Date Your Spouse

I'm taking a break from my Kitchen Series this week to write about something near and dear to my heart.

This past weekend, My Sweetie and I realized we were going to be all by ourselves on Saturday. Instead of filling up our day with all of the items on our To Do List, we decided to invest in something else.

Our relationship.

When the kids are young, we have the tendency to focus so much on them and the busyness of life, that we get out of the habit of spending quality time with our spouse. There are many excuses for not doing this, one of which is the cost, but as you will see below, you can spend a day away without spending much money.

So here was our Saturday:

Coffee on the road. I got a latte, but My Sweetie always get a short at Starbucks of whatever is brewed. The short is not on the menu and is around $1.50.

We are blessed to live in a beautiful area, and so headed towards San Francisco, about a two hour drive. I do think that most people in the world live within two hours of something beautiful.

We were headed to the Marin Headlands, an area north of The City, that is still wild and untouched.

This area is part of the Golden Gate Recreational Area, and parking and admission is free in most areas. First, we walked to Rodeo Beach, by way of a short path.

The main beach is a little further north and is accessed by a bridge, where this part, the southern most part, is only accessible by a path and stairs. Which makes it less crowded.

We had brought a picnic lunch with us in my trusty cooler backpack. I had hit the store the day before and bought a bottle of wine, crackers, cheese, olive tapanade and salami for about $15 total.

We spread it all out and enjoyed our lunch.

We spent at least an hour here, listening to the waves and talking. We talked about a future trip, about our kids and decisions they are making, how to help them, and how we can be smarter financially together.

The evening before I had read about nearby Point Bonita and a lighthouse you can visit. We packed up our stuff, dropped it at the car, and then headed up another path to the lighthouse.

You come down a steep hill and see this:

On the one side, you can see the Golden Gate and city, obstructed by fog today.

And on the other side, looking down is a beautiful beach.

You come to the base of that hill and to a door......

....and walk through it to a tunnel. To get to this lighthouse, you need to walk through a stone tunnel.

We asked a docent at the lighthouse and they had originally built the lighthouse in 1855 on that large rock above the tunnel, at around 300 feet high. Which to east coast standards, was tall enough for ships to see. But here on the west coast we have some serious fog. And the lighthouse was too high and above the fog, so ships continued to shipwreck. So they moved it to its current location at just 124 above sea level.

Only 59 people are allowed out there at the lighthouse at a time - just in case the Coast Guard needs to evacuate the area. (Which the docent said has never happened.)

To get to the actual lighthouse, you need to cross a suspension bridge.

Which makes this the only lighthouse in the United States that you need to walk across a suspension bridge to get to.

And yes, it did bounce, like those fun bridges on playgrounds.

The lighthouse.

When we got out there, this is how it was looking back, at the rock.

We could actually go inside the lighthouse, on the first floor.

We spent time looking at the view - I grew up in the Bay Area and never knew about this spot.

We crossed back over, and looked back towards the lighthouse, and saw a beautiful arch.

We walked back up to our car, and then since we had more time than we thought, we headed north, to Stinson Beach.

It was a good 30 minute drive on Highway 1 out there, and it was pretty windy, but it was worth it.

This beach is actually one of the cleanest in California, and is 3 1/2 miles long.

We were at the southern end.

And as we sat there, the sun came out.

After about an hour of sitting here and talking, we headed back towards The City.

When we got down the the Golden Gate, the fog was rolling in.

We had reservations at a place in Sausalito, and we were a bit early, and the sun was when we got off of Highway 101, we drove south to the bridge, to see the view.

So beautiful.

Now if we were really doing a budget date night, we would have left a little earlier and gotten home for dinner. Or, grabbed burgers for under $10.

But I was combining this date with our monthly date night, and so we had budgeted to eat out. We were eating at a hole-in-the-wall spot in Sausilito called Avatars. This place had caught our eye because it was an Indian-Mexican fusion restaurant.

The owner was hilarious. They gave us menus, but then after a few minutes he walked up to our table and with his lovely, Indian accent, asked us what we wanted. When we hesitated, he snapped his fingers and told us that he would take care of us. Yikes.

After a few minutes, they brought us this:

Lamb Curry

This was a bit spicy. I really wanted to like this, but a few pieces of the lamb were tough. And, after the first few bites, all I tasted was heat.

This was Punjabi Enchiladas.

Yes, these were Indian enchiladas. The flavors were so interesting. You had the Mexican flavors in the enchilada sauce, but then there was this curry flavor on top of that. Really quite unique. And the owner had made it clear that he could have tweaked any dish to our liking....I wish I lived closer and could come back and try other dishes.

And that was the day.

As you can see, it does not cost a lot to spend the day with your love. And yes, it did take the whole day, but it was a day well spent. Please don't let time or cost be an excuse to not spending a day doing something fun with your spouse! Being deliberate about developing that relationship is so, so important and needs to be a priority.


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