a collection of more than 40,000 recipes, which you can search by course, cooking style or ingredient.

-- Attend a poetry or book reading together.


-- Volunteer together for a cause you both are passionate about.


-- Host a dinner, lovingly prepared by you and your sweetie, for a group of other couples.


-- Host game night. Board games, card games and puzzles are perfect for winter. Make it a competition that pits you and your sweetie against other couples. Backyard badminton, bocce ball or croquet are great for summer.


-- Go tubing on the Sugar River. S&B Tubing, Canoeing and Kayaking, 100 E. Main St., Albany, offers double tube rental for $20 for a trip down the river, which takes about three hours. Call (608) 862-3933 for more information.


-- Swim at Lions Beach in Janesville.


-- Paddleboat on the Rock River. Rentals are available at the Harry C. Moore Pavilion in Riverside Park in Beloit. Call (608) 364-2890 for more information.


-- Take a morning stroll through a local farmers market. Beloit, Clinton, Edgerton, Elkhorn, Janesville, Lake Geneva and Whitewater play host to Saturday events in the summer and fall.


-- See a movie at the Hi-way 18 Outdoor Theatre, W6423 Highway 18, Jefferson. The drive-in theater reopens this spring. Shows are 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Tickets are $8. Call (920) 674-6700 or visit www.highway18.com for more information.

-- Share a picnic in the park.


-- Enjoy free live music at an outdoor venue. Some options include:


-- The Main Street Entertainment Series is held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday from June 16 to July 21 in Lower Courthouse Park in Janesville. Call (608) 755-3030 for more information.


-- The Friday in the Park Concert Series is held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday in the summer at the First National Bank Plaza at State Street and Grand Avenue in Beloit. Call 1-800-4-BELOIT for more information.


-- The Wednesday Night Concert Series is held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the summer in Riverside Park in Beloit. Call 1-800-4-BELOIT for more information.


-- Concerts in Central Park are held Wednesday in the summer at the bandstand in Central Park in Edgerton. Contact organizer Jeremy Brockman through his Web site www.solaremsemble.com.
-- Go to a Beloit Snappers game at Pohlman Field, 2301 Skyline Drive, Beloit. Tickets are $7.50 for a box seat, $6.50 for a reserved seat and $5.50 for a general admission seat. Call (608) 362-2272 or visit www.snappersbaseball.com for more information.

-- Play bocce ball, croquet or disc golf in the park. Janesville Leisure Services offers tons of recreational equipment for rent. Call (608) 755-3030 for more information, including rates and availability.



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