Category Archives: Picnics

Picnic by the Confederation Bridge in PEI

A PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Confederation Bridge

Picnics are a favorite summertime activity for us. We like to do a lot of daytripping around our province discovering and revisiting all that our wonderful Island has to offer.  Prince Edward Island has many great locations that are suitable for picnics.  Our picnic last weekend took us to a scenic location near the Confederation Bridge in Borden-Carleton.

Bridge between PEI and New Brunswick
Confederation Bridge

This bridge transcends the Northumberland Strait linking PEI with New Brunswick. At 12.9km (8 miles) in length, the bridge is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. Our Island winters can be quite harsh and the Strait is covered in thick ice for several months of the year. Building a bridge to withstand these conditions was no easy feat.

Before the bridge opened to traffic on May 31, 1997, the only ways on and off PEI were by ferry or air.  Ferry service does still operate seasonally in the Eastern part of the Province at Wood Islands where ferries transport vehicular traffic between PEI and Nova Scotia.

The Confederation Bridge curves partway across the Strait and has a high navigational span that allows large ships to pass under the bridge.  It’s pretty cool to see the large cruise ships going under the bridge!

Because the Confederation Bridge is an iconic element of PEI, it makes a fitting backdrop for a summertime Island picnic.

Summer Picnic in PEI
Bridge View

So, now that the stage has been set for the location, back to the picnic……I have chosen to go with a black and white theme and I’m a big fan of checkered fabric – checks just seem to speak of picnics. I have chosen to use my plain black dinner napkins and have wrapped the cutlery inside the napkins. This is easy to do before leaving home and it keeps the items together.  To give the classy black napkins a more casual look for a picnic, I have tied each napkin with narrow twine.

To add a punch of color to the table, I selected small bright yellow sunflowers paired with Bells of Ireland.  Whether I am setting the table for an event at home or on the road, I like to see a well set table! These flowers were locally grown at Island Meadow Farm in York, PEI.  They grow the most amazing array of flowers and I like to use them in my summer tablesettings.

Summer Flowers
Sunflowers and Bells of Ireland

Picnics are meant to be casual fare so, while I always try to have a main, a side, some fruit, something sweet, and a beverage, I often like to include some finger/snacking foods as I have done today.  Let’s start with the PEI mussels in the shell. These are steamed mussels to which I have added some red and orange pepper, celery, and red onion. A light dressing of a red wine vinaigrette makes these tasty little morsels.

PEI Mussels

Cold cuts, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber are always good nibbling foods (and they add great color to the table).

Cold Cut Tray
The Nibbling Tray


I wrapped peach wedges inside basil leaves and prosciutto (seen in the photo below). These little picnic hors d’oeuvres add color, texture, and flavor to the menu. They go particularly well with Gouda cheese.

Picnic Hors d'oeuvres
Peaches in Prosciutto

I have chosen small tomato quiches for the main in today’s picnic. The great thing about quiches is that they can be served, hot, warm, or cold and, when cold, are great travelers for the picnic basket.

Tomato Quiche

And, for a side, I opted for a quinoa salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. To the quinoa I added peppers, corn, celery, red onion, and kale from our garden. Packing the salad into small Mason jars is an easy way to transport salads on a picnic.

Salad in a Mason Jar
Quinoa Salad

Plates are not always necessary for picnics.  Here, I have used small breadboards which work equally well and they are easy to pack.

The Picnic Lunch

I popped by the Tryon Blueberries U-Pick in North Tryon on my way and picked a box of these amazing high-bush blueberries.  I live on these berries when they are in season on the Island!

Summer Berries
PEI Blueberries

And, for the sweet tooth, I took along some of my homemade snickerdoodle cookies.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

And, as an extra special treat, we enjoyed Belgian chocolates that we brought home from a wonderful visit to Brugge, Belgium. If you ever have the chance to visit Brugge, I highly recommend it. You can view photos of my visit to Brugge over on my travel blog, Island Shore Traveler, by clicking here.

Belgian Chocolates

I like to choose foods and elements to the picnic that are colorful and that blend well together.

Picnic Time
A PEI Summer Picnic

I hope you have enjoyed a little “taste” of my picnic by the bridge.

PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Bridge

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PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Confederation Bridge, PEI

Locovore’s Picnic – Food Day Canada 2016

Summer Picnic
Picnic at Fort Amherst, PEI

As I write this post on July 30th, I am celebrating Food Day Canada with a picnic featuring local Prince Edward Island food products.  Food Day Canada is a day set aside to celebrate all the wonderful foods that we, as Canadians, enjoy.

