Our favorite summer tradition as a family is our neighborhood Monday night picnics. Since my kids were babies, every year we look forward to the Monday after Memorial Day, the official start of the weekly tradition. And at 6PM, arriving to the park to find the neighbors all decent upon the picnic tables with their favorite recipes platters and dishes feels like summer at it's best. Great food and wine flows and the kids run around the park till dark. It's a tradition that creates memories with our neighborhood that the kids will remember for years to come.
During the Summer Bummer of 2020, the only picnics we had were in the comfort of our own homes, but with Summer 2021 upon us and the end of the pandemic in sight, we are getting back into the spirit of Monday Night picnics.
If you want to recreate the communal vibes and start your own tradition, find a great spot, grab your friends and neighbors and bring your favorite portable libations. Read on for our guide to planning, packing, and dressing for the perfect summer picnic.
1. Prep the menu
Optimal picnic foods are ones that are easy to transport and delicious at any temperature. My tried and true no-recipe recipe consists of orzo, pine nuts, dried cranberries, fresh cherry tomatoes, diced shallots, chopped mint or basil from the garden and feta over a generous bed of arugula with a lemony vinaigrette (stored on the side for optimal freshness). For those who need a good recipe to follow try this one. Our creative director Hannah found this homemade hummus recipe and it's also deceptively easy to make and a great way to make use of day old-bread and veggies languishing in your crisper. In case you want to go all out with a main dish, our Potluck tote was made for transporting food with ease. A carafe (I love this one from Swell) of pre-mixed cocktails or sangria is an excellent idea, otherwise keep things simple with a couple bottles of pét-nat or prosecco.
A blanket is a must. Our new obsession is this Turkish Blanket- big enough to fit a family, and also great for the beach or beautiful on a bed! (Speaking of beds, my favorite tablecloths are Indian block prints from Kerry Cassil. I buy the twin flat sheets to double as bed sheets or tablecloths.) To really elevate things I love a serving tray as part of a picnic mise-en-scene, perfect as a stage for a well-curated charcuterie or just a flat surface to place drinks. And while single-use plastics might be your first instinct, we like to reduce waste whenever possible. Our ceramic Dominic and Metta cups are a sturdier alternative to glassware, and we always pack our Sit at My Table Napkins, which are easy enough to toss in the wash and get softer and loftier with each wash. Lastly, selecting the proper vessel to carry it all is a crucial decision that comes down to destination. For the park, our Wine Tote comes in handy with its sturdy construction and side pockets sized perfectly to fit two bottles of wine. For the beach, opt for a woven basket or tote and this gigantic Corksicle for your wine to stay chilled, no cooler required. And don’t forget sunscreen, we're going mineral physical sunscreen only from here on out. Stay tuned for a review of our favorites reef safe mineral sunscreens coming soon. Until our full review, I've been faithful to Ilia's Super Serum Skin Tint on a daily basis and thinking of adding this brush-on SPF from Color Science while I research options for the family.
3. House Dress to Street Style
We're still living in our house dresses and sweats. These pieces translate perfectly casual-chic to any picnic or beach outing. Keep things light and easy without sacrificing style in a breezy dress (if you're feeling fancy- add a belt!) or comfy wide leg pants. Keep the sun out of your eyes with our customer favorite beach hat or a colorful trucker hat. Admittedly, almost everything in our newest collection is ideal for summer time lounging so why not browse the new arrivals and put together your ideal picnic look.
The last year and a half has been rough, we all deserve a day in the sun.