With the days of cool weather, cute sweaters, layering, and hundreds of reds, yellows, and oranges; we cannot wait to get outside and explore. The adventures that are even more persuasive are when food is involved. A picnic is a perfect way to get yourself, friends, partners, and family outdoors! Fall is the season to pack the basket full of delicious yummies and find that perfect patch of green under a tree, on a mountain, or next to the water. With such a versatile array of landscape that Ohio has to offer, there are countless different areas to take your next picnic adventure. Some great places to experience the fall colors, in this upcoming season are: Edgewater Lake, Hinckley Whipps Ledges, Brecksville Reservation, Put-in-Bay, or any section of the Cleveland Metroparks.
Photo Credit: Picnicking in Put in Bay
Each of these locations has great places to take a short hike into the woods, meadows, or beaches and “set up camp” for a picnic in the park. A ten-minute walk to find that perfect spot is enough exercise to indulge in all of your favorite treats, right?? At least that is my thought! So you have taken your walk, burned your calories, picked that spot on the grass, and you go to unpack the picnic basket... But what is actually inside? Enough of the old days with soggy PB&J sandwiches and some crackers out of the box, and MAYBE a hoho you’re treating yourself. So how do you make the ultimate menu for a picnic? Let’s find out.
The first thing that I do once I decide I want to go on a picnic is who all is going with me? This is critical in what to make, accessories to bring, and what terrain to choose. Depending on the “outdoorsiness” (an extremely technical term to describe the degree to which one wants to interact with the outdoors) is a key component to picking a spot. Take for example someone not so inclined to the sand, or the woods… or bugs… or inclement weather… well what are we supposed to do with them? Just go to a fancy restaurant with AC? Nope, instead take them to an open park/meadow with actual picnic benches. You can google most locations and they will either show pictures of the structures available or in the comments and ratings of the place they will give in-depth descriptions.
Example of Area with Picnic Tables,
Kendall Lake within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Photo Credit: Shannontech.com
At Appalachian Outfitters we have this awesome job where people come in and tell us their goals and aspirations and then our specialists, who have done similar things, show you everything you could ever need and why it is so critical. For those picnicking fanatics or newbies, we can hook you up with the greatest gear. We have extremely user-friendly picnic baskets made out of durable materials that are just as cute as they are functional! Explore all different types of baskets; traditional, different sizes, backpacking baskets, wine specific, and more. Another essential component after the basket is a blanket. This can be a traditional blanket from the closet, but if there is any moisture on the ground, it will seep through and can be uncomfortable.
The Victory Blanket. Photo Credit: NEMO Equipment
I would recommend a foldable, water-repellant, durable blanket with a handle. NEMO Equipment and Picnic Time have some really awesome ones that fit these characteristics. The last technical piece would be chairs if you wanted to be off the ground. Even if you plan on sitting in chairs, still bring a blanket to keep the critters off and away from your food. We have a large selection of collapsible, lightweight, and even reclining chairs to make your picnic seem like a five-star restaurant.
To make a picnic exciting, it must have delicious food. Period. But what if I’m not the best cook, or I will be rushed in the morning and can’t get around to it? The wonderful thing about picnics is every meal should have ingredients that individually are simple, yet combined are a dance party for your tastebuds. How I start off putting together my menu for a picnic is that I do not procrastinate! Prepping for a picnic is soooo much better than making the food right before going. If you choose the latter, you are exhausted by the time you are done and the event lacks its luster. Next, I fill out 5 different categories; snacks/nibbles, sandwiches, sides, drinks, and of course, DESSERT!
You can obviously do more or less than these, but I find this to be a good amount for a trip centered around a picnic. Below is my menu from my last picnic and although it sounds like fine dining (at least in my opinion) they are some of the most simple and basic cooking techniques that anyone can make!
And if you are worried about coming up with ideas, give us a call. We are all always thinking about food. I promise you that! Just try out different flavors, and don’t worry about refrigeration too much. Most picnic baskets come with insulation and can stay fresh for longer than you would think.
No matter what, have confidence and fun. Remember to take into consideration who you are going with and be cognizant of their needs and what will make them happy. Pack it all in the trunk, buckle the seat belts, and take a drive. Bring along some of your favorite activities, kites, soccer balls, cards, or even pack candles, sparklers, or battery powered lights for the romantic evening feel. But go outdoors! Bring the food you and your family love. Be together. Be happy, and be healthy!