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Kalamazoo P

Grand Rapids

DATE 1: FOR THE NOT-QUITE POOR Kick off your date with a trip down the Rogue River. Call AAA Canoe & Kayak Rentals and give them $40. They handle everything from there. You’re shuttled up the river a ways, plopped in, and two scenic-as-balls hours later, you’re back in Rockford where it all began. After burning few calories, you’re probably ready for a bite to eat. The

Corner Bar in downtown Rockford is a good spot to hit up. There are various food and drink specials most days of the week, and kids eat free every Tuesday. Good news for those of you dating a 10-year-old. Chili Dogs are the restaurant’s specialty; a couple of World Famous Chili Dog baskets should amply feed two people of regular girth for less than $13.

Date Total: $53.00

DATE 2: FOR THE KIND-OF POOR Sushi Kuni has some of the most reasonably priced dishes of its kind in town – but the savings don’t end at the menu. It’s also one of few BYOB- friendly establishments in the city. So pick up a sixer (or twelver if you’re like me) and head over. Not a sushi fan? No worries -- the menu features a variety of non-roll entrees and noodle dishes as low as $7.95.

While movies can be costly and would typically be the killer of a “cheap

date” article, Celebration Cinema Woodland has saved me from that. Tickets are $3.99 for most shows.

Date Total: About $30.00

DATE 3: FOR THE DIRT POOR Your date begins with quick stop to the Miti-Mini Superette, a forsaken shack. According to an angry black man I spoke with over the phone, “A 40 oz. of Magnum will only set you back two bucks.” Grab four of those suck- ers and immediately drink one. That’s the primer; the other is for sustaining your malt liquor buzz for a few hours. At this point, it doesn’t really matter what you do because happiness has been achieved, but I suggest playing a game of “how many more bottles of Magnum can we buy with money we find on the street.” With a day pass on The Rapid for a measly $4.60, the game can be played in any part of town.

Date Total: $12.60 By Joe Gasmann

Washington Ave., Grand Haven). Don’t be fooled by the thin crust – Rosebud’s pizza is large enough that you’ll have leftovers. Try Froggy’s (80 East 8th St., Holland), which is cheap enough to afford while retaining the home-style at- mosphere that keeps it from feeling tacky. All sandwiches and burgers clocking in at

Lakeshore S

less than $5. Coffee is the gasoline

that fuels the great romances of the modern age. Nothing says “sophistication” like two attractive individuals shar- ing intelligent conversation over a


ave money while maintaining your Bruce Wayne poise – split a pizza ($10, single topping) at Rosebud’s Bar & Grill (100

couple of non-fat mocha lattes. In Holland, you can satiate the need for caffeine at JP’s Coffee and Espresso Bar (57 East 8th St.), known across the country for its specialty-brewed coffee. Spend between $1.75 and $2 for a medium cup of what’s probably the best cup of Joe you can find in West Michigan. Get your coffee to go and you can sip it while

you browse the niche shops on Grand Haven’s Washington Avenue or Holland’s 8th Street. Don’t miss Grand Haven’s Mackinaw Toy, Kite, and Surf shop, which will have you reminiscing about the things you used to play with as a child. If your date is into fashion, swing by the Down to Earth clothing store (also on Washington Avenue) and check out the high-quality garbs. On Holland’s 8th Street, you can browse the mom & pop bookstore Reader’s World’s vast catalog of magazines and literature, or let loose your inner Willy Wonka on all of the candies – both foreign and familiar — at Holland Peanut Shop. By Kevin VanAntwerpen

Cheap Dates

ortage could very well be ground zero for the most cliché, yet thrifty, date on the planet. Celery Flats, a park located just off

South Westnedge on Garden Lane, is home to long-winding walking paths, playground equipment, a pond and

rolling hills of green tailor-made for a picnic. If eating on the ground like a barbarian isn’t your bag, they also have a gazebo area with picnic table, grill and

electrical outlet. The meal is just the beginning to what

could be a day full of romantic and sen- timental garbage, like feeding the ducks or, if you’re like Kalamazoo resident Lisa Simonton, kicking it old school by playing on the playground. “When it finally gets warm, everyone

wants to be outside, and there’s a lot of things here that just give you an excuse to be outdoors,” said Simonton, who ventured out with her man-candy even in the chilly mid-March weather. “It’s better than just sitting out in your back yard or something. There’s a lot of space here.” No date is complete without learning the rich history of the celery industry in

Kalamazoo County, at least for you intellectu- als. You can accidentally learn something at this Portage destination by taking a stroll through the Celery Flats Interpretive Center. As long as you’re playing in the park like a

kid, you might as well eat like one. Spend some time at Tommie’s Goodie Shoppe (428 South Burdick St.) and delve into delicious retro candies that will cure your sweet tooth while keeping you and your wallet nice a plump. If you’re more of a traditionalist looking

for that night out at the movies, The Rave (180 Portage St., Kalamazoo) should be your destina- tion, at least for the $6.50 matinees. However, high school and college students with a valid ID get in for $5 regardless. By Jayson Bussa

CELERY FLATS: Nature is free!

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