Best of the Web

A Year of Picnics Giveaway + Best of the Web

by Grace Bonney

Over the past almost 13 years of writing here at Design*Sponge, the greatest honor has been getting to work alongside some of the kindest and most creative people in our community. For three years author Ashley English helmed our Small Measures column (inspired her wonderful homesteading blog) and since then she’s gone on to write not one but TEN books, including her latest, A Year of Picnics: Recipes for Dining Well in the Great Outdoors (Roost Books).

Ashley’s latest book gets right to the heart of who she is and what she loves most: nurturing those around her. Over the years we all worked with Ashley, we got to experience firsthand just how much love she shares with others and how generous she is with her time and attention. Seeing that generosity of spirit carry on through her book series has been an absolute joy and her latest book, dedicated to seasonal picnics with friends, is Ashley’s heart in a nutshell. The book is filled with over 20 picnic ideas, separated into seasons and filled with delicious food and drink recipes (and tips for cooking and eating outdoors) like Smoky Chai with Cardamom, Rose Water, and Berry Coffee Cake. Today we’re giving away 10 copies of A Year of Picnics (!!) and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment here sharing a memory of your favorite picnic moment — or one you hope to have one day. (Mine is somehow clearing off the Brooklyn Bridge for one night, and making dinner for Julia and I to eat together and look at the city where we first met and fell in love). Until Monday, here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend. xo, grace


Suggested For You


  • I’d love to one day have a picnic with my son and be able to have him help make the food and pack it with me

  • I’m not much of an outdoorsy person, but I bought Ashley’s book to support her sweet family. I’ve been watching her adorable premie grow on IG and wanted to show my love.

    I have to say how impressed I am with the book. I read the whole thing. (I might not be outdoorsy, but I am a voracious reader, even cookbooks.) Ashley’s love of food and nature comes through in abundance. And the recipes are the perfect mix of gourmet and achievable. I came away ready to try a bunch of the recipes and inspired to do the outdoor movie night idea with my kids.

    I would still like to enter the contest so I have a copy to give to a friend! My picnic memory is that a couple years ago my husband, young son, and I got Jason’s Deli sandwiches and had lunch in a local park for my birthday. I had just quit my job, so being outside in the middle of the work day with my guys felt so freeing.

  • I grew up next to the Mississippi River and there’s a public park that sits up on a bluff overlooking the river. I remember going there on several occasions as a family, sharing a meal together and having tons of space to run around barefoot on soft grass under a sunny blue sky.

  • Last year, my husband and I were lucky enough to have a picnic next to the Grand Canal in Versailles. It was so fun and beautiful, and it’s an afternoon I’ll never forget.

  • Every summer in they play movies outdoors at the Santa Barbara Courthouse which is BEAUTIFUL. We always bring wine, cheese, fruit & other snacks and eat under the stars.

  • I would love to get a copy of this. My family and I picnic quite often, even in the winter. Each year in early December, we pack a picnic and head to the North Carolina mountains to pick out and cut our Christmas tree. We either find a roadside picnic table or we picnic out of the back of our truck. My daughter, Sadie- who is now 15, still gets excited about this family tradition.

  • Favorite picnic: my bestie inviting folks over for an early summer picnic in her backyard and surprising us with a bounce house.

  • I hope to one day actually go on a picnic. It seems so daunting with the amount of thought and work that needs to be put into it.

  • Last Spring, our first with our son, we had a picnic under the cherry blossoms and as the flower petals fell from the trees it felt like a fairy tale come true. Spending slow days outside and enjoying our time together is something I am making a staple in our lives.

  • My favorite and only picnic experience took place in my home city of Washington, DC. We have a weekly summer event called “Jazz in the Garden.” My friends and I listened to beautiful, energetic, live jazz in the gorgeous National Gallery sculpture garden. We bought a pitcher of sangria, ate tea sandwiches, and fresh veggies. We sat on our blanket, talking and laughing until dark.

  • I am the world’s worst picnicker, being an inveterate city girl who hates bugs and getting sticky and having her napkin fly away. Past picnics have included diaper blowouts in the middle of a huge park with no bathrooms in sight and salami that tasted distinctly … off. And yet, I live in hope each summer that this is the year I become a picnicking champ – who knows? Despite the shortcomings of picnics past, there is something so alluring about the idea of a picnic gone right (and my kids love it so much) that I keep trying. Maybe Ashley’s book is the secret key I’ve been waiting for!

  • One of my favorite picnic memories is being on a trip to Italy with my then fiancee. It was a hot day to travel, and after a stop at a not so nice looking side-of-the-freeway reststop, we decided to take the exit to the next small town, find a grocery store (before smart phones) and just picnic at the road side. We bought delicious hard salami and pecorino cheese, some fresh fruit and other goodies. Since we did not want to get too lost, we found a spot behind an industrial building in the shade under a big tree on the way back to the freeway and had a very enjoyable, romantic picnic.

