[Green Girl] Eco-Dating

Christi Vivar

Whether you're looking for an alternative to the dry, dinner-and-a-movie routine, or trying to plan a Saturday staycation with your spouse of 20 years, Jackson has many options for the eco-savvy, especially if you plan ahead to minimize driving. Don't forget comfortable shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, water and sunscreen if you plan to spend time outside. And, if you haven't yet found the right date for green adventures, meet someone new on the JFP's online social network, Lounge List.

Biking Belhaven
Throw on your shorts, tank top and tennis shoes, and lather up with your favorite eco-friendly sunscreen. Attach your bikes to the car and carpool with your favorite date to the McDade's (904 E. Fortification St., 601-355-4357) parking lot on Fortification Street on a Saturday morning. Bring a backpack to fill with local, organic goodies from the Belhaven Market for a picnic lunch (and don't forget your cloth napkins). Fill in any gaps in your finds at McDade's. Set off together and bike around Belhaven, stopping to admire colorful birds, big trees, friendly neighborhood cats and any other wildlife you come across. When your legs grow tired, pause for a picnic at the pond on the Belhaven College campus. After lunch, wander around the pond to look for turtles, frogs and the occasional snake. If you have the energy, bike over to the downtown YMCA (100 W. Monument St., 601-353-4357) for a swim, or tour the air-conditioned home of Eudora Welty (1119 Pinehurst Place, 601-353-7762) to cool down.

Fondren on Foot
Eat an organic lunch for two at High Noon Café (2807 Old Canton Rd., 601-366-1513) next to the Rainbow Whole Foods Cooperative Grocery. My personal favorite is the roasted vegetable sandwich. And don't forget to save room for a piece of their famous carrot cake to share. Walk off your lunch by hiking up to Orange Peel (3026 N. State St., 601-364-9977) to browse their stylish used clothing selection, or head over to Butterfly Yoga (3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313) to take a class together. Be sure to stay hydrated with a soda in a glass bottle from the Fondren Beverage Emporium (3030 N. State St., 601-321-0806) or a milkshake at Brent's Drugs (655 Duling Avenue, 601-366-3427). Browse the furniture in The Antique Market (3009 N. State St., 601-982-5456) and Firefly (605 Duling Avenue, 601-981-5716). Walk back around the block past the new Duling School development to finish off your date with a mid-afternoon cup of organic coffee at Cups (2757 Old Canton Rd., 601-362-7422).

Meandering in Madison
Pick the car that has the best gas mileage to carpool out to the Mississippi Craft Center (950 Rice Rd., Ridgeland, 601-856-7546) to the tune of a new mix CD. Spend time in the air-conditioning and enjoy looking at the beautiful pottery mugs, woven scarves, wooden spoons and much more. Set a budget for you and your date to each purchase an inexpensive gift for the other. Drive up the Natchez Trace about 10 miles further to hike the shady Cypress Swamp trail and then relax on one of the benches overlooking the swamps. When you're ready to get moving again, head back to Ridgeland to get a gently worn copy of an environmental bestseller at The Bookshelf (637 Highway 51, Suite AA, Ridgeland, 601-853-9225).

An Evening In
Some of the best dates of all happen at home. Invite your date over for your home-cooked spaghetti garnished with fresh basil from your vegetable garden. Set the mood with beeswax candles, and make a cobbler with local fruit from the farmer's market for dessert. Before sunset, take a walk together around your neighborhood and bring a bag to collect any trash you see in the streets. Finish off the evening with a classic board game such as Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit beneath the breeze of your ceiling fan. Or sit on your porch and read aloud to each other from a library book. When you start getting sleepy, pop some old-fashioned popcorn kernels on the stove, turn the lights down and put your latest Netflix favorite in the DVD player.


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