Some of my earliest memories are picnic lunches at the neighborhood park with my mom and dad, along with my younger brothers and sisters. Dad always brought a kite and we would spend hours keeping it flying. Mom's lunches were always great.
One of the great things about picnics is that there is no particular location necessary for them. You can enjoy a meal at the park, on a hike, on a drive or even on a rooftop. We almost always brought lunch from home when we went fishing and I'm certain hunters do the same, as do many cyclists and outdoors enthusiasts. Popular locations include the park, the mountains, the beach, in canyons, a forest, a lake, a fun place in your city, in a nearby city or town, your backyard, at summer concerts, at festivals or fairs, at sporting events, and even the library. One of my favorite concert venues is in Washington State, The Gorge at George, in which half of the seating is in tiered grassy areas perfect for picnic lunches.
The right setting and ambiance can facilitate romance, with many a first date made accordingly. Lots of games and sports are available to kids and adults alike during a day at the park, and an entire industry was built from what started out as weekend barbecues. Lifelong memories can be made and lifetime events, such as birthdays, engagements and anniversaries, can happen at picnics.
There are tools of picnicking that nearly everyone uses, like picnic baskets, tablecloths, plasticware, drink jugs and paper towels, making this activity one of the few widely shared activities around the world. A picnic lunch in the English countryside looks very similar to one in Central Park or near a French vineyard. A Rocky Mountain lunch is comparable to one in the Italian Alps or Bavarian Black Forest or in the Andes, though I might suggest you avoid picnicking on the Serengeti or the Brazilian rainforest.
Last, a picnic will cost much less than a restaurant, and far more secluded, so they continue to be as popular as ever. I had quite a few neat comments about picnics and am showing several of them here, some with editing or paraphrasing:
Andy and Maureen T.- Our memories range from being romantic, when it's just the two of us, to fond family get-togethers. Picnics are always beautiful. We didn't do couples picnics in a lot of years, but once we retired we have made it a point to plan one or do an impromptu when we can.
BLSMSS- Picnic lunches makes me happy as I remember when my husband was courting me, he used to surprise me with a picnic at a local park -- starting our lives with a nice lunch at a beautiful park. The last picnic we had was with his oldest son, whom he hadn’t seen in awhile, in Texas a few years ago. It made me so happy watching him enjoy his time with his son. Always love picnics!
Canadian Hellie- My idea of a real picnic starts with a cloth on the grass. Most picnics in this area are at a picnic table, whether it's at an RV park, at home, along a roadside pull-out, at a chip truck or just in the car. I've only ever had one picnic on the grass and I still remember it. It was an impromptu idea as the day was perfect and we didn't have a cloth; just our late lunch from a take-out and a bottle of wine in a park. I was a few years younger then and didn't have any problems getting up from sitting on the grass. I can still do it, but it might take a couple of tries (chuckle).
Brenda and Bob- Taking a Fork in the Road- We often take our lunch with us when we go on a bike ride -- you just don’t know what beautiful park you may find on your route. We are often surprised by secluded parks with great scenery.
Joan S.- I remember as a child when my family, eight of us, would pile into the station wagon after the crops had been planted and head for the North Carolina mountains. We tailgated long before it was popular -- along-side roadways and at roadside parks with picnic tables, trashcans and frequently grills, maintained by the states of Georgia and North Carolina. So much fun! Mama even traded our homegrown tomatoes with restaurants for special meals or treats for us all.
Bob and Maria- When we had been dating we had done a few picnic lunches. So when it came time to propose, I packed a picnic basket and surprised my honey at work for lunch. There was a small park nearby and long story short, I used the ring as "dessert" to propose -- the rest is history. Although she did have to go back to work, but had a great story as to how the picnic went for her co-workers (lol).
Rkymtn97- In college I would do an indoor picnic when the weather was crappie. Just spread the blanket out on the floor and add the food!
See Spot Run RV- We love picnics! When we were homeowners we would picnic at outdoor concerts. We had a backpack that was insulated with tubes on each side for wine or beers. Since we have been full-time RV'ers we picnic several days a week. We take our lunch with us each time we head out to explore the area. Along the way we look for a park of any kind, sometimes it is a city or county park, or even an outdoor lunch place in downtowns. We usually do this three to five days a week.
Nadyne H.- When we were young, we'd have a couple of picnics a year near Tucson. Most of our extended family would also be there so we'd end up with 50+ people. It was always a fantastic day! Great food and wonderful aunts, uncles and cousins!
Ann Z.- Best picnic I ever had was just about five years ago on a sunny Sunday in North Bergen, New Jersey. We brought bagels, coffee, and books and read to each other. I fell asleep in the sun.
I'll end with an appropriate quote from English actress Kate Winslet, who said: "The things that make me happiest in the whole world are going on the occasional picnic, either with my children or with my partner; big family gatherings; and being able to go to the grocery store - if I can get those things in, I'm doing good."
Jack Huber is a writer, blogger, poet and photographer. Like many, he is concerned about the psyche of our planet's inhabitants and wants to try to improve his little corner of it.