Warmer days are descending upon us, which means everyone’s itching with excitement (or allergies) to get outside and savor the sun. This winter was exceptionally frigid, so in thinking of ways to finally enjoy some well-deserved fresh air, my favorite option of all is a beach picnic.  

“Picnic” is a rather broad term, as this type of event can happen in a million different ways. It’s a great activity to throw together accompanied by sweats, friends and a box of pizza. However, I believe that there are a few salient elements to transform any regular gathering at the Sasco or Penfield Beach into a sophisticated picnic soirée.  

The process of planning a picnic is arguably the most exciting part. Once I’m in the mood for one, I usually start by sending a mass text to my friends and more importantly, creating a playlist. Spotify has pre-made picnic playlists for your convenience, but I recommend creating one that all of your friends can add to. Start with one song and ask your friends to remain in the genre, but add songs of their choosing. This system creates a cohesive mix of music while you’re enjoying your time outside, while also adding a fun challenge.

Since music is a necessity, it’s implied that a speaker should be on the list of the accessories you bring with you. Additionally, in this list should be a camera of any sort.  An exciting way to document the event is with a disposable camera from CVS, and since the film takes about a week to develop, you can relive the picnic even after it’s over. 

Next, should be a cute basket or bag to transport all of your picnic items to and fro. Etsy has great straw baskets and beach bags made from small businesses. The last three accessories should be a pair of sunglasses, fun glasses/straws for your drinks and some sort of craft if you’re in need of an activity. Small canvases and cheap paint from Michael’s are sometimes all you need to stay occupied for hours while painting the picnic scene you so gracefully put together.  

Moving on to what is, in my opinion, the most crucial element for a perfect picnic, let’s talk about food. Fortunately, Fairfield is home to a few quick and easy take-out restaurants. Even so, if the desire to bring your own food is exceptionally overwhelming that day, I recommend going to Balducci’s in Westport to grab Italian pastries, and all the fixings to make the most impressive charcuterie board your friends have ever seen.  

Lastly, beverages. While it is sometimes forgotten after the food is chosen, it must be well thought out. Assuming it’s a warmer day, it is crucial to bring something light and refreshing. Since a picnic is a refreshment of the soul, the drink of choice should embody that. Let’s also remember that this event meets all the qualifications of a “special occasion,” so you deserve to treat yourself to a beverage you adore. For me, this would be an Arnold Palmer or a bottle of Coca-Cola. If you’re of age, Rosé or a fruity cocktail is more than ideal for commemorating the newfound warm weather.  

Although this long list of items and tasks may seem daunting, the most critical part of a picnic is savoring the moment. Use these tips to revamp your prior conception of a picnic, and take advantage of the last few weeks at school surrounded by friends, good food, drinks and the surprisingly serene Long Island Sound.  

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