July is National Picnic Month!

Picnics can be an excellent location to have a romantic lunch or dinner getaway from reality au pair.  They can also be the setting for a fun-filled summertime barbeque with family and friends, but this month I think the focus should be on ROMANCE.

There are several key elements you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your picnic.  The first of which is LOCATION.  Wouldn’t it be grand to hop on your private jet for a romantic afternoon picnic on the sandy beaches of Costa Rica?  I can see it now…but the reality for most of us is if it’s not a planned vacation, that perfect scenario is not really a….well, reality.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t plan something just as beautiful and there are a variety of nature’s best backdrops to choose from.

Beaches. Who doesn’t love sand between their toes and an ocean breeze at their back?  For a comprehensive list of public beaches nationwide, click here.

Parks and Playgrounds. Public parks, reservations, and botanical gardens can provide an airy beauty to your picnic experience.  If you have kids, there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy a semi-romantic picnic while the kids tire themselves out at the jungle gym.  Of course, at some point you will be required to jump in to push swings and encourage your little acrobat to reach for the next monkey bar but in the moments when the kids are playing amongst themselves, take the time to just appreciate one another. For a comprehensive list of public parks and playgrounds nationwide, click here.

The Mountains. If you and sweetie are more of the adventurous type, a short hike through the mountains to the picnic site can be a fun way of burning some calories and kicking up those endorphins.  It can also be a very private setting and that’s all we’re going to say about that (wink, wink).

Outdoor Theatre. Though there are few still in operation, finding one and using it as your picnic location will make it even more nostalgic.  For a list of outdoor movie theatres, click here.

Home Sweet Home. Your home can actually be the setting for annual picnic celebrations. Why call off picnic season due to cold weather when you can just take picnic season indoors? Especially when a perfectly prepped backyard can be just as titillating as your living room fireplace or bedroom floor.

With a little imagination, picnics can be an easy way to celebrate family, love and life all year long,

Socialbfly says…If you’re looking for a scenic outdoor multifunctional location in New Jersey, we recommend the NJ Botanical Gardens in Ringwood, NJ which is open from  8a-8p all year long and FREE to the general public.

The second key element you’ll want to consider is your PACKING LIST.  Where you decide to host your picnic will ultimately require you to examine the items on your final packing list but there are some basics necessary ingredients:

  • Picnic basket
  • Picnic blanket
  • Can opener, bottle opener, and corkscrew
  • Sunscreen
  • Ice packets
  • Citronella candle and insect repellant
  • Trash bags
  • Plastic ware and napkins or paper towels
  • Wine glasses
  • Camera
  • Music

Though there’s little room for something to go wrong during a picnic, Murphy’s Law is more often than not waiting to work her charm.  And besides, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?  You might want to take these along as well, (especially if you’re hiking):

  • First aid kit
  • Extra pair of clothing (in case you’re swimming)
  • Compass
  • Flashlight
  • Insect net
  • Antihistamine (for the allergy afflicted)

It is a good idea to utilize a location that you’re familiar with and when you arrive, park close to your picnic site.  The summer months are notorious for passing thunderstorms and I promise you won’t really be interested in walking 2 miles back to your car if a storm cloud passes over.

Third and final key element is THE MENU.  The foodie in me argues that this should have been first but in my own defense, I didn’t list these in order or importance…just in order.  And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like you to introduce you to my friend, Ms. Ilia Daniels, who is an a-maaaaaz-ing cook and in our friendship circle is referred to as the Diva of [fine] Dining.  She’s also the owner and head cook of BreakBread Catering, a full service event catering company which also provides personal chef services and cooking classes which, for the cooking impaired like me, are absolute gems – there’s a huge chance I may one day be able to cook for my family.  I called to get her feedback on what she thinks should be inside of the picnic basket and her suggestions will make you rethink peanut butter and jelly and run to the supermarket right now:

  • Hummus and Pita
  • A Bottle, or two, of your favorite wine
  • Individually packaged sandwiches like tuna with capers and olive oil  [BreadBreak Tip: lightly toast the bread to reduce sogginess]
  • A pasta accompaniment that can easily be served cold.  She makes a flavorful Farfalle Pasta with Broccoli that fares well hot, room temperature or cold.  (see her recipe for Farfalle Pasta with Broccoli here)
  • Fruits:  Melons and berries serve as the perfect dessert.  For three different variations of a fruit dessert, consider topping it with a Chantilly cream or yogurt.  You can also consider grand marnier infused strawberries. (see her recipe for Fresh Summer Peaches and Raspberries with Chantilly Cream here)
  • Sliced veggies and olives to go with the Pita
  • B.M.T – Basil, Mozzarella, and Tomato
  • Water, water and MORE water…there’s nothing romantic about being dehydrated and water can also serve to clean an unexpected cut or insect bite.

She cautions against “messy” dishes and those that include mayonnaise (or other dairy products) because they tend to spoil easily in hot weather and suggests mayo packets instead.  Packets are also a good idea for toting other condiments including ketchup, relish, salt, and pepper.

When selecting your basket you’ll want to choose a size that can support the number of dishes you intend to serve.  When packing your basket you’ll want to pack the heavier items on the bottom.

FACT: The most popular picnic food is watermelon.

A picnic, overall, can be a romantic and relaxing way of spending quality time with your loved one(s) without putting a lot of financial stress on yourself.  Invest in your love life and block out a weekend afternoon and properly celebrate National Picnic Month.

Thank you to our Blog Contributor(s):

  • BreakBread Catering. Ilia Daniels. Want more delicious recipes? Follow on Twitter @BreakBread_Co.

3 thoughts on “July is National Picnic Month!

  1. I think this post is absolutely awesome. I love the idea of going to the beach for fun in the sun and NOT having to eat boardwalk food. Also, I had no idea that JULY is National Picnic Month but now that I am aware I will definitely make use of this information.

    Fabulously helpful post… keep ’em coming!

  2. Love it!!! Definitely going to be using these tips this month!! I didn’t know it was National Picnic month either – love the tips from BreakBread too! Can’t wait for the next blog 🙂

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