Do you want to hear the dumbest thing that you've ever heard?
When I was a kid, I often proclaimed that having your birthday party at a park was a subpar choice. Or really any celebration for that matter.
^My view from a Saturday picnic at Baker Beach back in 2015
Ask my sister - whenever we would pass a city park and witness streamers flowing in the air, a princess piñata dancing in the wind and a picnic table full of decadent goodies, I would make a joke about how lame that was. I mean - parks were free. Aren't birthdays supposed to note that you actually put forth some effort to do something for someone? Something that wasn't totally free? Man, I made a comment every single time I saw it.
I'm fairly certain that I was trying to be funny but I do believe that what lingered below those ridiculous comments was my complete lack of understanding of the value of the dollar (let alone the value in what is important). What my kid brain perceived as "less than" also stemmed from someone who had no bills, no income, no worries and a healthy dose of just starting to figure out what "rich" and "poor" may have meant. So I understand that you knew not what you were saying but little Caitlin - kindly take a big, 'ol seat on the time-out bench and come back when you're not such an idiot.
Because parks provide the best of the best. And I would be happy to have any celebration there until the end of time. Heck, I would even PAY to do so. But the beauty of it is that you generally don't have to. What a fabulous gift to give the members of any community. And guess what 11-year-old me? I know you are inundated with the cool kids in North Face jackets, post tropical vacation braided hair and Jack Purcells right now, but saving money actually is pretty cool. Imagine that? I'm telling you, it's the future.
Jay and I are at parks all the time, especially during the warmer months. During the hot Portland summers, we would often pack up our dinners in foil and tupperware and walk to the Fields Park to enjoy an al fresco dinner on a whim. We'd generally begin the venture with some fetch and some bare toes in the grass as we unpacked turkey burgers from their foil encasing and get caught up on our day. But it wouldn't be long before we immersed ourselves in books and quietly enjoyed the evening while the chatter of playing kids and tongue-baring dogs roamed about. Here in San Francisco, we are not starved for the same experience. On any given weekend day, you can find us noshing away at Crissy Field, Baker Beach, the Palace of Fine Arts or Golden Gate Park. Parks, and the picnics you haul to them, are simply the best way to pass the time. And here's a glance of things we generally have in tow:
Picnic essentials: Basket packed full of goodies and flatware ✮ fresh fruit ✮ plated yummies such as hummus platters, cheese, crackers & berries or vibrant salads ✮ napkins (with a kitschy design on top preferably) ✮ bottle opener ✮ a hat for sun protection ✮ an ice bucket to house your drink of choice - whether that's for pellegrino, vino, a spirit or cold beer ✮ a packable blanket ✮ sunglasses ✮ a good book ✮ your camera ✮ easy on and off shoes ✮ and most importantly, a game of some sort. Be it a baseball and mitts, a frisbee, a football - take advantage of your outdoor advantage and move around a little bit. That's always one of the highlights of my picnic time. You can even construct a happy hour game before you dive into your main course ✮
Do you take advantage of your parks?