Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I've been in Florida for six weeks and have only been on one picnic. Although there has been isolated days when at least part of the day is pleasant, the weather changes so quickly, from wind to rain to cold, it's a bit risky to chance a picnic.

But, the last week in January was an exceptional week with good weather every day. My grandson happened to be visiting that week, helping me with painting and other chores, but I made sure we still have plenty of time to play. One of the places I took him to is Myakka River State Park, in Sarasota. www.myakkariver.org.

First, we took the Canopy Walkway & Tower, a walkway "through the treetops" on a swing bridge, then meandered down a path to the dam to see the alligators sunning themselves on the far bank. Later, along the 7-mile scenic drive we spotted a group of impatient-looking vultures hovering in treetops and in two different areas, armadillos digging furiously in the soil by the roadway. It was the closest either of us has ever been to this strange looking mammal.

Eventually, we drove through the park toward the North gate until we came to the Clay Gully picnic area, where picnic tables sit comfortably next to the river, amidst trees and other foliage. Our picnic fare was simple: sandwiches of fresh roasted white chicken, Swiss cheese, cranberry sauce, spinach leaves and mayo on oatmeal grain break, with chips and drinks.

On the way home we stopped at Nokomis Groves for homemade ice cream. Their citrus fruit business has been in operation for over sixty years, but we were there for their soft serve ice cream. They swirl the most unusual favors together, like pineapple and orange, chocolate and lime. Yum! www.nokomisgroves.com.

Although I haven't been picnicking nearly as often as I would like (yet!) I am so happy to be in Florida, where the sun at least peaks out most days, and I can still bundle up and get outside to walk ~ in sneakers rather than snow boots. Yes, life is good!

I hope wherever you live, picnics will soon be in your future.

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