How to Pack the Perfect Picnic
by Erin Peterson
Need ideas for a social distancing that are fun AND safe? Summertime means outside time, and there is no better time for a picnic than today. With the warm sun on our shoulders and the birds chirping, there are few joys greater than dining alfresco. The Inland Northwest is known for its picturesque outdoor experience, and you can create your very own dining hotspot with the perfect view as easily as packing a basket with your favorite foods. What better way to take in the area’s beauty than lounging on a blanket and enjoying a meal with someone you love?
When you think about planning a picnic, you might think it is just too much work, but a few minutes well-spent will make for an easy meal to take with you. The dream of the perfect portable meal can be dashed with just a few missteps, but we are here to help with our easy checklist.
Bring simple foods to serve in warm temperatures. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are always perfect. Not only do they taste better at the height of their harvest, but they also hold well in your basket. Do you want someone else to do the work of preparing the meal? Grab something to-go at your local market for the ultimate in ease and practicality. Another way to get some simple snacks is to head to Wanderlust Delicato, which has plenty of options for you to take to-go and dazzle your date. Manchego from Spain? The world's best blue cheese? A perfect wine pairing? Yep, Amber's got your back.
Pack sensibly for your environment. Are you going to be at the beach? Don’t bring a cheese board. Sandy snacks aren’t fun. It’s great for the park, though. Will you be outside a long time? Make sure to limit the perishables to a cooler. Think about food safety and practicality before you place it in your hamper. A portable barbecue can come in handy if you want your food freshly cooked, and you’ll be sure to be the envy of every onlookers.
Bring a quality blanket. Don’t take anything that’s thin or flimsy, as you’ll likely rip it or watch it blow away. A high-quality, heavy duty blanket is definitely worth packing to make your life easier (and more stylish).
Choose to reuse. Cotton napkins, sturdy containers, real silverware and a fun, vintage basket not only elevate your whole look to make it feel extra-special, but they are environmentally friendly, too. Mason jars for drinks are easy to seal, and a tiny cutting board can come in handy with fresh vegetables. A rolling cooler is another way to efficiently transport your goodies, and they are available in a variety of sizes and colors.
Don’t forget the fun. Bring along a book, cards, a game or a sports activity to do while you lounge. Don’t just eat and run; enjoy the experience to its fullest. We like to bring along something that doesn’t have a lot of pieces that can be lost while we’re out and about. Not a game person? Find some fabulous local entertainment. There are a variety of outdoor concerts, movies and events that are perfect to pack a meal along, but be sure to check the event rules before you bring your basket so that you’re not left behind.
The same goes for real estate as it does for picnicking... location, location, location. Put your blanket down by the lake, overlooking the river, at Manito Park, along the Centennial Trail during a bike ride, or Riverfront Park. One of our very favorite spots for summer is the view at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, where picnics are not just allowed, but encouraged.
Does this sound like a lot of work? Do you want someone else to do the heavy-lifting and decision-making? Then Pop Up Picnics Spokane is for you. Owner Rachel Killpack will set up the perfect spread for you. You're sure to delight the ones you love with a dining alfresco experience that they will remember.
by Erin Peterson
Erin is a professional educator by day and a food blogger by night. She is a devoted wife, loving mother of three boys, and enjoys traveling around the region she calls home. Her hobbies include tending her cut flower garden, playing with her pet Corgi, drinking Washington wine, and thrifting for treasured vintage goods. You can follow her on Instagram here.