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Katy Kelleher

Katy Kelleher is a writer, teacher and editor who lives in Buxton.

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Posted: August 26, 2016

Is your summer fling the real thing?

Written by: Katy Kelleher
The high ropes course at Monkey Trunks in Saco makes a goofy yet adventurous date. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The high ropes course at Monkey Trunks in Saco makes a goofy yet adventurous date.
Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

It’s a tale as old as “Grease” – summer loving, it happens so fast. Two months of beaches and bonfires, and you’re smitten. But can your love transition into fall and – gulp – last through a Maine winter? To find out, do like they do in the movies and issue a sneaky test in the form of a casual date. These seven activities are designed to suss out whether your brand new relationship is destined to go the distance or you should let it fizzle out, like a sparkler on its last glittery legs.

Can you hang?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from surviving 20-plus seasons of “The Bachelor,” it’s that true love is best tested by a ropes course. Take your Maine squeeze to ride the zip lines at Monkey Trunks in Saco. Combining aerial trekking (tightrope walking from tree to tree) with zip line swinging, this goofy yet adventurous date will get your heart racing and your palms sweating. The weekend courses run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost between $39 per person (for a zip line only tour) to $59 per person (for access to multiple ropes courses).

Great escapes

Is your sweetie going to lose their cool at the first sign of trouble? Or will they work, methodically and slowly, to overcome each roadblock that pops up in your path? There’s literally only one way to find out, and that’s by signing them up for an hour in a locked room with a bunch of strangers. Head over to The Escape Room, where you will have to work together to solve a series of arcane puzzles. If you fail to complete the task, the cheerful and helpful employees will switch into battle mode and immediately destroy you both. Kidding. They’ll let you out. But still, it’s a good exercise to find out whether someone’s cool under pressure – or they’re plotting to escape your clutches ASAP. Tickets are $20 per person, and if you want to test out your whole coterie of suitors, “Bachelorette-style,” you can book the whole room for just you and your lovelies.

Hit me with your best shot

Before shacking up, you might want to see how your summer fling handles a bow and arrow. Photo courtesy of L.L. Bean

Before shacking up, you might want to see how your summer fling handles a bow and arrow.
Photo courtesy of L.L. Bean

Find out whether cupid’s arrow has pierced your stony heart by taking your summer fling to the L.L.Bean headquarters in Freeport for a crash course in weaponry. Find out if your love has killer aim by taking a three-hour Archery Discovery Course. Or figure out whether they’ve got a membership at the NRA by bringing them skeet-shooting (and watch how they handle that gun – few things matter more than safety at a shooting range). These hot-button issues can make or break a relationship, so you better find out now. A private sporting clays lesson will set you back $165, or you can try an archery course for just $25 per person.

Wanna chill?

Have you ever wondered whether your love would let you freeze to death in the Atlantic Ocean while they stayed warm atop a floating raft? Well, now’s the time to find out whether you’re a Rose, a Jack or just a person with common sense (seriously, there was plenty of space on that raft for both those crazy kids). Head over to the Portland Science Center, where their Titanic exhibition will be on display through October. Upon arriving, you’ll receive replica boarding passes and begin a chronological journey through the history of the ill-fated ship. As you walk through the galleries, be sure to ask probing questions like, “Would you draw me like a French girl?” and “If I told you to never let go, would you do it? Or would you let my frozen corpse fall into the blackness of the sea, never to be seen again?”

Fair play

Ferris wheels, like this one at the Windsor Fair, provide time to get to know each other.
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

There’s nothing sweeter than a day at the fair, complete with cotton candy kisses and a little Ferris wheel action. There are dozens of fairs taking place this fall all around Maine, complete with corny events and mildly thrilling rides. In September, there’s a local fair happening somewhere or another every single week, from the first weekend (Blue Hill, Springfield and Harmony) to the last (Cumberland), plus another eight in between. Sure, this date is a little heavy on the nostalgia, but that’s the point. Use the opportunity to ask them about their first smooch, their last girlfriend and what makes them dizzy with love. It’s a fact-finding mission, disguised as a cheap-and-easy date. What’s not to love?

Do a duet

Are you in sync or are you two already out of tune? Head to Flask Lounge on a Thursday night to warble your way through a few karaoke favorites or spend a Sunday night at Styxx, where the drinks are cheap and the song list is endless. While having a voice like X-Tina may not be that important, it is worth it to find out whether your budding relationship can survive a next-day embarrassment hangover. Because no one leaves karaoke proud of their accomplishments. No one.

Road trippin’

Finally, there is no better way to get to know someone than to spend a few hours in the car. Parents know this trick and have been using it for years. Now, it’s your turn. Plan a road trip out to Bethel to watch the leaves change, or take a drive down south to Kittery to check out the great restaurant scene. While you’re cruising, take the time to ask the object of your affections some real questions. What are they passionate about? What hits their anger buttons? These things matter long-term, and there’s no way to find out aside from talking. So, in the quiet of the car, when it’s just the two of you and a long stretch of highway, open your mouth and talk. And even more importantly, listen. This one easy trick will get you further than any sneaky test ever could.

Katy Kelleher is a writer, teacher and editor living in Buxton.

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