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.
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.
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.
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.
Cold cuts, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber are always good nibbling foods (and they add great color to the table).
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.
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.
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.
Plates are not always necessary for picnics. Here, I have used small breadboards which work equally well and they are easy to pack.
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!
And, for the sweet tooth, I took along some of my homemade 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.
I like to choose foods and elements to the picnic that are colorful and that blend well together.
I hope you have enjoyed a little “taste” of my picnic by the bridge.
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