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Three Valentine's Day date ideas to get out of your comfort zone
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Trigger Time owner Karen Whitlock places a rifle onto a display Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, at the South Hall gun store and indoor firing range. - photo by Scott Rogers

By LAYNE SALIBA and LINDSAY HOWARD

lsaliba@gainesvilletimes.com and lhoward@gainesvilletimes.com

Valentine's Day is around the corner. Instead of lining up the same dinner reservation or snagging the same handful of flowers, try these three date night ideas to get out of your comfort zone with your partner.

Trigger Time Indoor Gun Range

Where: 7429 Spout Springs Road, Suite 101, Flowery Branch

When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday

How much: $13.50 Valentine’s Day special for a couple, plus $15 for gun rental if needed

More info: 770-967-4444, www.triggertime.org

Speaking of out on the range, there’s another kind of range you can try out with your loved one this Valentine’s Day: The gun range.

Trigger Time Indoor Gun Range in Flowery Branch has myriad guns to rent and plenty of ammo for you if you’re wanting to start your Valentine’s Day with a bang. And lucky for you, since Valentine’s Day lands on a Friday, the gun range will keep to its buy-one-get-one-free after 4 p.m. Friday special.

“We get people calling all the time leading up to Valentine’s Day to see what we’re doing and what our hours are,” said Karen Whitlock, co-owner of the range with her husband Rick. “Mostly it's the ladies trying to plan something special for the guys, but ladies like to shoot, too.”

And oftentimes, they shoot better than men, she said.

The range is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Valentine’s Day, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., you’ll be able to rent a lane for two people for just $13.50. If you have your own firearm, you can bring that with your own ammo and shoot as much as you'd like. But if you don’t, you can rent one at the range for just $15. That one price will get you any of the 40-plus handguns or rifles they have. You can exchange guns as many times as you'd like at no extra charge.

Ammo is sold by the box, and if you rent, you’ll have to purchase what they have there.

“A lot of people like it, especially if you've never done it before,” Whitlock said. “It's just something unique that's sort of a bucket list-type thing for some people.”

Whitlock said most people like to try out handguns. They have Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Springfield. She said they really have “a little bit of everything” for rent.

For inexperienced shooters, starting out with a .22-caliber pistol is the way to go.

But whether it’s your first time at the range or not, there’s always room for a little competition.

“Husbands and wives will sometimes have a competition going on to see who shoots better,” Whitlock said. “It’s for bragging rights. It's just a fun little activity, something different than going to the movies or something like that.”

If you want to take a break from shooting to go to the movies, though, or maybe grab a Valentine’s Day dinner, you can always come back to the range for more shooting afterward.

When you rent a lane at Trigger Time, it’s for the whole day and you can come and go as you please.

Whether you’re there for an hour or all day, Trigger Time is a way to spice things up this Valentine’s Day.

“It's a little bit out of the box because mostly for Valentine’s Day, you think, ‘I'm going to go to a movie,’ or, ‘I’m going to go eat,’ or something like that. This is something a little bit unusual,” Whitlock said.

Dahlonega Carriage and Horse Rides

Where: 49 Forrest Hills Road, Dahlonega

When: Open daily with reservations

How much: $39.99-$146

More info: 706-867-9395, www.goldcitycorral.com 

Laura Smith, a volunteer at Dahlonega Carriage and Horse Rides, knows not everyone is used to being around horses, and that’s OK. So this Valentine’s Day, head out to the range to experience an equine-filled day in Dahlonega. 

One-, two- and four-hour guided horseback rides are available starting at $40 an hour per person, plus tax. 

If horseback isn’t what you're looking for, 30-minute carriage rides are available for $50. 

Dahlonega Carriage and Horse Rides, which used to be known as Gold City Corral, also offers a dinner wagon ride as a unique way to experience what transportation used to be like.

“We load you up on the wagon, take you over to the river house, we feed you, and then bring you back to the barn. It shows you what it’s like to ride in a wagon. It can take five minutes to get there in a car and it takes about 30 minutes to get there in the wagon,” Smith said. 

Dinner wagon rides start at $39.99 plus tax per person if you order chicken and $49.99 plus tax per person if you order both chicken and steak for dinner. 

If horses aren’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. The staff and volunteers at Dahlonega Carriage and Horse Rides do “whatever (they) can to help,” according to Smith. 

“I think it’s great for Valentine's Day because it's something you can do together. It’s quiet, it’s relaxing and any time you get horsey time, it's a good time. We have a lot of people that have never ridden before in their life, and they’ll come and ride for two hours,” Smith said. 

If you’re looking for an all-day event, the barn currently has a special on Groupon that includes a two-hour ride, lunch and a chance to groom the horse for $146.

So, this Valentine’s Day, enjoy a quiet and relaxing adventure out on the range with your significant other.

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Grapes and Ghosts Wine Tour

Where: 19 East Main St., Suite F, Dahlonega

How much: $18-$22

More info: 706-482-8795, https://www.dahlonegawalkingtours.com 

Halloween’s a long way away, but consider skipping the sweet stuff this February and go for something a little more frightful.

The Grapes and Ghosts Wine Tour and is a four- to five-stop tour, according to co-owner Jeremy Sharp.

The tour starts at the business’ wine tasting room at 5:30 p.m. and offers 36 different types of wine from Georgia Winery in Ringgold. At the start, tour guide Penny Sharp talks about the stories associated with the building and does an introduction about Dahlonega’s history. 

The tour guide then takes you to the Dahlonega Tasting Room to enjoy more delicious wine and eerie ghost stories. 

“We basically walk you around, get you drunk and tell you ghost stories,” Jeremy Sharp said. 

The Grapes and Ghosts Wine Tour takes around two-and-a-half hours. Both wine tastings are included in the $22 ticket, and after the tastings there is more wine available for purchase.

It’s a good way to spend time with your loved one and learn about the town’s history, according to Sharp. 

“We’re generally sold out on Valentine's Day. Sometimes we even end up doing extra tours on Valentine’s Day,” Sharp said. 

After the tour, there will be live music at restaurants on the square and plenty of other activities to enjoy your special day in a small town. 

If wine is not your cup of grape juice (pun intended), there is also a sober historical ghost tour at 8 p.m.

This historical and family-friendly ghost tour has 13 stops in the span of an hour-and-a-half to two hours. 

“We try to back up our ghost stories with real historical events like massacres that took place during the Civil War,” Sharp said.

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