Sunday, April 26, 2009

Events and Food Talk

I hope everyone is taking advantage of the summer-like weather this weekend and spending time outdoors, preferably with a picnic. Although my book, Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket, is all about combining a picnic with a day trip, or event, picnics do not always have to be lengthy or complicated.

Yesterday, I had chores that mostly kept me inside, but I knew I couldn't let the day go by without getting outdoors, so at lunch time I walked to a nearby luncheonette, ordered a sandwich and ate outside at a nearby picnic table with a view of several different flowering shrubs and trees. It was a perfect break in my busy day.

Occasionally, I surf the web to see what I can find on Events and Food, and this time, I have an event for both April and May. is a website for food facts, fun, festivals and more. Under Food History for April, one of the featured foods is pecans, so I decided to share one of the most popular recipes in my book, Loaded Oatmeal Cookies, with pecans of course, and other surprises. It can be found on my website, by clicking "What's in our Picnic Basket" and scrolling down to Featured Recipe.

May's event is from Chase's Calendar of Events, a book I enjoy perusing at the library on occasion. The first full week each year is National Wildflower Week, "a week to encourage the observation, cultivation and study of native wildflowers as a means of deepening humankind's relationship, responsibility and commitment to protect and care for the ecological integrity of Mother Earth."

Coincidentally, I just wrote about this favorite past time in my last blog on April 3rd. Check it out and plan your own spring wildflower hunt, either at one of the sites I mention, or at a park or nature center near you.

Ah, the joy of spring in Connecticut!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Signs of Spring

With my time in Florida nearing an end, my mind is racing ahead to my return to Connecticut. Not only am I looking forward to connecting with family and friends, but also enjoying my favorite season.

I love to watch the early signs of spring, when dormant gardens spring back to life, when the drab world of winter is taken over by vibrant colors and songbirds, and a feeling of joy and possibility is in the scented air. Best of all, the longer, warmer days mean we can spend more time enjoying outdoor activities, including of course, picnicking.

One of my favorite spring activities is the wildflower hunt. I became fascinated by wildflowers many years ago when I visited Garden in the Woods located at the New England Wildflower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts. I was so awed that I went on a 6-week spring wildflower hunt, visiting over twenty state parks, preserves and nature centers in Connecticut, all dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of these delicate and mysterious flowers.

Two of the 42 chapters in my day tripping and picnicking book, Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket are devoted to this activity, which are best viewed from the last week in April through the first week in June, with the peak, most years, around mid-May.

The first day trip, the Native Plant Collection located at the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, contains a separate wildflower garden with markers for easy identification. And, while there, check out the amazing 25-acre collection of native trees and shrubs. (

A more challenging hunt is The Botany Trail at the Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust in Woodbury. This one-mile trail is great for wildflower enthusiasts, although I first visited as a novice. Luckily, I had invited a friend who brought along three wildflower identification books! (

To view an amazing collection of photos from these and the other destinations in Cruising Connecticut, go to and click "Photos" on left.

Happy Spring!