My new favorite outing is to plan a “date night” with a close girlfriend or two, and meet at the beach for a sunset picnic. When trying to cram a month’s worth of catch-up time into a couple of hours, this has turned out to be a perfect solution.
The food and wine are better, no interrupting waiter, you’re outdoors enjoying a gorgeous view and there’s way more privacy than a crowded restaurant so you can dig right into the nitty gritty with the girls.
It feels like a mini-girls’ trip to the French Riviera, but I’m just down the road from home. If you don’t live near the beach, find a park or rose garden, call some girlfriends and make a plan for your own dame date.
Divvy up the list so someone brings the wine, the food and something sweet. Here are a few of my favorite picnic tips:
Even though I was gifted a gorgeous, china-filled picnic basket, I always find it easier to load up one of my oversized beach bags with all my goods. When planning your menu, try to stick with finger foods; it keeps things easy and lightens your load not having to haul silverware or plates.
A beautiful tablecloth instantly sets the mood. If it’s a bit windy at the beach, I’ll hold down the cloth by covering the corners with sand- but just on the corners!
Roll cloth napkins around sturdy wine glasses. Even though it always feels a tad extravagant to drink wine on a picnic with real wine glasses, you can find great ones at Cost Plus that only cost a few dollars.
Votives fitted with battery-operated candles won’t blow out with the wind, and it creates a nice ambiance when the sun goes down. Plus, they come in handy when you are trying to pack up at the end of the evening.
A fresh batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies is delicious and a welcomed gluten-free treat. It’s great to seal the cookies in a Mason jar fitted with a lid so they don’t get crushed in transit.
Of course, don’t forget to tuck the wine opener into your bag! A bottle of light bodied French red wine, like a Beaujolais Cru, is just right for dinner at the beach. You can chill it a bit before you leave and it will be the perfect temperature by the time you arrive at your location.