  • On the south west corner of Toronto Island is a little strip of beach that is like paradise a 10 minute ferry ride from downtown. We take our bikes and some baguettes, cheese and antipastos and enjoy a getaway without the long commute to the cottage. Sitting on a blanket eating well with only the lake to see… blissful.

  • My favorite picnic is when my boyfriend and I went on one of our first dates…all was well, food was delicious, setting was romantic, until an entire 5th grade class trip came stumbling through!

  • A favorite picnic moment? Hard to pick just one, but I’ll tell you about a recent unusual one. My husband (of 20 years) came to my hospital room this past January on the morning after I had an emergency hysterectomy. I had been on a clear liquid diet for 24 hours, and was in need of sustenance. He brought a thermos full of coffee from my favorite local shop, along with fresh cream and some decadent wheat-free brownies that a friend had dropped off. While it wasn’t a traditional picnic, it was the best one because it was unexpected and delightfully thoughtful.

  • I live one state over from my family, and last September, my wife and I drove down to surprise my sister for her 9th birthday. It wasn’t the most traditional picnic, but we had cupcakes and seltzer in the backyard, and one of the best impromptu family gatherings in recent memory.

  • One of my favorite picnics happened last month, rather by chance, as my family and I set off on a “scenic hike” but ended up on top of John’s Rock in Brevard! What a breathtaking view to see as we walked out of the tree line, which was rather short lived as the thought of my excited 3 year old son running to explore the edge popped into my head. Thankfully his mom and I have ninja speed parent reflexes, so we settled down at the top of John’s Rock to take in the scenic view of the valley. We watched other through hikers come and go after snapping selfies, while we took in the beauty of Looking Glass Rock while passing around our veggie sticks with Roots hummus and gobbled up the delicious sandwiches our 8 year old daughter prepared for us when she learned we were going for a hike ;)

  • My favorite picnic moment was when I hiked at Vasquez Rocks in California and we made grilled cheese sandwiches with persimmons, a surprisingly good flavor combo!

  • I dream of having my next picnic on the Oregon Coast. I want to pack some delicious Wild Roots pear vodka to sip, grilled lamb and fig kabobs on rosemary skewers, fresh baked bread, and some butter and homemade sour cherry jam. I’m going to lay out a blanket on a comfy, rocky cove and breath in the sea and sip the pear flavors and kiss my man and be grateful for all that the universe has provided for me. Hello picnic 2018!

  • Does eating Ben and Jerry’s at midnight in a cemetery count as a picnic? My now-husband and I used to do this all the time when we were a brand new couple. Now it’s baguettes, tomatoes, basil, mozz, avocado, and prosciutto plus potato chips with the kids out in the woods somewhere.

  • Does eating Ben and Jerry’s at midnight in a cemetery count as a picnic? My now-husband and I used to do this all the time when we were a brand new couple. Now it’s baguettes, tomatoes, basil, mozz, avocado, and prosciutto plus potato chips with the kids out in the woods somewhere.

  • For my mom’s birthday one year, my father had the idea of having a surprise picnic for my mom. We took her to a park nearby without telling her what for, and had fruit, a french baguette, blue cheese, and pate. He picked those things because he wanted to remind her of a trip we took to Paris a few years earlier.

  • I absolutely adore picnics. This past April, my husband organized a birthday picnic for me in Austin’s Zilker Park. We had friends drop by for wine, cheese, snacks and chocolate. Unfortunately, the day was hot even by Texas spring standards, and our cheese and chocolate all began to sweat and melt – yuck! We were able to laugh it off and luckily the wine was chilled. My friends brought their babes and their dogs and we still had a great time. Would love a cookbook filled with recipes that may hold up a little better on our next outing!

  • I am not a great chef, but I’m learning to cook. I would love to be able to make a great picnic for my boyfriend when he comes to visit. I imagine driving down to my favorite park in Laguna Niguel and surprising him with a great home made meal… MADE BY ME, but in beautiful beautiful nature

  • We took my mother to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It was Memorial Day weekend just like today. We had ice blowing on one side of our hats but did enjoy the hot cocoa and chili. She thought we were out of our minds but the photos were splendid and when she passed away, treasured.

  • I didn’t grow up in a family that had a lot of leisure time, so picnics weren’t a big part of my childhood, but my partner and I now live near an arboretum and have been planning to gather friends for a weekly picnic under the trees all summer long. Ashley’s books are wonderful and I’m sure would help us to create many good memories!

  • I really have not had too many picnic memories growing up, but as my husband and I are starting our family it would be a lot of fun to have at least an annual family picnic if not many more! I remember one mother’s day our family went out, but unfortunately the weather was fairly cold and not very pleasant.

  • We had a big get-together with our friends and our pups at a local park and brought a great portable grill. We had burgers and played ladderball until the sun came down.

  • I had a picnic in Rittenhouse Park for my 21st birthday. I made a whole chicken and lugged it on the Philadelphia subway with real plates and glassware weighing down a really heavy basket. The handles eventually broke, but it was a fantastic party!

