Up in the air - If she’s always looking for ways to see things from a new perspective, how about from above? Hot air balloon rides offer an aerial view of awesomeness, especially if you take her at sunrise. For city dwellers, seek out the nearest scenic area – they likely have balloon tours. In the NY/NJ/CT area alone there are options like Above The Clouds Inc., or for a view of what upstate NY has to offer, try Adirondack Balloon Flights‘ tours of the Lake George, Adirondack and Saratoga Springs areas (full disclosure: I grew up there, the views are unparalleled, hence the bias).
However, there are three things to keep in mind if you go this route - the first is cost. Tours start at around $169 per person for 30 minutes in a non-private basket and can go up to nearly $1000 per couple depending on duration, private rides and champagne/food inclusion.
Secondly, these rides are wind and weather permitting, so if you don’t want to wait on Mother Nature, you can always try a helicopter tour instead. Manhattan has some great options, plus she can see what the city has to offer without the shuffle of the crowds. Sites like All New York Tours offer a solid rundown of your aerial options.
Finally, take into consideration her comfort level. Once upon a time I was surprised with a particularly thoughtful hot air balloon ride, but since I am deathly afraid of heights (see? I can throw myself under the bus, too) we decided to forego the experience. Though the gesture is what really mattered (and it does score major points for romance), if the thought of soaring in an open basket terrifies her, obviously opt out.
Perfect for: Any girl, so long as she doesn’t share my fear of heights! Dating timeline appropriateness: Any – except unless you’re a baller, I can’t see dropping this much cash on someone you’re newly dating. What it says about you: I like adventure and I want to share something awe-inspiring with you (swoon).
For a more grounded experience, how about letting her learn something she’s always talked about, like a language?
The French Institute (Alliance Francaise) offers 11-week and 5-week intensive courses for beginners, but can cost between $315 and $585 for sessions depending on frequency. (Hey, I never said knowledge is cheap). Obviously this requires some juggling with her schedule, so if you prefer the luxury of leisure time and choosing any language, there’s always the Rosetta Stone route as well.
Perfect for: Any girl with a desire to learn and the discipline to see it through. Dating timeline appropriateness: Same as above – any, but since it’s costly let your wallet dictate how much you really like her (kidding). What it says about you: I really pay attention and respect your desire to better yourself. This proves to her that you were listening.
And finally, if you’re looking for an experience of a different kind, how about something a little unconventional, like a glass blowing class? I know, it sounds a little odd, but stay with me… The art of glass blowing is something you just have to see to appreciate, plus you come away with cool keepsakes and bragging rights that you made your wares yourself.
NYC offers some well-respected options, for instance Scanlan Glass in Brooklyn’s funky Red Hook neighborhood. Classes can be private or semi-private and are offered on weekends, but as with everything, come with a steeper price tag for privacy ($300 for a 2-hour session for 2 people, so join in!). They offer beginner and 2nd level classes, as well as boasting an impressive gallery. Check their website if this sounds like something she’d enjoy.
Perfect for: Artsy girls, or girls who just think it’s badass to play with molten fire. Dating timeline appropriateness: Any, it’s a cool experience no matter what your commitment. What it says about you: I’m creative and unique – two refreshing qualities in a man.
That’s it for Day 2 of Miss Wingman’s 12 Days of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts, but check back for more holiday options. Have an idea you’d like me to highlight? Ever received a standout gift? Share it and maybe it’ll be featured – email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep it right here for more gift-giving wisdom.