I don’t know about you, but about this time of year, I am ready for summer.
Although I live in Little Rock, Arkansas (where the winter weather is usually mild), we’ve had our share of winter weather (ice, rain—even a little snow!).
I’m ready for flowers to bloom, leaves on the trees, stepping outside and feeling the warm sun on my skin, wearing shorts and sundresses.
Do you feel the same way?
What’s my other favorite part of summer? Spending time outside, whether it’s a family vacation, a barbecue with my kids and neighbors in our cul-de-sac, or a date with my husband.
There is nothing more romantic than a summer picnic with the man I love. Maybe you feel the same?
One way to get past the winter blahs is to start planning for a summer picnic . . . today!
Even though the cold wind still blows outside, you can start planning the perfect summer getaway. Spend time with your spouse considering the perfect spot to get away.
Do you like the ocean or the mountains? Would you rather stretch out a blanket on a mountain meadow or on the sand?
Do you want to be in a locale where there’s lots of restaurants and shops to explore, or do you want to be in a small quaint town?
Dreaming about where you’d like to go is something you can do together. Dreaming is almost as fun as going—especially when you do it together. Take a little time this week to dream about where you’d like to go, then compare lists!
Consider these four locations as a starting point for finding your perfect picnic place!
Halstatt, Austria I traveled to Halstatt with my husband, John, in 2002. It’s a picturesque village of less than 1,000 people in Austria. Halstatt is known for its salt mines, dating back to prehistoric times. John and I stayed in an old hotel overlooking the town square, and during our first moments we were able to watch a local celebration. The town square is a beautiful place to have your picnic, or there are numerous other places overlooking the lake. And after the picnic is done? Here are our top three things to do there:
- Visit the salt caves. A wonderful gondola took us to the top of the mountain where we toured the caves. The tour was fantastic.
- Visit the Beinhaus (bone house). Visiting a bone house might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but John and I love exploring local culture. There are more than 1,200 skulls in the bone house, 600+ which have been painted with designs. Since the cemetery is so small, without the possibility of expansion, and since cremations used to be forbidden, 10-15 years after a person’s death the skull and larger bones were removed to make room for the next occupants.
- Museum Hallstatt. There are rooms filled with exhibits and information files in many languages, including English. The archeological displays were fascinating!
Crescent City, California Growing up, one of our favorite things to do was “go to the coast.” Crescent City was about four hours away from our northern Californian home. There are wonderful beaches in Crescent City, and it’s not as crowded as many other places. Spread out your blanket to watch local surfers—and the seals that try to outdo them. Things you don’t want to miss:
- The Redwoods. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State park is just one of the local places you can view these amazing redwood trees. There are wonderful hiking trails, and walking among the giants you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into another world.
- Battery Point Lighthouse. To reach this lighthouse you have to go at low tide. The lighthouse itself is small and homey—it looks like something from a movie. This lighthouse is staffed by volunteers who stay in the lighthouse a month at a time. They keep the place tidy and conduct tours with the help of docents.
- Beachfront Park. I have photos of myself playing here as a child. You can go from running in the grass to running on the beach in only a few steps. It’s a great place to collect sea shells!
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Lake Siskiyou, California Lake Siskiyou is located in Mount Shasta, California, and I grew up just ten miles away. The best time to visit is for the 4th of July celebrate and parade in the town of Mt. Shasta. After the parade, go to the lake early to make sure you have a spot, because the beach gets crowded. The water from the lake is crystal clear, and the view of Mt. Shasta can’t be beat! Other local places to visit:
- Castle Crags State Park. The jagged peaks indeed look like a castle. There are 28 miles of hiking trails in a still wilderness area, not far from Lake Siskiyou.
- Mt. Shasta City Park. Visit the city park and there you’ll find the headwaters to the Sacramento river. Mountain snow gushes from the ground and drops off small ledges. The park is a great place to run around and play like a kid.
- McCloud Falls. The nearby town of McCloud hosts the Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Lower Falls of the McCloud River. The road takes you to the Lower Falls and there you can climb up to the Middle and Upper Falls where you’ll also see a lovely view of Mount Shasta.
Glacier Park, Montana I lived near Glacier Park for fifteen years, and even though I’ve traveled the world there was nothing more amazing that visiting this national park. Top three places you won’t want to miss:
- Going-to-the-Sun-Road. I’ve driven this road dozens and dozens of times, and each time I’m awed by the beauty. It opens around June 21 . . . because it takes so long to clear the snow off these high mountain peaks! The road travels into the high mountains and has expansive vistas that will take your breath away. At the top is a visitor center where it’s common to be greeted by rams and mountain goats!
- Lake McDonald Lodge. This beautiful mountain lodge is one of the finest Swiss Chalet hotels in the United States. The front of the hotel actually faces the lake because steamboats used to bring tourists over the water before the roads were built. Inside the lodge, balconies face toward the three-story lobby. If you know how to play, a piano in the lobby is open to talented guests.
- Avalanche Lake Trail. This two-mile hike takes you to one of the most beautiful mountain lakes you’ve ever seen. If hiking isn’t your thing, stay on the cedar walking path below, which will take you to Avalanche Gorge. This walking path is perfect for children and is wheelchair accessible.
So how about it? Which location would interest you (and your man) most? Where is your favorite place to spread out a blanket with the man you love?