  • I would love to picnic at a quiet, tucked away beach in Lake Country, BC. The views of the rolling hills and serene lakes is quite something :)
    Thank you for this awesome giveaway!

  • A few years ago, whilst living in London, England, I packed some bread, cheese and a couple of bottles of cider into my bike basket and my husband and I cycled along the towpath next to the Thames. It was a beautiful day and we went farther than we had originally planned, cycling until we found a beautiful grassy spot right by the river near Teddington Lock where we could dangle our feet in the water and lie in the sunshine for a while before making our way home again.

  • We were gifted the best wedding gift- a straw picnic basket with leather straps & pink floral cotton lining. I keep looking for ways to use it other so it serves multiple functions.

  • I hope to have many more picnics one day, but when I think of ones I had there are two moments I always think of. The first was as a little kid when my parents would take us to the zoo concerts here in Portland. I loves getting to pack up a special dinner, see the animals, and be outside with the music.
    The second memory I have attached to picnics is from when I was a senior in high school. Some friends and I made a habit of getting bread, cheese, & grapes from the local grocery store along with some iced tea (we were under 21) and sit on the high school football field at night enjoying each others’ company.

  • My family recently stared a tradition of Saturday night picnics. It’s a great way for us to get outside and explore. Most recently we went to a lake and it was such a nice way to spend an evening.

  • My favorite picnic happened last year about this time. My family spent two weeks in Italy and France, and the day my husband and I celebrated our two year anniversary also happened to be the day my mom had booked a sailing trip out of Portovenere. I don’t know if a beautiful Italian meal (on a boat) counts as a picnic, but having my whole family together was a wonderful way to commemorate the day we started our own.

  • We used to have picnics on Fridays and have different food “themes” each time! Some of my favorite childhood memories.

  • My favourite picnic was my first one with my daughter in our postage stamp of a backyard. We have no grass to speak of but we laid a colourfully striped picnic blanket in the dirt and leaves and opened our little containers of grapes and strawberries and babybels to eat together.

  • My husband and I have camped and picnicked for 35 years together. Four sons joined us for many years and now wives and 6 grandchildren join when they can. The best memories are created for us when sharing the great outdoors!

  • Ohhhhhh, what a BEAUTIFUL book!
    Favorite picnic memory… I was in college and woke EARLY one morning to the sound of rocks hitting my dorm window. I looked out and my (then) boyfriend was standing under my window (I was on the second floor) and held up a bag (okay, NOT a basket) with bagels and coffee. We drove about 20 minutes to a beautiful lake and laid down a blanket to sit on and another one to snuggle under. We drank coffee and watched the sun come up. Ah, it was quite lovely indeed.
    msred5 at gmail dot com

  • I love picnics so much, I’m having my baby shower in two weeks -picnic style! I love planning and preparing picnic foods… And when i lived in England, my friends loved my Victoria sponge cake at a picnic. My favorite memory is, i invited a newly married friend and his bride for a picnic in Regents park (London), set everything up under a cherry blossom tree, then after some time, went for a walk, leaving the couple to themselves. When i came back to pack, my friend’s bride thanked me saying this was the most quality time she got to spend with her partner in a while. ☺

  • Picnic memories are fond. I am thinking about being with elders on warm summer days eating homegrown watermelon. I hope to enjoy many picnics with my two young boys in the years to come. Ashley has been a huge inspiration to our family. We have grown to love her canning and pie recipes. Just wen we think she cant possibly take it up another notch she does!

  • Picnic memories are fond. I am thinking about being with elders on warm summer days eating homegrown watermelon. I hope to enjoy many picnics with my two young boys in the years to come. Ashley has been a huge inspiration to our family. We have grown to love her canning and pie recipes. Just when we think she cant possibly take it up another notch she does!

  • I don’t think I’ve had nearly enough picnics in my life. My favorite ones were hanami picnics in Japan, where you can drink in public and enjoy the cherry blossoms while having tasty foods (prepared by someone else, on a really lucky occasion). My husband hates picnics, so if I have this book, maybe he can be converted!

  • Memorable picnic would be more of a park snack because my toddlers and I just had cookies and iced tea at the neighborhood playground but we had our finest kiddie china tea set. Coincidentally we’re planning a coworkers picnic/potluck at the beach this weekend.

  • I’ve always loved picnics. Some of my fondest memories are of my sisters & I packing our little plastic picnic baskets and heading for the big tree at the the edge of the field at my grandparents farm. Today, my husband & I enjoy taking in as many Sunday afternoon picnics as we can!

  • My first picnic with my daughter when she was 2 and we just had snacks on a blanket in the living room because it was December.

  • Picnics are one of my favorite parts of the summer! My favorite picnic memory might have been grabbing a baguette and brie and eating it next to the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris.

  • My favourite picnic memory is spending the morning preparing food with my partner for a romantic picnic together that afternoon. We’d just moved in together and everything felt new and exciting. We made potato salad and an apple tea cake and took them across town to a big, beautiful park full of rose gardens. Ten years on and we’re still enjoying our picnics together.