For today’s picnic location, I have chosen the iconic Fort Amherst site, just across the harbour from Charlottetown. The building in the background of the photo above is known as the Blockhouse Point Lighthouse. The beacon for sailors was established in 1851 and is the second oldest lighthouse on the Island. Automated in 1962, no one lives in the lighthouse anymore but it was built with a two-story dwelling attached for the lighthouse keeper and his family.

We like to travel the Island in the summer and often pack a picnic lunch.

Picnic Lunch

I like to sometimes pack individual picnic boxes or baskets, as I have done today.  Each basket is like a personalized gift and it’s great fun to see picnic guests unpacking their baskets and discovering what surprises await them. It’s also a great way to customize the baskets to accommodate those with special dietary needs and food preferences since their lunch basket can be prepared especially for them. Nothing makes a guest feel more special than when the host/hostess plans and prepares for their special food needs!

The only downside to this style of picnic is that the baskets are obviously not insulated so, for travel purposes, I recommend they be transported inside a large insulated cooler with ice packs.

I have named this picnic the Locovore’s Picnic since I have selected Island products for the basket contents. Here’s the menu:

Locovore’s Picnic


Sandwich – Larkin’s smoked chicken breast with Schurman Family Farm organic tomatoes and lettuce from the garden all on bread from Mary’s Bake Shoppe


Tossed green salad with lettuce freshly picked from our garden and peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes from Schurman Family Farm


Homemade Rhubarb Cordial

Sweet Ending

Anne of Green Gables Island-made chocolate

Here’s a closer peek into the lunch baskets, each of which is lined with a white cloth napkin.  I had just poured the lemon-lime soda into the rhubarb cordial (recipe here) before this photo was taken so it is still quite fizzy!

Picnic Basket Lunches
Individual Picnic Baskets

And, here’s a closer look….

Chicken Sandwich
Smoked Chicken Sandwich

I love packing the salads in these little glass jars. I have separate small containers for the vinaigrette which, of course, should only be added to the salad at the time of serving.

Salad in a Jar

Choosing a good quality bread will help the sandwich to hold together, especially if adding a number of ingredients as I have done here. Mary’s Bake Shoppe in Kensington, just outside Summerside, makes great bread and a number of different kinds. The one in the photograph below is oatbran bread, one of my all-time favorites.

Picnic Sandwich
Smoked Chicken Sandwich

I wrapped each sandwich in parchment paper secured with twine. This helps to keep it intact.

Sandwich Basket
Sandwich Basket Contents

I have used a turquoise color theme for today’s picnic – it has a real summery feel to it!

Color-themed Picnic
Turquoise Summer Time Picnic

The flowers were picked from our own garden. It’s the little touches that make the event more special!

Summer Bouquet
Summer Flower Picnic Bouquet

Time to stop photographing and eat lunch!

Picnic Lunch
Let’s Eat Lunch!

Curious to know what’s in that tiny white box with the pretty turquoise ribbon?

Anne of Green Gables Chocolates

These chocolates are hand-made right here on Prince Edward Island and they are quite divine!

Anne of Green Gables Chocolates
Handmade PEI Chocolates

So, there you have it! This is how I spent Food Day Canada 2016!

The Locovore’s Picnic Basket

Great food with a lovely view! A perfect PEI summer day!

Prince Edward Island Picnic
Picnic at Fort Amherst PEI

Thanks for coming along on my picnic this afternoon!

PEI Picnic
Picnic at PEI’s Fort Amherst

Late Summer Charcuterie Picnic

Summer is reluctant to leave Prince Edward Island this year and I’m perfectly fine with that.  Today (September 19, 2015), the temperature soared to almost the 30C mark! We’re not accustomed to these kinds of temperatures in mid-September here on the Island ….but we’ll take them!

Just as summer may not be in a hurry to leave us, I’m equally reluctant to put away my picnic basket.  When temperatures are still delightfully summer-like, I want to continue with my picnics.

A Charcuterie board is a wonderful and easy way to prepare a light meal, whether indoors or in the great outdoors.  It can be as simple or elaborate as you like. I’ve opted to prepare a fairly substantial board for our meal this evening because I’m not cooking a dinner this evening (it’s simply too warm – how great is it to be able to say that!). So, here’s our early evening charcuterie-plus board fare.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s on the board. Quiches are great additions to picnic fare since they can be eaten cold or served slightly warm and they can be prepared ahead of time.  This is my asparagus quiche and you can get my recipe here.

Asparagus Quiche
Asparagus Quiche

I’ve included devilled eggs on the menu since they are classic picnic fare. Besides their wonderful flavor, they also add color and texture to the board. Those are three elements I like to keep in mind when preparing a charcuterie board.

