There is nothing as romantic, special and thrilling as an outdoor summer picnic. With the sun shining on your faces and a succulent slice of watermelon dripping down your fingers, its heaven on earth. So even though it’s still raining out I want to begin planning. Half the fun of picnicing is the planning that goes into it. You can do a picnic easily by just packing sandwiches and some cokes into a cooler and head to the nearest park or you can do it the way I like to-all out!
So if you’re going to follow my route my first step is picking the location. The setting sets the ambiance for every party so it’s pretty important to get this right. In the summer I usually look for a water destination. To me water is enchanting and it helps in the intense heat that it’s generally cooler near the water. It’s also fun to play in. I’ll share with you some of my favorite locations-all in NJ because thats where I live- but shh!!! I don’t want them to get over populated.
Lake Shenandoah is a 100-acre lake in Lake Shenandoah County Park in Ocean County, NJ. If your in the mood for some activity you can fish, rent a boat or check out the conservation area.
Deal Beach is quiet most of the year and so peacefully beautiful. About half way down the boardwalk you will see the Pier Village shops- a perfect example of old world charm built in modern times. There are many great places along the deal beach to set up wonderful, tranquil picnics.
Check out the scenic waters at the 720-acre Manasquan Reservoir. This is my favorite place to host a picnic. Manasquan Reservoir has many great places for the ideal picnic and a 5-mile bike trail challenging enough to work up a hearty appetite in anyone. They also have a fun playground for the kids.
Point Pleasant Beach is gorgeous and crazy at the same time. The long boardwalk is happening at all hours with Jenkinsons arcades, a spooky house, bars and more. It’s not the best way to spend “family time” but if you’re getting away with you’re friends its a lot of fun. You can go down all the way down to the water for some peace and serenity and enjoy a relaxing picnic there.
Once you have your destination set you can begin planning the menu. Remember you are traveling in the car with all the food & eating it outdoors- so keep it simple yet delicious.
Here a pre-planned menu for you:
Go ahead and be original. Use whatever you have in the house. The more variety the better!
Yum! This is my favorite recipe. It’s flexible though- I usually leave out one or two of the ingredients and it’s still always delicious.
Shish Kabob is a good picnic food because they are easy to make, easy to eat and everyone loves them. All you need is marinated meat (any soft steak-like meat you prefer), colored peppers, onions and zuccini. Stack them on a skewer and grill them for a few minutes before heading out.
Whenever we have kids with us I bring along either a vegetable or fruit platter & chocolate dipped pretzel rods for dessert- these are easy foods for kids to hold and eat while running around.
Now for the most fun part, at least for me being that I have a party planning and decorating obsession is all the fun accessories you can bring along to set your table beautifully- even when you’re on the road!
My favorite picnic finds:
Over the years I have purchased three of these lanterns from Arteriors. They are pretty expensive, so I bought them slowly over the years, but they have definitely gotten great use. I use them for every night-time picnic and every barbecue. They are a beautiful practical centerpiece and so romantic with their soft candle light. Arteriors is my favorite, favorite designer for tabletop accessories. They have the most incredibly timeless pieces.
I have to give my husband credit for this stunning hammered metal container, also from Arteriors. We use it as a wine/ beer cooler-it’s always a hit!
Last but absolutely not least is my gorgeous picnic basket- I love it!!! I found this at Williams-Sonoma and I knew I had to have it. My kids gave it to me as a Mothers Day gift and I can’t wait till the sun comes out so we can start using it!
Go ahead & begin planning your big picnic of the summer . Let me know if you need any help with the set-up and please share with me some of your favorite picnic accessories.