  • A picnic lunch at Storm King art center with friends about ten years ago. We had yummy food. the picnic area to ourselves, and great conversation among friends. We didn’t want to get up from the picnic table to go see the art which was the actual purpose of our trip. I still remember it as one of those “perfect days.”

  • My mom was a single mom who worked exceptionally hard to give us a totally full childhood so that my sister and I never felt hard done by. Living in Canada, we spent our winters skiing, which is a rather expensive activity with equipment and gear. To make skiing more affordable, my mom packed a picnic lunch for the three of us for every single ski day. Whatever odds and sods in our fridge ended up being brought for our ski lunches. At the time, I sometimes was jealous of the kids who got to buy burger and fries, but looking back, I wouldn’t trade those ski picnics for anything. I’m now pregnant with my first and can’t wait to share the joy of winter picnics (and year round too, but especially winter!) with my little one.

  • My favorite memory was from 2010. We were at the beach for the day and I had packed our usual beach day picnic. I was walking the beach and gathering shells and lad left my husband behind at our cozy spot reading his book. A little boy walked up to my husband and asked him if he lived on the beach. I guess I tend to over pack and bring everything one could possible need for a comfortable day out. My husband said maybe next time we only need one table….

  • When my daughter was around 1.5 years old, a friend and I got Indian take out and brought it to a park nearby. And that’s where we discovered how obsessed my daughter can be with masala and naan! To this day when we can’t decide what to eat, Indian food is our fall back because her little brother now loves it as much as she does!

  • Before my partner and I started dating we’d go to free concerts downtown with our group of friends, packing a picnic to enjoy while we watched the show. He met me at my house beforehand and we would bike down together. He offered to put the haul into his paniers, even though I knew it was far too heavy and awkward for him. I had made a massive mason jar of sangria, grabbed whatever bread and cheese was loitering in the fridge and about a dozen cookies from the bakery I worked at, that were deemed ‘too flat.” As we enjoyed the concert, chatted with our friends, I remember the delightful tingle of daring to scoot closer on the grass towards him, wanting to talk the entire time but not seem too eager or interrupt the music and all the things that make girls giddy when they’re smitten. It didn’t hurt that we laid down to admire the fuscia sunset. Shortly after tat particular picnic we officially started dating and are still enjoying free music and picnics.

  • My mom used to make picnics for my brother and I in our granny’s back yard in Florida underneath a thick palm tree that had fallen in a storm but continued to grow across the ground, providing a seat on its horizontal trunk and a shady spot underneath its fronds. Red zinger tea and raw veggies dipped in cream cheese were always on the menu. She went to the ends of the earth to entertain us, especially since we had no money, those afternoons are some of my clearest memories growing up at my granny’s house, decades later, I can almost reach it when I close my eyes. The palm tree is gone now but I wonder if the people who bought our house have ever picnicked there?

  • I have a picture of my daughter, then 1, pulling off my glasses while we were lying on the picnic blanket and I’m laughing so hard!

  • I only had my first picnic just last week! We recently moved to the Bay area and have a 2 year old and a 14 week old so starting to appreciate the art of slowing down and enjoying life. We went to our local street market and bought all sorts of pastries to accompany the baby’s milk and went to a park. I put all the food in the diaper bag (lol) and by the end of the picnic, was seriously considering buying a real picnic basket. The inspiration has begun! 👶

  • Every summer we love riding our bikes down to the beach with a beautiful picnic spread. Salad, charcuterie, fresh bread with balsamic and olive oil all while drinking in the sunset.

  • I am planning a picnic for all the friends, family, and neighbors who have helped me through a dark winter.

  • When my kids were little I would stop by a restaurant and pick up some fried chicken and sides, put it in a picnic basket and go to the park. I would bring a home made dessert and drinks and the blanket. It was so much fun and easy to do.

  • Every year I try to picnic at Lake on the Mountain with my soon-to-be husband. We spend the day going to wineries in Prince Edward County and cap it off with a charcuterie-and-cheese light dinner. It always becomes a favourite memory.

  • Years ago, a group of my friends (including my now husband) got to Central Park very early to make sure we had a good spot for the Opera in the Park. It was a beautiful day. We sat for hours so proud of our fore-thought and our primo position near the stage. We had food. We had drink. What we didn’t realize though, and began to be clear as the crowds were filling in, was that our spot was on a main thoroughfare– and the feet going by us, stepping across our blanket, was incessant, to the point where we couldn’t take it anymore–and we left! Sometimes funny memories are not of perfect times, but otherwise. And it has stuck in the mind and brings us a good laugh whenever we recall it.

  • As a city girl, I love picnics at movies or music in parks! This was one of my favorite ways to explore my city when I lived in Baltimore, a city with TONS of free music and movies in the cities many beautiful parks. I’m very excited to get reacquainted with the offerings in my favorite city and hometown of Minneapolis this summer!