Add any cold cuts you like to the board. I’ve included salami and Tuscan ham on my board today.

I’ve only included one cheese on the board – a good quality Gouda. If I hadn’t included the quiche, I would have added more cheese and meat varieties. Adding some garden-fresh cherry or grape tomatoes adds a bright pop of color to the board. These are fresh from our garden. We have a bountiful supply of fresh herbs in the garden and they make great “fillers” to close in space on charcuterie boards.

Slices from a long baguette are suitable bases for the cold cuts and cheese.

My rhubarb relish is a tasty condiment to this type of meal.

Green grapes and blueberries round out the fruit component. The blueberries are fresh picked from the Tryon Blueberries U-pick. We are lucky to have them not far away as they have late season varieties of blueberries so we have fresh local berries through September.

My staple of oatcakes can be used as either a savory or sweet aspect to the meal. Spread an oatcake with a bit of rhubarb relish and add some meat and/or cheese, and you have a savory bite. Or, eat them plain as cookies.  They’re good either way.

My wine pairing today is Rossignol Little Sands White Wine produced in eastern PEI.

And, there you have all the components of my colorful and tasty late summer charcuterie picnic!

Perfect for easy, relaxed casual dining anytime, anyplace.

I’m just not going to pack away that picnic basket just yet!


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Charcuterie Picnic
Charcuterie Picnic



Sliders and Salad Sunday Picnic


I so love a good picnic!  My color theme for today’s picnic is lime green, one of my favorite summertime colors.

The dishes, cutlery, and napkins are all simply dollar store specials! If you are a regular follower to my blog, you will have heard me say before that you don’t need expensive dishes for lovely outdoor dining. Check out your local dollar stores but do so early in the season as these do tend to be items that get snatched up quickly. Unbreakable, these are great picnic basket staples and they are so much more sturdy (and classy) than paper plates.

Even though this table is set for two, it is very easy to prepare this setup for multiple settings.

Glasses are simply Mason jars into which I have placed the napkins and plastic cutlery – a good idea if you are setting the table and it’s a bit breezy – this keeps everything in its place.

I found this lime-green colored beverage and knew it would fit in with one of my summertime picnics! Sometimes I draw my color theme inspiration for a picnic from just one simple item like this drink.

I grow a lot of herbs every summer and, this year, grew several in pots.  This terracotta trio is another dollar store find.  I think they look very Tuscan with their tinge of moss green color that has appeared over the summer as they’ve ‘aged’ out in the weather.  This was all that was needed for a table centerpiece for an impromptu picnic.

I had made a batch of pan rolls and shaped them suitably so they could be used for slider buns for the grilled hamburgers.

I used my new blueberry barbeque sauce on the slider burgers.

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Burgers
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Burgers

These are as tasty as they are colorful!

The menu for today’s picnic was simple and tasty.  Slider cheeseburgers, homemade potato salad, and a green salad. 

I most often mash the potatoes for my potato salad because the salad is easy to scoop and it plates well as the salad stays in perfect mounds on the plate.  However, for casual picnic fare, I often like a slightly more rustic, jagged look to my salad so have cubed the potatoes and eggs. The salad mounds actually stayed in place quite well when plated.

I love slider burgers! Today’s burgers have a lime green lettuce leaf, ADL Cheddar Cheese, fresh Island tomato, a red onion ring, and the usual burger condiments. When adding tomatoes to slider burgers, try to find smaller sized tomatoes so the slices don’t have to be cut or don’t overpower the burger. For sliders, everything should be proportionately balanced.  To dress up the burgers, I’ve topped each burger with a cherry tomato half along with a sprig of oregano from our garden. Sometimes, it doesn’t take a lot to take a burger from plain to dressy!

One of my favorite summertime green salads starts with a mix of salad greens topped with cubed watermelon, fresh PEI high bush blueberries, and red onion rings drizzled with a blueberry vinaigrette.

A colorful and tasty summertime picnic!

Are picnics part of your summer?



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Casual Summer Picnic




There are so many options for picnics that can range from very impromptu casual style to more elaborate events.  Today, it was about 30C on Prince Edward Island so the theme for the day was casual….very casual.

I had made a batch of pan rolls yesterday and shaped them into the perfect size and shape for slider sandwiches.  These are so easy to pull together and they are very tasty.  Essentially, for each one, all I used was some black forest ham, a slice of tomato, some JJ Stewart beer mustard sauce, slices of cheddar and havarti cheese, and lettuce from our own garden.

Ham, Cheese, and Tomato Sliders
Ham, Cheese, and Tomato Sliders


Of course, a bowl of the quintessential all-time favorite picnic salad – potato salad – provided a great side dish to the sliders and it’s always a hit. Just make sure to keep this salad refrigerated.

