Where to find the best
places to spread out
| BY ELIZABETH JOHNSON
Theirs is the picnic I aspire to have every summer when
I pack my cooler, sling my table-in-a-bag over my shoulder
and head down the hill to the waterfront in Nyack, N. Y.,
where bands play in the gazebo that frames the view of the
Hudson River and the hills beyond.
There’s an old postcard yellowing in a plastic box
in my basement. The edges are creased and
rounded, and the postmark is fading.
On the front is an image of Pierre-Auguste
Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, the Impressionist
painting of a group of friends picnicking on a balcony after a
day on the Seine. On the back is a phrase my late father once
scribbled in haste: “Aren’t they having fun!”
Yes, Dad. They sure are.
Theirs is a magical picnic, one where all the cares of the
world are forgotten—at least for the time being.
Picnicking “takes people back to a simple way of life when
nothing else mattered but the current moment,” says Jennifer
Breaux Blosser, an owner of Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, Va., where picnickers take a bottle and a basket and
head for Cherry Park Hill to dine alongside her merlot vines.
“They’re enjoying nature and it’s nice outside—it’s relaxing
and it takes us away from the stress of our jobs.” At right: Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s (1841-1919),
That must be why about this time each year, I dust off Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-1881.
the old Bambi comforter that used to cover my childhood Oil on canvas. Acquired in 1923. The Phillips
bunk bed and fold it next to that cooler and table. With each
picnic, I’m heading back to a simpler time.