  • The environmental studies students at Franconia College (which closed in 1978) built a small geodesic dome that sat over a small running creek. There was a hole in the center of the floor where you could sit and dangle your legs. I spent a summer up at the college between semesters and managed to find this nearly forgotten dome and had the most delightful picnic lunch with two other friends. The summer New Hampshire weather was perfect. The water was literally gurgling softly. and sunlight dappled through the leafy trees. It couldn’t have been more idyllic.

  • A most cherished memory was when our son thought we should have a family picnic. He planned the whole thing. Location: his favorite park. Picnic basket filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, apples and brownies for the whole family. It turned out o be a great time.

  • I have fond memories of picnic dinners with my family at Mingo Creek. My mom would pack her oven fried chicken (best ever), potato salad (also best ever), and homemade lemonade. Complete with red checkered tablecloth. My boys would fish and my mom and I would make daisy and dandelion headbands. The innocence of a simple picnic is a magical thing.

  • My wife and I just bought our first house this year, and for six months we didn’t have any furniture. On nights when I got frustrated that we didn’t have anywhere to sit, my wife would spread out a blanket on the floor and set up an indoor picnic.

    It was a hard couple of months, but we’re so proud of the little house that we worked for years to be able to buy (and are now slowly filling with really lovely furniture). Next up is clearing the vines and weeds out of the backyard, so we can have honest-to-goodness outdoor picnics.

  • I remember my first picnic that I made for a boyfriend and it was fried chicken, potato salad and brownies. :)

  • After a very hard summer in Boston, a friend and I road-tripped to Portland, Maine. We took a ferry to a harbor island, rented bikes, and picked up picnic things at a little deli — simple hoagies and sodas and salt and vinegar chips. We biked along the coast, which was so beautiful it was practically surreal. One of those perfect days. (Next time, would love to bring our own picnic.)

  • Can’t wait to check out the new book! I’d love to plan a special picnic in the woods under a canopy of beautiful redwood trees surrounded by ferns.

  • Some of my best picnics were impromptu. Stopping at a boulangerie in Normandy, getting a sandwich of local ham and local butter on fresh-made baguettes. Throwing last night’s leftovers into the back of the car on our way to visit Canterbury Cathedral. I’m still thinking about that ham sandwich. Best ham, best butter, best baguette. And a can of Diet Coke. OK, it was France, but we were driving.

  • As in many parts of our great country, we here in North Idaho, experience four wonderfully unique seasons of the year. Would love to read, create and “mangia bene” the picnic specialties Ashley developed for her “A Year of Picnics”.

  • Hi!

    I love your website and am a huge Ashley English fan!

    My favorite picnic memory would have to be the time my family and I stopped at a little grocery store on a long trip home from somewhere, and grabbed the picnic essentials. We drove a little bit until we found a lovely tree next to a field of cows, needless to say I didn’t eat very much because I had so much fun feeding the cows!

  • I’m planning the perfect picnic in a grassy knoll by the lake, with wonderful tea cakes and lemonade. We will play fetch with our dog and watch the sun makes it’s way down the sky.

  • Every summer my mom would plan a vacation to Laguna Beach, CA for just the two of us. We’d take a picnic dinner to Ehler’s Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where the beautiful plants and grassy areas would overlook the beaches and surf spots at the bottom of dramatic cliffs. The park faced true West and had the most amazing sunsets. We’d find a cozy spot with a view and enjoy our dinner as the sun went down. We took these vacations every year from when I was a little kid through high school. They are very special memories for me.

  • I was a second semester senior in high school about to start an intense weekend of studying for finals. Two friends, who realized what folly that idea was, showed up at my door and dragged me out of the house for a picnic up in the foothills. We rode our bikes and hiked, then planted ourselves on a trail amidst buzzing bees. Our picnic was simple: a baguette from a local bakery, a small jar of Nutella, grapes. It was an outdoor meal we had shared before – I remember we felt ourselves somewhat sophisticated (!) for our choice of food.

  • My favorite picnic memory was driving up to Brainard Lake near Boulder, Co to treat my husband’s brother to a breakfast cooked over a wood fire. We forgot about the time and had to race down the mountain to get him his plane. We barely made it and it still makes for a good story and a great memory.

  • My husband and I have a picnic club- all summer long we eat dinner at a park on Friday nights. Best nights of the summer. We pick a theme, pack a picnic and a bottle of rose. One of my favorite nights included a homemade caprese tart!

  • My favorite picnic memory is of a forth of July spend with my Grandmother camping, just her and I. We camped in pacific northwest right on a beach, wandered around a small coastal town, watched fireworks and had picnics on the beach all weekend, it was bliss!

  • on the board of the loire river, during a kayaking trip, where we were able to meet up with the supply van, the food, and our friend, who had an accident, that left both of her legs burnt and prevented her to join us on the river …

  • A beloved friend and I had a picnic at the seaside yesterday. We set up our blanket and unpacked all the treats from the big basket, then tucked in happily as sea gulls wandered nearby, eyeing our sandwiches. We hadn’t reckoned on the tide, though, and moments later had to pull the whole kit and kaboodle – glasses and olives and thermos and plates – clear up the beach to escape a drenching! In many ways, that rush to rescue our picnic is what made it perfect. And why we will remember it, too!

