Lovebirds: David and Carol Rose Coss
Cheap date: Hiking on the Dale Ball Trails
The Cosses would have gotten married on Valentine's Day—if it hadn't fallen on a Thursday. But it did the year they tied the knot, so they waited until the weekend to get hitched. Twenty-three years later, Carol Rose and her husband Santa Fe Mayor David Coss find their lives are filled with charity events and political obligations, which can make it hard for the couple to get that invaluable alone time.
But the Cosses, who might know Santa Fe better than anyone else in town, are experts when it comes to finding ways out of the spotlight and into each others' focus.
"With the kids gone there are no more distractions," Carol Rose says, "so sometimes just being at home is a nice time."
David agrees but quickly adds that the couple also enjoy going out on the town. "We went to see Slumdog Millionaire a few nights ago," he says. "It's nice because we saw some old friends and said hello but when we're somewhere like that, or out at Friday night gallery openings, and people see us together, they usually just kind of wave. People are really respectful when they know we're out together."
Lovebirds: Honey Harris and Susan Young
Cheap date: Breakfast at home
"It's a Southern thing," KBAC DJ Honey Harris says of her and girlfriend Susan Young's summer days on the front porch of their South Capitol house.
The couple, who have been together for almost three years, met when Harris invited Young, who works in a business located next door to the house, and Young's boss over for dinner.
"We didn't move in right away though," Young says. "We didn't want to fit that stereotype, so we waited a year."
Now, after two years of living together, the couple make sure to spend their Sunday mornings with a breakfast of bacon, croissants, mimosas and the New York Times. In the winter, they throw the iPod on shuffle and light a fire and, as soon as the weather gets nice, they're outside on the front porch for a day of relaxing and watching the neighborhood.
"I'm real lazy," Harris jokes. "I got my cat from one next-door neighbor and my girlfriend from the other."
Lovebirds: Christina and Kevin Brennan
Cheap date: Out and about in Santa Fe
"Staying home is boring," Christina Brennan says as her husband Kevin nods his head in agreement. Instead, the sweethearts, who met in college and have been married for 2 ½ years, find inexpensive ways to explore every corner of Santa Fe.
"One of our favorite things is to come downtown, have a drink and window-shop," Christina says.
"We used to get desert too," Kevin adds, "but now we do an appetizer. It's so much cheaper than a full dinner."
The Brennans also eat out on the cheap by hitting a few Friday-night gallery openings for a little wine and cheese before using a discount gift certificate from 999dine.com, which offers certificates from more than a dozen local restaurants for sometimes more than 50 percent off. They also hit up pay-what-you-wish nights at the Santa Fe Playhouse, go to local museums on Sundays—when admission is free for New Mexico residents—and last summer tried out the rodeo for something different.
"We go out all the time," Christina says, "but that doesn't mean we have to spend a lot of money to do it."
Lovebirds: Michael Sumner and Melody Sumner Carnahan
Cheap date: Arroyo walk
Collaboration is more than just artistic expression for writers and artists Michael Sumner and Melody Sumner Carnahan—it's a way of life. That means "a lot of fights over the years," according to the couple.
Working and living together means that nearly every aspect of the couple's lives is intertwined. To get away from it all, they take walks in local arroyos. The walks began as a spur-of-the-moment outing and have evolved organically over the years into a ritual with solid and, until now, unstated rules.
"We had to really think about what it was we did," Michael says. "It's just always something we've done without really talking about it. But thinking about it to tell someone was really fun."
Some of the rules include bringing a pencil and a small pad for ideas, leaving electronics at home and heading out without any sense of purpose.
"The day doesn't exist past two minutes after that moment," Melody says. "The walks can be two hours or six, it just depends on the day."
During their arroyo walks, the couple have amassed an interesting collection of rubber boot heels, abandoned tennis and baseballs, and steel beer cans. "There is other great stuff out there," Michael says, "but we've had to limit it to those things to keep the house from filling up with junk."
Lovebirds: Yon Hudson and Alex Hanna
Cheap date: Movie night
"Flowers help," Yon Hudson says of the difference between dinner and a date with partner Alex Hanna. "But, if I need to get out the doghouse, I know movies are the way to go."
For Hudson and Hanna, who met nine years ago when Hudson DJd a friend's birthday party at the now-defunct Bar B, Hitchcock is always a favorite but, for something a little different, they recently watched all of the American Film Institute's Top 100.
"There wasn't a lot of overlap between what he'd seen and what I'd seen," Hanna says.
"It was great," Hudson says, "I saw movies that he loved that I'd never wanted to watch before but, because he loved them, I already knew there was something there."
To make the nights complete, in addition to flowers, Hudson and Hanna often grab some takeout from El Parasol or The Shed, build a fire and settle in with an inexpensive bottle of wine or martinis.
"We're very home-centric these days," Hudson says. "So we spend a lot of time at the house."
"And he cooks, though that's not always cheap," Hanna adds. "But in the summer we can take those meals and go up to the mountains and sit under the leaves or just stay at home and sit in the garden or watch the stars."
Lovebirds: David and Carol Rose Coss