E very Sunday morning, Bobby and I get dressed for church, kiss Graham goodbye, and head off for the Equinox Hotel. No, we don’t attend church at a hotel. But let me tell you what we DO experience at this fancy-schmancy place: apple cider donuts. Freshly made. With cinnamon and sugar sprinkled all over. I don’t even particularly like donuts, but these things are good.

This little ritual started last summer when Bobby announced he was taking me on a surprise date. If there’s one thing I consistently yearn for, it’s surprise dates. I LOVE them. They don’t even have to be big – he could take me to go get gelato samples and ooo and awww over paint colors at the hardware store and I’d still be over the moon about it. It’s all about that element of “I’ve planned something just for YOU” that makes them the best.

Husbands, boyfriends everywhere, take note. I’m giving you GOLD here. Take your wife/fiance/girlfriend on a surprise date sometime this week and watch her swoon.

We live really close to the Equinox but could never stay there on our current budget. It’s expensive and beautiful and – did I mention expensive? HOWEVER, we can waltz through the lobby on a Sunday morning and into the gift shop where we proceed to buy two freshly made donuts for the grand total of one dollar. It’s honestly the best deal in town. (Bobby knows that I’m impressed by thrifty-ness – so far from being worried that this date would fall short for me, he knew he had a home run since it was costing us 50 cents apiece. Totally winning in my books.)

(If you’ve got your detective glasses on, you may have realized that my hair is different in that picture – that’s because the photo is from last year. Proof that we’ve been doing this tradition for awhile! For the remainder of the post, please prepare yourself to be inundated with photos of us making weird faces while partaking in our dollar date.)

After grabbing some tea and coffee, we go sit outside on their porch area which overlooks Equinox Mountain. Over the course of an hour, we eat our donuts in the sunshine, sip on our hot drinks, and just talk. We have gotten in the habit of asking our 5 Weekly Questions during this time – if we breeze through those, then we visit without an agenda, with pauses throughout to simply sit there with gratitude for it all: the beauty of Vermont, a leisurely morning to be together, a hand to hold, a donut to munch. Perfection.

As I mentioned, our weekly trip to the Equinox has become a ritual ever since that initial surprise date. We’ve certainly had joy over these past three years of marriage but we have had nearly ZERO consistency with our constant moves and career shifts – and so this dollar date ritual feels especially precious. Something to hang on to and anchor our weeks.

In fact, this ritual has been so great that Bobby said he’s going to write a book titled Dates for a Dollar. So far he has about 3 ideas, and one of them hinges on living in Manchester, Vermont. So I’m thinking this will be a very short e-book.

At any rate, we will be searching for more dollar dates that can occur weekly throughout the course of our marriage – yes, to have something fun to look forward to, but also to open up that space where rejuvenation and love can happen.

Now I toss it out to you! Any good dollar date ideas? We’re all ears! (And maybe Bobby will feature your suggestion in his sure-to-be bestseller, yeah?!)

(P.S. We are hitting the road this week to make our way down to Miami for the winter. Working for snow birds is the major millennial life hack if you want to live the semi-retired lifestyle 40 years ahead of schedule. ;) However, this means that I’ll be away from the blog until the beginning of November. At one point when I scaled back the number of posts, I know I mentioned this meant I wouldn’t need to miss posts, even when we were moving. Then I started an Etsy shop and gave myself zero time to get ahead on blog posts. And, once again, Grace realizes that she is a mere mortal. Ha! I hope you’ll stop back in November!)