The long-awaited (or dreaded) Valentine’s Day draws nearer day by day, bringing with it a frenetic sense as couples scramble to collect their busy lives and come together even for a single date during the height of midterm season. However, the beauty of a date night is often overlooked in everyday life. Going on a date, expressing love — these actions are unreserved gifts that can brighten your relationship, whether it is one with someone else or with yourself.
The common love languages according to Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages” and “Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade,” are simple: acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation and physical touch. Interestingly enough, these facets of love, despite their wholeness and complexity, can be fulfilled by something as simple as a date.
Much of pop culture and media in general dedicates itself to unraveling the secrets behind love — whether dating, or even marriage, exist because we love each other, or if it’s instead the other way around. In other words, do we partake in dating to convince ourselves of love?
In the popular K-drama “Because This Is My First Life,” the main character Ji-ho similarly struggles with the nebulous nature of love. Despite her complicated relationship with her own marriage, Ji-ho’s mother says that no matter what, you have to take care of your “star pocket.”
“Although our lives seem to stay the same, sometimes there are moments that sparkle. Whenever that happens, don’t let it get away. Save them in your star pocket. That way, when things get tough … when you are tired, you can take out one star at a time, and get through it,” said Kim Hyun-ja (Kim Sun-young, “Three Sisters”). Dating is a process of filling up your star pocket, not existing to prove or validate love, but simply to feel and experience it. This Valentine’s Day, and long after, see the dates you experience with others or with yourself as something special and uniquely human — glimmering moments of time that blossom only when given the space to root and grow. With that sentiment in mind, here are some perfect date spots to visit in Atlanta, with which to fill your star pockets to the brim.
The Rink at Park Tavern
The Rink at Park Tavern is a limited-time indoor ice-skating rink situated in Piedmont Park. Under a billowing and insulated tent, ice skating becomes surprisingly cozy and a lot more romantic than ever before. As drinks keep drifting out from the bar right next to the mini ice rink and onto tables full of eagerly waiting customers, The Rink transforms into a bubble of chatter, a completely different type of bustle than the pressure cooker of campus life. The amalgamation of Tech students and patrons from all over Atlanta characterizes Park Tavern as a tapestry of Midtown life.
Goat Farm Arts Center
Deceptively, the Goat Farm Arts Center is missing just that: goats. In actuality, the event space is a repurposed old industrial farm that houses many local art studios and concerts, and even served as the filming location for “The Hunger Games” and “The Walking Dead.” Walking through the dilapidated but well-loved grounds feels like entrenching yourself in a part of history, like placing your feet within the hollows of footprints much older than yours. To experience a date at the Arts Center is truly immersive and unmatched, with the memories you make there becoming part of the living space itself.
Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House
Located right next to the Old Roswell Mill, the original Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee House greatly contrasts its much more minimalistic sister location in Midtown. The Roswell location is situated in an antique, house-like building that transforms a simple coffee date into a much more intimate event with the potential to deepen the connection traditionally felt during a coffee chat.
Additionally, the story behind the coffee house only augments its welcoming atmosphere; the proceeds from the coffee go directly to Rwandan coffee farming communities, creating a symbiotic relationship between the little local coffee house and a much greater purpose of creating living wages for Rwandan farmers.
South Fulton Scenic Byway
This last date spot suggestion is one of the simplest but most significant. The South Fulton Scenic Byway is a 29-mile loop that traverses the rolling hills of Piedmont and the serenity of Cochran Mill Park. Make sure to pack some blankets, pillows, a mini picnic and a rom-com to turn a roadside pullover into a comfy picnic date. If you have an SUV, hop in the trunk, cozy up and enjoy the metamorphosis from dusk to a moonlit night.
To get the full driving instructions for the loop, visit n-georgia.com/south-fulton-scenic-tour.htm.