  • Canoeing at the University of Washington and stopping to picnic on a grassy bank. It wasn’t long before the ducks found us all! Such a lovely, silly time to remember.

  • When our daughter was very young my husband and I took her on a little picnic by a pond near our house.

    Money was tight and my Mom had gifted us with a picnic basket and blanket.

    We sat there enjoying a serene moment as a family nibbling on homemade food and enjoying the gorgeous light of the evening golden hour.

    Picnics prove that you don’t have to have a lot of money to have priceless memories.

  • Would love to take a fried chicken, potato salad, quick pickles, wine, and hand pies to Point Reyes with my sweetheart. He almost proposed here.. but it was so windy he changed his mind until the next day. 15 years later still loving him.

  • When my husband and I started dating we would often take walks down by the river near us. On day he surprised me with all the fixings for a picnic. He’s not very romantic so this was a total surprise and I fell in love with him more that day. I don’t remember what we ate, but I will always remember that day and how much love I felt from him.

  • My children and I loved picnics. We didn’t have to leave the house to enjoy them and often spread out a blanket in the backyard. W e’d make our favorite foods then stare at the clouds afterwards.

  • My favourite picnic was when a group of us young girlfriends went to my uncle’s farm and tramped up to a random paddock with a beautiful view and looked out over the beautiful farmland with thermos of soup and crackers and cheese! And a tartan wool rug to sit on :)

  • My fave picnic was going to our towns annual fireworks with our youth group pals. We sat around with our little cutesy stuffed rolls, slapped together cheeseboards, fruit cups and loads of woolly rugs. But the best part was having my now hubby propose to me, in front of the fireworks and with all our pals. Sharing our engagement was super special.

  • Picnics are my absolute favorite! I try to keep a cooler and picnic basket in the car all spring and summer–you never know when an opportunity will present itself. Two memories resurfaced: when I first moved to the Washington, DC area, a picnic under the cherry blossoms (this has been repeated, but there’s only one first time!) And then later, when my children were small, we often had picnics on the grounds of the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral: so green, so peaceful, so lovely! I think it’s time to go back there!
    Thank you for the opportunity to win this lovely book and for bringing back happy memories!

  • Summer picnic in the front yard … simple as grabbing a picnic blanket and putting a sandwich on a paper plate … then, watching the butterflies go by!

  • My favorite picnic memories are all of quick stops on beautiful hikes. Finding the perfect secluded spot with a great view is half the fun of hiking when you have a pack full of tasty cheeses, crackers and fruit!

  • My three-year-old granddaughter loves picnics, tea parties and princesses. How fun it is to picnic with her at the park while she collects rocks and sticks, looks for bugs, and enjoys the lovely spring weather.

  • I remember picnics at the park near the beach with my mother and father when I was really tiny. I’m sure the food was great, my mom’s food was delicious, but what I remember most was the blanket, a bright red plaid on one side and a super-cool leopard print on the other — which was, of course, the side I wanted to use. Now I have that soft and well-worn blanket, and I’d love to take it on a beach picnic with my little twin nephew and niece.

  • Best picnic was with my youngest child in the back of the car on a freezing cold and windy day at the park. Too cold to go out, but fun in the car!

  • I remember the first time I went on a picnic with my husband. Fried chicken, lemonade and potato salad with lots of smiles.

  • My favorite picnic moment happened one sunny day this May, where we rounded up some leftovers from the fridge and had dinner at a fabulous outdoor playground about a 20 min drive from home with our two little kids. What made this one special was not only that it was the first one of the year but it was our first picnic since our 4 year old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in Feb of 2017. We carb counted the picnic at home and did all the other diabetes tasks on the grass at the park and everyone was happy. Love a good picnic and not going to let a T1D diagnosis put a damper on that!!!

  • My friends and I picnic’d at a Shakespeare by the Sea event in Florida. Our wine, cheeses, and dinner were delicious and it was a great night and a perfect performance of Halmet.

  • We had cooler chests packed with fresh steamed lobster, littleneck clams and corn on the cob to take out on the docks in Provincetown, MA. Sitting and watching the buttery sun set over the boats with our bellies full of the sea was heavenly and so peaceful.

  • I was given a picnic basket full of cheese, crackers, and spreads as a gift a few months ago. I’m waiting for blue skies to use it! Congrats to Ashely on the book. Can’t wait to read it.

  • We took a picnic with us (me, my boyfriend and his two sons who live with us full-time) to a concert at the Oregon Zoo. Trying to find a concert we’d all enjoy was chancy but I went with “Weird Al” Yankovic and it was perfect! We had such a lovely picnic before the show and the boys got to act all grown up even though one of my favorite things about picnics is their laid-back feel. Luckily, Weird Al covers newer songs as well so we could all enjoy and I got a trip down memory lane with songs from my childhood. It was a lovely bonding experience and now that they’re 14 & 16, it’s laid a great foundation for our relationship.

