Today’s blog post comes from Teresa Weaver, one of our staffers who also keeps up a personal recipe blog, Le Culinary Creusette. After four summers picnicking on the lawn, she’s seen it all, and we turn to her to get some tips and tricks to having an amazing lawn experience.
I’ve planned a lot of picnics in my time at Wolf Trap–from rocking out to Belinda Carlisle or Rodrigo y Gabriela with my friends to hearing a thunderstorm keep time with the timpani in Carmina Burana–it’s hard to have the same experience twice. Each show brings with it new friends, new bands, and new recipes to try. Over the years I’ve eyed the best and worst lawn blankets and come up with a solid list of do’s and dont’s for picnicking on the lawn.
There is a great lineup of shows this week—Frankie Valli, The Levon Helm Band w/ .moe, The Go-Go’s, and Bright Eyes w/ M. Ward and Dawes—that all have great lawn party potential—so before you head out, read through my list below and make sure you are all stocked up for the summer.
So what should you pack? The beauty of Wolf Trap is that the answer could be nothing and you will still have a fantastic time (although a blanket is helpful). I’ve seen folks show up with a pizza box and Big Gulps, and they are having just as good a time as the enviable picnic spreads that include cheese plates, wine holders, and frittatas. It’s all about matching your own mood with the evening show, and planning everything else accordingly.
To make it easy, I’ve broken it up into two groups—equipment and edibles—both of which you should consider before coming out. Today’s postfocuses on the equipment—and while I’ve linked to a few different retailers, remember to shop around for the best price.
• Selecting a Blanket
Make sure you have a waterproof blanket. Even if it’s sunny outside, if it rained in the past day or two, there’s a good chance the ground could still be damp. A lot of folks lug out a tarp and a blanket, but I would try to find one that is waterproof on one side and felt on the other—so you have the added comfort without the hassle of carrying around two separate items.($30 at LL Bean)
• Rolling, Expandable Coolers. ($40 at Bed, Bath & Beyond)
I found one at Costco last year that expands out—leaving me room to pack my food, drinks, AND blanket in the same place. It’s not available via Costco anymore unfortunately but check out the Bed, Bath & Beyond link above. Look for ones that have side or front pockets, or detachable bags (for the smaller gathering). These can be pricey—so be sure to shop around and find one that matches your own personalized needs.
• Wine Bottle and Glass Holders you can stick in the ground. ($10 on Amazon)
Definitely a nice way to class up your picnic spread without spilling the pino.
• Legless Seat Cushions. ($45 at REI)
Remember any seat with legs must move to the back of the lawn behind the signs (usually strictly enforced).
• And finally don’t forget your outdoor basics: sunscreen, an umbrella orraincoat, bug spray, and utensils.
For In-House Patrons: Remember that you might not want to lug around a lot of picnic equipment to your seat. Try to snag a picnic table in the meadow for your meal, and consider Ziploc or paper plates so you don’t have that much to store once you’re in your seat. If you are extra nice an usher will watch a cooler for you by the wing. Please remember, you are only allowed to bring bottled water to your seat with you.
So those are the basics—if there’s anything you’ve noticed sitting on the lawn that I forgot to include, please add it below in the comments. Also, next week I tackle the most important part of any picnic: THE FOOD. If you have any tried-and-true recipes that you’ve used for years on the lawn, shoot me an email and I’ll include the best ones in my post. Until then!