Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Picnic on the Parkway this Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day weekend is a time of relaxation, spending time with family, and enjoying the beautiful weather. You can’t think of Memorial Day weekend without thinking about a red and white checkered blanket accompanied by yummy snacks, a great book, and friends & family. Picnics are the perfect way to get out and enjoy the outdoors while also placating your palate. Couples, friends, and family alike will all enjoy the simplicity of eating food among the wildlife, but picnics can be less than enjoyable if the proper preparations aren’t made in advance.

Where to go: 
It’s important to consider the type of place you want to picnic before hitting the road. Would somewhere secluded be your ideal spot or do you need somewhere recreational with a spacious setting for the kids to run? The Blue Ridge Parkway has many ideal picnic spots, all with something unique to offer. Julian Price Park is one of the most popular spots, with picnic tables, the largest campground on the Parkway, rest rooms, an amphitheater, trout fishing, boat rentals, and over ten miles of hiking trails. Moses Cone and Beacon Heights are also great spots to settle in for a day in the sun, with plenty of space for a picnic and lots of exclusive trails to explore, offering a little more seclusion and serenity than Price Park. Places to picnic are easy to come by on the Parkway and surrounding areas, so explore all the options and pick the place that suits you best, you can’t go wrong!

What to Pack:
First and Foremost,  choose a menu that is easy to make, pack and clean up. Sandwiches are a great picnic pick, so here are a few tasty ideas to fill up your picnic basket.

            - Bread: If you want to opt for something a bit different than typical Wonder Bread, freshly baked, crusty baguettes from a local grocery store are always delicious.

            - Meat: Some meats to stuff in the middle; turkey, ham, salami, and roast beef are all great choices. Don’t forget the mayo, mustard, lettuce and whatever else you like to fill your sandwiches with!

            - Cheese: Cheese is a must have! You can stick with the classic favorites like American, cheddar, or provolone, but consider branching out to some tasty delicacies such as Brie, fresh mozzarella, Gouda, or Gruyère.

            - Fruit: Fresh fruit such as grapes, watermelon, strawberries or blueberries make a great addition to any picnic, and can be picked up at local fruit stands across the High Country. You can pack them separately or even throw them altogether for a fruit salad!

            - Sides: You can go for the classic potato chips or boost it up a notch with some delicious potato salad, cole slaw, or guacamole with tortilla chips.

            - Drinks: depending on the type of outing you are looking for, there are several drink options. For an outing with friends, pack a cooler full of refreshing summer beer such as Shock Top Raspberry, Blue Moon, or Sam Adams Summer Ale. For a more romantic day, bring along a chilled bottle of your favorite white wine- don’t forget the corkscrew! For a relaxed family outing, a pitcher of lemonade or sweet tea will work great.

            - Dessert: After eating, everyone will be ready to move onto play time, so dessert can be as simple as a bag of chocolate chip cookies from Stick Boy Bread Company.

            - Toys: After a big meal, it’s time to work all that energy out, so remember to pack your Frisbee, soccer ball, football, or even fishing pole for a day full of adventure and memories. If you’re not much for physical activity, bring along a blanket and book and find a rock in the sun for a relaxing afternoon.

            - Supplies: There are always a few necessities that would be great to have but don’t always make it on the picnic packing list. Some useful things to throw in to make set up and clean up a breeze include eating and serving utensils, tablecloth, napkins, insect repellant, sunscreen, trash bags, and chairs!

This Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to soak up a tan and enjoy the High Country’s gift of a gorgeous spring. This checklist will help you pick the ideal spot for eating, adventure, and relaxation, along with all the provisions you may need, so now is the time to venture out on the perfect picnic on the Parkway!

 Taken by Ashley Jones at Price Lake

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