James Henault, Richmond
Owner, Harvest Light Design, Daughters Penelope, 3, and Elise, 1
Last spring my wife, Justine, told me to keep a particular date open, but she kept what we would be doing a surprise until the day came. She had arranged for friends to come to the house to watch our girls so we could go to Petra Cliffs, an indoor climbing center. I had never been. We hadn't gone out together in a while, and nothing says "freedom" like hanging by a rope from a rock. There were trust exercises, like belaying each other so we wouldn't hit bottom too fast. It turned out to be a great, fun experience.
Afterward, we went to the Farmhouse Tap & Grill for hamburgers and Rookie's Root Beer. We got a table by the window. It felt so relaxing to sit in the sunshine and talk about anything and everything without worrying that someone was going to spill something.
Eli Farnsworth, Colchester
Sales, Odwalla Juice, Daughter Reilley, 16; Son Austin, 8 months
Last fall, when our son, Austin, was about 4 months old, my wife, Beth, and I wanted to see a Hunter Hayes concert, so we arranged for Austin to stay at her parents' house. We were both a little nervous because we hadn't been away from him yet. I have a 16-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, but I had forgotten what it's like to unplug from a baby. It felt weird not having to rush to change or feed him. Beth would call her parents every once in a while to check in, and they would assure her the baby was in good hands.
It was great having time to ourselves and being able to focus and enjoy the show. And because Austin spent the night with his grandparents, we got to do something else we hadn't been able to do in a while: sleep in the next morning.
LeVar Barrino, South Burlington
Site director, Burlington Boys and Girls Club, Sons Avery, 15, and Tavian, 11; Daughter Isabella, 8
For my wife, Kelly, and me, the best date night is dinner and a movie. Now that our kids are a little older, we're able to get out to do that more often. We usually eat someplace like Leunig's Bistro, which we both love, or the Windjammer Restaurant. Like most teenagers, our son Avery doesn't like to talk on the phone, so we check in by text to see how things are going. We usually get one-word answers like, "Fine." If we get through dinner, and it seems like everybody at home is settled, we can make it to a movie. It's something we've always enjoyed.