Sometimes, the cheapest date ideas are the best ideas.
Recently, my husband and I had a completely unplanned weekend. I brought up the fact that we hadn’t really had an official “date” most of the summer, and suggested doing something that weekend.
The original plan was to head back to Ridge Road Estate Winery for a glass of wine, likely on the patio. The weather was perfect; no humidity, sunshine and blue skies.
It’s not in my husband’s nature to make plans, so when he said we were going to visit our friends (all planned through Facebook lol!), I was very pleasantly surprised. I still wanted a raincheck on our date, though.
Friends of ours, who’ve I mentioned before, just bought a new-to-them-trailer and they were breaking it in, while house-sitting. The guys wanted to build a simple wooden ladder for the trailer, and us ladies… well, we had some wine to rescue. (It was trapped in a bottle, very tragic!)
It was an awesome, spontaneous way to spend the afternoon/evening, and we always love hanging out together! But, we still wanted to spend time together as a couple, and I suggested hanging out in our old neighbourhood park/trails.
We took the five-ten minute drive to the neighbourhood I grew up in, and my husband moved to just before we began dating. The soccer field backs out to a portion of the Bruce Trail. This trail stretches from Niagara Falls, NY all the way up to Tobermory, ON.
We spent much time hanging out in this neighbourhood as teenagers, mostly because we had very few places to actually go. If we weren’t hanging out at one mall or another, we were in the woods. We usually built a campfire and met friends there. It’s where Devin proposed to me, in the snow.
Exploring The Neighbourhood
A lot had changed over the years, especially with the addition of the Red Hill Expressway. The city had paved the dirt path that was once there, and we couldn’t find the spot we considered to be our hangout. It was all so different.
We walked to the end of the main path that connected to the old road, known as Mount Albion Rd. It was no longer used for cars because of the Expressway but many pedestrians and cyclists still use it.
We turned around and walked up towards another old road, which was now a residential area. My husband was on a mission at this point. He wanted to find an old stone building that he’d always seen on his bus ride to and from school. I vaguely remembered it, but I guess I just hadn’t been curious enough about it.
We found it, and he did some research on it. This building was the Grassie Blacksmith Shop, the oldest blacksmith shop in the area. William Grassie built the shop in 1847, after he emigrated from Scotland. It was destroyed by a fire in 1984 (some of the charred portions are still visible). The city of Hamilton had fenced it off to prevent vandalism. Of course, it didn’t stop us from finding a way in to look around (ssshh!)
Here is the before:
Here it is today:
A view from the other side of the building:
If you’re local and want to check this building out, you can do so by accessing the Red Hill Valley Trail at the end of Old Mud Road. This “Life After People” building is at the entrance of the path.
It was an interesting afternoon, checking out this building. When we were finished in the neighbourhood, we headed back and walked along the escarpment to the adjoining Felker’s Falls. From the escarpment, there are wonderful views of Lake Ontario and the weather was just so perfect. The lack of humidity made the water look extra blue.
This is one of my favourite viewpoints because from the escarpment, we can see both the building we met in, and our first apartment building.
I’ve always wondered, but never really asked my husband, when did he first think it might turn into something, in the beginning. We met on two occasions before we actually went somewhere together. My friend, who set us up, came along as a buffer, in case conversation got stuck. But we hit it off pretty well, and that third time was definitely the charm for us.
It was nice to visit these areas, especially in light of our upcoming 20th wedding anniversary in December. So much has changed. Nature has really taken over in terms of growth.
Together, my husband and I have changed a lot over the years. It hasn’t always been pretty or easy, but it’s always been worth it. I felt blessed to spend that day with the love of my life. Walking around in our old neighbourhood was truly the perfect date!
What free/cheap dates do you and your significant other enjoy? We’d love some new ideas!