Have a Family Picnic This Labor Day Weekend
September 1, 2012Posted by pamela |
It’s Labor Day Weekend, that final chance to enjoy summer vacation (even though many kids in Marin are back in school already). While a backyard barbeque is a Labor Day tradition, why not plan a picnic with friends and family? It's fun, you don't have to clean up the house either before or after, and there are plenty of awesome picnic spots in Marin and the North Bay. (This weekend's weather is supposed to be fantastic, too.)
Here are a few tips for planning a picnic:
- Have every family bring a different dish, but still don't forget to pack plenty of food and drink. It’s always better to have more than less!
- Make a checklist for all the things you’ll need to bring, like folding chairs, picnic blankets, games, food, drink, etc.
- Plenty of active games and outdoor toys will keep the kids occupied while the grownups relax.
- Get to your picnic spot early to find a good place, especially on a holiday weekend. I always look for a spot with a little bit of shade and some sun, too, that won’t be in total shade later on the day.
- Bring a vinyl tablecloth or two to cover old picnic tables (we keep one in the back of the car for just that purpose). They really transform a dirty and beat-up public picnic table into something a lot nicer.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen, and lots of water, especially for the kids.
- Bring a board game or cards for those interested in quieter activities.
There's no shortage of fantastic places to have a picnic in the North Bay. Some of our favorites include:
- Chicken Ranch or Heart's Desire beaches near Inverness in West Marin. McNear's Beach in San Rafael is always a hit with my family and friends too.
- The Sonoma Plaza or a family-friendly Sonoma winery like Cline Cellars.
- The Cheese Factory (AKA the Marin French Cheese Company) west of Novato.
- The Bear Valley Visitor Center in Point Reyes National Seashore. Stop by the Cowgirl Creamery in downtown Pt. Reyes to pick up some award winning chesses and fresh sourdough bread.
One of my family’s picnic favorites is fried chicken tenders. They’re easy to make, a delicious hot or cold, and are a great finger food with dips like ranch dressing.
Take chicken tenders and soak them in buttermilk for 30 minutes, then dip in flour seasoned with salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and dried herbs like thyme or oregano, then cook over medium heat in ½ inch of canola oil until brown and crispy (about 8 to 10 minutes).