Paddle, Bike or Hike
Sometimes we pair a picnic with a hike at Mount Tom or a leisurely walk in Look Park, depending on the day and our mood. Some friends I know will spend a day paddling on the Connecticut or Deerfield rivers and then find a secluded beach to pull off for their picnic.
Here in the Valley, you can set off with a picnic on bicycles rented from Valley Bike Share kiosks and travel to a scenic corner of the region by eco-friendly bike. There are hilltop sites like Poet’s Seat and Mount Pollux and sites to sit along a river in Turners Falls and Shelburne Falls. For an outstanding view, climb up Mount Sugarloaf or Mount Holyoke at Skinner State Park and enjoy your picnic feast at the top.
Pack a Picnic of Local Food
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
sea salt and ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme or basil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/3 cup pitted Nicoise olives
1 bunch arugula
2 cucumbers, sliced lengthwise into ribbons with a peeler
5 radishes, thinly sliced
1 loaf rustic bread
4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
8 ounces olive oil-packed tuna, rinsed
6 olive oil-packed or salt-packed anchovies, rinsed
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to blend.
Combine the onion, tomatoes, olives, arugula, cucumbers, and radishes in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Add thyme or basil, chopped.
Split the whole loaf of bread lengthwise. Rip out some of the bread from middle of the top and bottom halves (to better fit the sandwich filling). Arrange half of the vegetables on the bottom half of the bread. Layer on the eggs, tuna, anchovies, and the remaining vegetables. Pour half of the dressing (left in the bowl that held the vegetables) over the sandwich filling. Pour the remaining dressing over the cut side of the top half of the loaf, and then place the top half over the filling to close the sandwich.
Wrap the whole thing snugly in plastic wrap, place it in the refrigerator, and weigh it down with a cast-iron pan or other heavy-bottomed pan. Refrigerate the sandwich for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Cut in wedges and serve. (recipe: Tartine Bakery)