Potato Salad
Potato Salad

A tall pitcher of cold, refreshing lemonade proved to be a thirst-quenching drink on this hot afternoon.


Dessert was simply colorful marshmallow squares.  Nice and summery as well as yummy!

Marshmallow Squares
Marshmallow Squares

And, juicy watermelon always goes great on a hot summer day and it adds such a splash of color to the table.

When it is so hot, I like to keep meal prep to the minimum and go with very simplistic foods and ones that can be prepared early in the day and refrigerated until use. This picnic menu is so easy to set up buffet style whether it is for 3-4 people or several more.

While picnics don’t necessarily require table centerpieces, they can take a picnic from mundane to wow with very little effort.  Today, I simply walked to the nearest flowerbed and picked some daisies which, with their yellow centers, fit in with my summery yellow color theme. I think daisies go very well with wicker picnic baskets!


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A Canada Day Picnic in St. Peter’s Bay, PEI

Picnic at St. Peter's Bay, PEI
Picnic at St. Peter’s Bay, PEI

One of our usual Canada Day traditions is to go on a red-themed picnic. This year, we headed East to the Greenwich National Park, not far from St. Peter’s Bay. I have been to this park several times before and am always awestruck by its natural beauty.  Before I share photos of our Canada Day picnic, I thought you might like to see photos of the beauty that is Greenwich.

Greenwich National Park, PEI
Greenwich National Park, PEI (Blue Heron in Foreground)

From the parking lot, the trek on the path through the fields and woods and out over the floating boardwalk to the magnificent beach and back is about 5 km. It’s mostly flat terrain (except for a very short jaunt through the woods) and, for the most part, easy walking.

Boardwalk at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Boardwalk at Greenwich National Park, PEI

The only hitch is that you have to share nature with the mosquitoes on the walk on the trail through the field and the woods to reach the boardwalk so, if you head to Greenwich, be sure to bring along some insect repellent to make the experience more enjoyable. Depending on the weather, some sunscreen is also advised.  It’s also a good idea to bring along some water to stay hydrated.

The pink sand dunes of Greenwich National Park, PEI
The pink sand dunes of Greenwich National Park, PEI

The photo you see above is a typical scene along the floating boardwalk at Greenwich National Park.  The pink sand dune in the background is all the work of Mother Nature. At the end of the boardwalk, you arrive at the magnificent beach shown in the photos below.

Entering the beach at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Entering the beach from the end of the floating boardwalk at Greenwich National Park, PEI

You won’t find a finer beach anywhere than this one at Greenwich. I always refer to it as the perfect, unblemished jewel amongst our system of national parks on the Island.

Beach at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Beach at Greenwich National Park, PEI

During lobster fishing season, and from the vantage of this beautiful beach, it’s not uncommon to see the fishing boats returning from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the nearby harbour with their catch of the day.

Fishing boat returning to port with the day's catch
Fishing boat returning to port with the day’s catch

Apart from the scenery, one of the wonderful aspects of Greenwich National Park is the variety of wildlife and birds. Some, like the Common Tern below, are quite willing to pose for photos!

The little Sandpiper below chose a lovely natural backdrop for its portrait!

Blue herons, common to PEI, are often seen in and around the waters between the sand dunes at Greenwich.

Blue Heron at Greenwich National Park, PEI
Blue Heron at Greenwich National Park, PEI

These are but a few of the many different kinds of birds often sighted at Greenwich so a leisurely walk on the boardwalk between the dunes offers a great opportunity for bird enthusiasts.

By the time we had finished our morning hike through Greenwich, we had worked up an appetite. I had packed a simple picnic lunch and made sure it was stowed in an insulated cooler with lots of ice packs because temperatures soared to 28°C on Wednesday. I use my traditional non-insulated picnic basket (shown in the photo below) to transport non-perishables.

On the way to Greenwich through St. Peter’s Bay, I had noticed a small park with picnic tables by the water. I thought, even though the lighting for photography may not have been the best, this would be a good spot for our picnic.

My picnic menu was not elaborate and was quick and easy to pull together. Ham sandwiches on oat bran bread were the main feature accompanied by salad on a stick with small individual containers of vinaigrette for dipping the vegetables.

Any combination of vegetables and cheese can be selected for threading on to the skewers. This is a simple way to serve salad ingredients and can be prepared before leaving home. It also cuts down on the number of containers of ingredients that need to be transported to the picnic site as well as dirty salad bowls to have to bring back home. I try to pack as minimally and efficiently as I can because I’m never certain how far I might be parked from the picnic table site.