  • When I was a kid in the 70’s our cool, creative babysitter set up a picnic on the living/dining room floor of our apartment. I’ve had lovely picnics in many outdoor settings but this childhood memory sticks with me. I hope I’ve done some fun things that my babysitting charges will remember fondly, as well.

  • We surprised our friend in england with a picnic at the little pond at Hanley Swan. Ducks came over to see what we had on offer. A vegan spread of green salad, cold pasta dish, hummus roll ups, cheeses, and homemade apple blackberry crisp.

  • My favorite memories of picnicking are a blur of packing up a cooler and heading to Ft. McHenry in Maryland with my parents and 3 other siblings. We’d bring frisbees and balls to play with, and stroll along the water when we were tired from running around. I haven’t picnicked in a long time, but I hope to change that soon!

  • My husband and I love to picnic in our local park and watch the kids running around! We always have ham sandwiches and a thermos of wine, perfect for sharing on a park bench.

  • My best picnic – we went up to a reservoir to hike with some friends and brought homemade bread and homemade pickles and fresh cheese. It was simple and so tasty and perfect for that fall day by a lake.

  • My favorite picnic moment is all the ones I shared with my parents growing up. They all blend together, but they all had similar things in common. For instance there was always a band playing. Lots of the small towns in the suburbs of Atlanta have summer nights were a coverband comes to play. We always had a blanket to spread out as well as a couple of lawn chairs. The camping chairs of today are much more comfortable than the metal and nylon chairs of the 80s. The last thing that all these picnics had in common was fried chicken. Sadly the chicken was never home made, but the sides always were. The chicken would come from Mrs. Winners because that was my moms fave. We would always have those tasty biscuits with it. Sides that my mom would fix would often be potato salad and some sort of fresh fruit salad because you have to have some “health food” to mix with the fried food. When I think of picnics I think of hot summers, background music, and fried chicken.

  • My favorite picnic memories are with my husband… before children. We would drive out of the city, through suburbia, and into the country and find random roads to get lost on. We always packed a picnic and enjoyed it together in the middle of nowhere. I look forward to the days when we’ll have this great time together again … until then, we’re introducing our toddler to the fine art of picnicking.

  • The first picnic I had with my husband, sitting on the rock wall in Kennebunkport, drinking wine, eating bred and cheese, and watching life go by.

  • My favorite picnic memory is from going to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC about 10 years ago when our son was just a toddler. It was such a beautiful day and one of those moments when everything was OK and I realize how lucky I was. <3

  • I come from a lineage of “picnicers”. Though raised in the military and moving every 2 years, I usually got to see my grandparents every summer or so. One of my grandmother’s favorites was to go to the lake on a Sunday afternoon and have a picnic. She was English so we had cold pasties or sandwiches and vinegar and cucumber salads. An old quilt and a tartan thermos of coffee for the adults and lemonade for us kids. We would swim, laugh, read and snooze.
    My mom carried on this tradition, weather rain or shine.
    I recently found an old family picture from the late 1800s, in it beautifully hatted ladies and dapper gentlemen picnicing. My ancestors- it’s in the blood!

  • That would be burritos in Dolores Park in San Francisco – introducing my new husband to the place I’d do ilicit substances as a teenager, looking out over my beautiful city homeland!

  • my best friend has a collection of antique picnic baskets – one of my summer bucket list items is to spend a day by the Atlantic Ocean together on a blanket. It’s been a tough year and I’d like to celebrate the good things. There’s a reason why Nova Scotia is called Canada’s Ocean Playground … we live for sunny days and salt air. xomeg

  • My favorite memory is my husband and I going down to Belle Isle , Detroit’s large Island Park situated between Detroit and Canada on the Detroit river! It’s a lovely place to go, sit under some willow trees and have a picnic with some wine on a nice summer day.

  • When my son was 2 months old, we went out for his first picnic. He was lying down on my husband’s lap, his eyes glued to our faces munching sandwiches. It was so difficult to get out of the house when he was that small. But the weather was perfect, and he was content.

  • I have two favorite picnics. The first one being the one my boyfriend prepared the first time he ever came to visit me (we use to live 3h away from each other). We had met once prior to that and it was such a great picnic with food so beautifuly curated.
    The second, is one my sister and I had while visiting Boston. We were suppose to go a concert but it was so hot outside, we decided to eat in the Public Garden and ride the Swan Boats. A really precious memory.

  • When my husband and I were dating and we were cash-poor university students, we used to go to the grocery store (Thrifty Foods!) and buy tortellini salad, bread, and chocolate milk. We would take our picnic to eat by the water in various locations around Victoria, BC, where Owen went to school. The Waterfront, Dallas Road, Beach Drive… It wasn’t fancy, but the views were AMAZING. And it was on one of those picnics, at Witty’s Beach, where he asked me to marry him. Such great picnic memories!

