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The Adventure of a Picnic
An impromptu dinner outdoors

©Outdoor Adventure Canada

As Spring approaches my mind wanders to thoughts of the great picnics we used to go on when I was little. Some were on sultry summer nights when my Mom didn't want to heat up the house by cooking and some where just for the joy of it. The reasons to enjoy a picnic are as varied as the people who go on them. There are the romantic picnics in a park, the family excursions to the beach, a picnic in the middle of a day hike and the after-work picnic.

For a romantic picnic in the park, start with a traditional wicker picnic basket and a beautiful tablecloth. Choose foods such as patés, crackers, French bread, cheeses, fresh fruits, and maybe even a chocolate fondue. You can find candle powered fondue pots made just for chocolate in many department and gourmet stores. Include a nice bottle of sparkling grape juice or wine and a beautiful candle.

For the beach picnic, be sure to bring many drinks and be prepared for the sun. You might want to look for a spot that is sheltered from the wind and has a picnic table. Most people bring a cooler and BBQ for these type of picnics. Our family and friends always bring lots of salads and other things to munch. It is a fun way for people to connect and spend quality time together.

A picnic during a day hike is always a treat. Use an insulated knapsack or a cooler bag to house pre-cut ingredients for wraps or sandwiches. I often use leftover grilled vegetables or meats for added flavour. Sometimes I make the sandwiches ahead and wrap them in plastic wrap. My friend Roberta Orosz makes a family-sized sandwich called a Muffaletta that would be perfect picnic fare. Bring lots of water and a water filter especially on hot days. Find a nice spot that provides some shade and enjoy the scenery around you.

One of my favourite types of picnics it the impromptu after-work picnic. This started a few years ago when a friend called at lunch and suggested I grab some fruit and a few pre-made salads on the way home from the office and she would make the sandwiches and bring the drinks. Then our family was to meet her family at the local lake. It was an extremely hot day and there was a nice breeze. We had dinner, relaxed, and enjoyed a swim. After watching the sunset we headed back home. Doing this spontaneously is fun and reduces the stress of the workday. It is now something we do quite often.

Many times, we will combine a picnic with another activity like a trip to an outdoor event, a wildlife reserve or an outdoor concert at a local park. Other times we bring badminton, Frisbee, or a ball and play with the kids. Sometimes we just get in our Jeep and drive on the back roads until we find a great spot to have our picnic. We've even had picnics where we sat in our vehicle and watched thunderstorms roll in over Ontario's Georgian Bay.

No matter where or how you picnic, it is good planning that makes it a success even on last minute excursions. I have several picnic baskets and a picnic knapsack. I always keep them stocked with a tablecloth, cutlery, unbreakable glasses, a cutting board and plates so that I am ready on a whim. Even if it is a spur of the moment idea you need to be sure that you have ice and a cooler or cooler bag to keep foods cool. If you plan to BBQ be sure you have enough fuel and everything you need as far as utensils go. I also keep a set of picnic-sized condiments in the fridge ready top pop into the cooler and a set of spices in the picnic basket. I also bring a little bag with first aid items; sunscreen and bug spray.

We love to have picnics in the warmer weather as it brings a little piece of the outdoors into our lives when we aren't able to get out on a wilderness trip.

So what are you doing after work tomorrow… or on Sunday afternoon? Check the weather forecast and go.

Written by Laurie March
Picnic basket photo courtesy

masthead photo courtesy




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