As we have said before, living a “good life” means something different to just about everyone but – for the Archer Family – getting outdoors, being together and breaking bread as a family are essential components of our lifestyle. With the exception of weather, proximity can be the primary factor impacting the success or failure of a picnic. For as fun as it may seem to venture out in search of a remote and pristine site, what often awaits are traffic jams and soggy sandwiches. Choosing a local site keeps things simple, but also reminds us just how much beauty can be found around the corner.
In the first instalment of our summer picnic series, it’s all about the joys and ease of proximity. This picnic happened to coincide with the end of school and we chose to start in our back yard, so to speak, by meeting our 3rd grader’s class in one of our many beautiful local parks in Westmount: Murray Hill. Montreal (and especially Westmount) is peppered with beautiful parks and the options for a local picnic are seemingly endless. What we love about Murray Hill Park is that it’s close and it's clean. There is abundant verdant grass on which to set up your picnic and for kids there are great play structures, bricks-and-mortar washrooms and even a little wading pool further up the hill. There are even some weedy (but playable) pétanque courts hidden south of the dog run.
In addition to having amazing weather, we got a chance to test drive some great product from the shop. Our myrtle wood picnic basket performed even better than we hoped; it fit everything neatly and the weight was manageable even with the addition of some Duralex Picardie tumblers and a bottle of sparkling lemonade.
If you can go paperless, do it. We brought tempered glassware, an extra bottle of tap water for rinsing and a tea towel to dry things off (and also hold the glasses secure). We also found some amazing beeswax-coated sandwich bags from Abeego: a young company making great products right here in Canada. You can find them at Lunch-A-Porter in Old Montréal: an equally awesome store featuring many eco-friendly products perfect for a lunch à l’herbe.
If paper plates are your thing: there are a number of companies making biodegradable and compostable alternatives derived from sugar cane fiber. Go a step further and take your organic waste away with you to compost it later. That way, the only trace of your picnic you’ll leave behind is your imprint in the grass.
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