  • One particular picnic stands out in my memory. My partner and I hiked one of our favorite peaks, popped open a bottle of champagne and shared cheese and bread at the top.

  • On a first date wih my husband, he made a picnic lunch of egg salad sandwhiches and eclaires to be eaten by the Charles River. His apartment on beacon Hill had no stove and he wasn’t a cook, but I was delieiously happy anyway.

  • Best picnics are with friends and kids… got to have kids for the “joy and fun” of being outdoors and eating hand-foods and ice cream.

  • My husband and I had our first baby 14 months ago and have decided that we are completely over due for some “us” time. We immediately started saving and decided to book a trip to Paris (neither of us have ever been!) My perfect picnic would be spent with my husband in Paris in a not so crowded park where we can soak up the sun, hear ourselves think, and just relax! OH, and of course eat lots of cheese and bread!

  • My college friends and I packed up everything we needed for Afternoon Tea and then went to near by McClay Gardens to have a spring picnic. McClay has several different styles of gardens, but if you know the place as well as my friends and I do, you know that there is a secret garden tucked away among the gardenias a camillas. We spread our blankets in this natural cathedral, raised our pinkies high and indulged in the wonder that is homemade clotted cream and fruity scones.

    Someday I want to throw an over the top, Midsummer Night’s Dream themed evening picnic, complete with thousands of fairy lights, light summery dresses and flower crowns for everyone.

  • Picnics are truly one of my favorite things. I always have a couple blankets in the trunk of my car for spontaneous picnics by the beach or in a new park. My boyfriend and I also have something called picnic dinners when we don’t feel like cooking, which usually involve a loaf of bread, cheese, pickles and a lot of salami. As opposed to feeling like lazy grownups, giving it the name picnic dinners makes it feel playful and extra fun :)

  • I love a picnic in the Tallgrass prairie of Kansas when the wind is cool and the sun is warm. Even better is when the wildflowers are blooming. It’s easy to imagine what it was like when the grass spread across large swaths of the country and getting lost was easy.

  • My most favorite picnic was one that didn’t come easy. My boyfriend and I took a fall trip upstate and acquired many NY specialties like cider and gourmet cheeses. We decided on our way back to hike up Overlook Mtn in Woodstock with our goodies and set up shop on the top. Well let me tell you, that was NO easy hike. Of course he said it would take roughly 45 min, that quickly changed to 2 hrs going up an extremely steep mountain. Picture us with cider, basket, and walking sticks in hand and stopping every 15 just to catch our breathe. Hahaha I can laugh now, but back then I was secretly cursing him for misinforming me about the real struggle we had before us. But I digress…when we reached the top….breathtaking!!!! It was all worth it in that moment (like so many obstacles in life). We sat at the edge of the mtn and enjoyed our amazing cider w delicious cheese and crackers. That was by far the best picnic ever! 😁💕

  • Some of my favorite picnics are at Summer Music Festivals. It seems perfect that picnics and music go together so well for a laid back memorable evening. I would love to spend the summer traveling around the country going to see great music and testing out A Year of Picnics.

  • One of my favourite days to remember was having a picnic in the woods near my granny’s house. I was there, whith all my cousins and aunts, mother and granny, in the grass, collecting the most beautiful flowers, white bulbs that grew everywhere, laughing and running in the creek. It was a day that all those who where there remember and cherish, more now that my granny passed away and the marvellous place was long time ago neglected and is full of litter…

  • My favorite picnic memory was eating dinner waterside at the lake one lovely summer evening and watching a bald eagle fall from the sky, crash into the water, and re-emerge with a giant fish in it’s talons! It was truly unbelievable to watch!

  • My favorite picnic is yet to come. I’m looking forward to many picnics with our recently adopted 4-year-old daughter. :)

  • My favorite picnic was with my fiancee. We’d just gotten together, and a bunch of us went to the beach. We didn’t have a whole lot of food, and sand was everywhere. But it was such a perfect day.

  • We just had a lovely picnic this weekend! Easy food, beautiful weather … it was our little ones 1st picnic =) Looking forward to many more!

  • An impromptu picnic last summer is the first memory that comes to mind. On a bike ride with my boyfriend, we biked by fancy event with music, grabbed a few snacks and a drink and laid by the river and listened to their music! I’d love to plan a real picnic!

  • My favorite picnic memory occurred this year in the middle of May. It was near the end of finals week so it was a stressful time. But somehow my boyfriend and I managed to eke out some time to grab goat cheese, grapes, and a baguette (he has excellent taste in food). We then ate it in the garden situated in the middle of campus while enjoying the just arrived warm weather and sunny skies.

  • My favorite picnic was back in Turkey, two years ago. While we were hunting in villages for handmade kilim rugs, we found possibly the best view in the world. I am not sure how to spell it right but somewhere called mount olympus(?). I will never forget there and hopefully i will be back one day.

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