With the sun shining and the grass finally drying out from our late spring rains, the “al fresco” picnic season is upon us. Grab a big blanket or two, pack a lunch and head for the hills and vales of our beautiful towns and countryside. You don’t have to go very far to enjoy a fragrant garden (tended to by someone else!), sit by a fast-moving creek, or hear live music. Here are a few options for the season:
, San Rafael – a hub of artistic activity featuring Marin and Bay Area artists and a renowned special event location, few locals also know that the Falkirk Cultural Center in downtown San Rafael opens its 11-acre grounds to the public on a limited scheduled (Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Stop in at Andronico’s or and grab some turkey wraps and spanakopita from the take-out deli – the Falkirk has no food services on the premises.
Hal Brown Park at Creekside, Greenbrae – the much-anticipated playground and trail restorations are complete and the new park offers many more shady places to play or throw down a blanket. The new climbing structures for kids provides the latest in kid-friendly architecture, including ropes and water “seesaws” that slide into the sand. Start at Woodlands Market and pick up a roast chicken, fresh bread, cheese and fruit, then sit and enjoy the view of Mt Tam.
Bolinas Park, Fairfax – Located next to Fairfax town offices right in downtown, this park offers filtered sunlight through the towering trees and large grassy areas. Grab a burrito from across the street and enjoy the local scenery.
Memorial Park, San Anselmo – the playground area known as Millennium Park offers two huge play structures for toddlers and older children, a large grassy lawn and a barbecue and picnic area. Popular in winter when its open, sun-splashed layout is perfect on a clear day, be sure to bring your own shade in the summer or feel the heat. Cool down before or after a visit to Millennium with a visit to one of our fresh fro-yo spots, or Swirl (opening late June next to the park in Red Hill), and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Robson Harrington Park, San Anselmo – a mere two blocks from downtown San Anselmo, this is the home of San Anselmo’s Community Gardens, but a short walk into the extensive gardens will leave you feeling like you left the world behind. Comfort’s Café offers their famous chicken salad for your picnic basket as well as an extensive array of sandwiches and portable foods. Picnic areas are available by reservation through the town's Parks and Rec Departmetn.
Picnic on the Plaza - The Town of San Anselmo is inviting everyone to a picnic in the Town Hall Plaza. This new event series, started last year, is scheduled for Friday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 27. Music and activities for children are provided. This event is at the San Anselmo Town Hall Plaza on Tunstead Avenues.
Or, if you wander just a little further to Petaluma, find yourself at The Marin French Cheese Company. Also known as the Cheese Factory, it is about halfway to Pt. Reyes and offers numerous picnic tables dotted around a small pond. Bring your own picnic or buy food at their cheese store and deli.