I had just made a fresh batch of rhubarb cordial so that was our red beverage which I served in these cute little glass milk bottles along with red and white straws.

I brought along some fresh strawberries for a light dessert (are you seeing the red theme I have going on here!)

I had stopped at Jewel’s Country Market on my way East and picked up this gorgeous red geranium which made a great centerpiece, especially when decked with mini Canada flags. I had taken along one of my small potted herbs which could also be used as a centerpiece because I wasn’t certain I would be able to find a red geranium. Yes, even on a picnic, I like to see a nicely set table.  🙂


I like small pots of herbs because I can use them in many ways and, while we do have a small in-ground herb garden, I also keep a number growing in pots over the summer. The benefit of having some herbs in pots is that they can be transported to wherever they are needed. I often use them as table centerpieces because, as well as being decorative, they can also be clipped and used to flavour food. In the case of our picnic, the basil was used to flavour the vinaigrette.

This was how we celebrated Canada Day 2015.  I hope you have enjoyed this brief photo tour of PEI’s Greenwich National Park, a unique natural treasure we Islanders are lucky to have in our midst.  If you live on PEI, or have the opportunity to visit the Island, I hope you will travel to Greenwich and experience its beauty for yourself.

To view previous postings of our Canada Day celebrations in years past, click on the following links:  2012, 2013, and 2014.

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A Casual Summer Afternoon Picnic

Are you like me, favoring more casual dining in the summer – particularly on weekends?  I’m a great fan of picnics.  They lend themselves well to casual menus.

Today, on the picnic menu, I have focaccia rolls filled with slices of rotisserie chicken, Havarti cheese, tomato, and lettuce (recipe follows at end of post).

I added some sour cream and onion kettle chips, a blood orange lemonade, homemade chocolate chip cookies and oatcakes, and some fresh fruit and the menu was complete.  This menu follows my standard template for a picnic:  A main (the sandwich); snacks (kettle chips); a drink (the sparkling blood orange lemonade); dessert (cookies); and fruit (peaches, pears, and watermelon).

Whether I am dining inside or out, I still like to set a pretty table.  My color theme for today’s picnic is primarily orange with lime green as the secondary color.  I often use the fresh fruit as part of the centerpiece as I have done here.

I picked the bouquet of wildflowers along the PEI roadside on my way to my picnic destination – daisies, orange day lilies, mauve matrimony, and the last of the season’s purple lupins – pulling the colors from the plaid tablecloth.

Because I was just a short way from my picnic site, I didn’t need a cooler so I simply gathered everything together and put it in a large wicker basket.  However, if you are traveling a distance or if it is going to be awhile before you eat, be sure to use a well-insulated cooler with ice packs to keep the perishable food and drinks cold.

I like to do as much prep work at home as possible so the food is ready to eat when I get to my picnic site.  This also means I have less tools and equipment to take with me to do food prep work onsite.

Today’s picnic was comprised of all finger food so no utensils were required.   I used my white plastic picnic plates and kept the setting simple and casual.

I wrapped each sandwich in brown parchment paper and tied it with string and a sprig of fresh thyme from our herb garden.

The brown parchment gives the country look and also functions as a convenient holder for the sandwich to keep the ingredients in place while eating.

The blood orange lemonade adds a nice rich color to the table as well as being a tasty beverage.

When choosing a color scheme, I recommend thinking of the colors in the food being served so that the whole setting is pleasing to the eye – like the green lettuce and napkins, the orange drink and tomato in the sandwiches and the colors of the tablecloth.

Dessert for a picnic does not need to be elaborate.  Cookies are a traditional item on many picnics and are very easy to pack.  Here I have packaged them in glassine bags.

Watermelon is always a hit at picnics (and it matched my color scheme, as a bonus)!

Tasty fare!

This was a very easy picnic to pull together on a warm summer’s day.

Chicken, Cheese, and Tomato Focaccia Rolls

2 Focaccia rolls
1 Rotisserie Chicken Breast (white meat), thinly sliced
1 tomato, sliced
2 slices Havarti cheese
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp basil pesto
½ tsp. balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Slice Focaccia rolls in half, horizontally. Butter both sides of each roll.

In bowl, mix mayonnaise with pesto. Spread on both sides of each roll.

Lay a bed of lettuce on bottom half of each roll. Add a layer of sliced chicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Add one slice Havarti to each roll, then 1-2 slices of tomato. Drizzle a small amount (⅛ – ¼ tsp) balsamic vinaigrette over tomato slices.

Top with another layer of lettuce and place tops of each roll on the sandwiches. Leave sandwiches whole or slice diagonally, as desired.

Yield: 2 servings

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