Well, BoomerCafé’s Ranter-In-Residence isn’t ranting this month; with the change of seasons upon us all, he’s reminiscing. But we like what he reminisces about, because it’s something every baby boomer could stand to learn. From Frederick, Maryland, Carrier Slocomb tells us Where Boomers Go To Picnic.
For a year, my wife Caroline and I wrote a travel blog for our small-city newspaper. The hook was, we explored travel destinations just a few hours away for boomer couples to visit on their days off. To whip up interest, we tied in easy hikes and cheap places to eat nearby. Our mix gained us a decent readership indicating that, around here at least, there are plenty of boomers craving cheap and easy adventures.
It helps that we live in an area steeped in history and nature. However, we discovered an obvious truth early on-– destinations are made better because of who you’re with. As you can guess, our blog clicked when, at Caroline’s urging, we took readers along on our picnics.
While we stopped writing the blog a while ago, we still take picnics. Some picnics focus on favorite sites and these might fill a day; others remain purposefully unregulated. Both work well because, once again, we’re with child, as joining us on the picnics is Owen Our Maltese Puppy.
It’s in our natures to avoid overly-beaten pathways. Still, it’s surprising how often Caroline’s good sense pays off, especially considering the gems we’ve tripped over when she navigates us off-book. Memorable picnics, like a tiny stone church bordering a picturesque brook; a high knob with forever views; cool country streams made for sweaty feet; an unguarded beach strewn with ancient sea glass; wildflowers, soft grasses, and pine needles for beds; rounded boulders overlooking rolling fields of wheat and soy; an old barn inches from collapsing, home to hundreds of birds. And the list grows longer each year.
These are ‘happy places.’ Places where Caroline and I can slip into the moment, where nothing bothersome is allowed in. Phones go silent and every attempt is made to ignore the world beyond our view. It’s here where air smells laundered, the wind cools the rock face, and low waves nudge against the beach and breakwater. This is where we go to totally disconnect.
It begs saying that the quilt we lie on for picnics actually becomes our floating raft. There’s plenty of food in the hamper for our voyage, and a small chilled bottle besides. We eat slowly, minding Owen, whose antics at this age are hilarious. Whenever possible, we close our eyes and soak in the sun, often achieving that nearly impossible feat of forgetting about outside forces and events.
So know this: there’s a world to enjoy on a quilt raft floating on a grass sea, bordered by wildflowers alongside a cooling stream. Picnics make new moments, becoming memories for the one you love and with whom you can laugh. As the years bunch up behind us, the two of us make more time for picnic trips. And here’s some free advice for you: yank the quilt off your bed and launch a picnic for two on any patch of beach, grass, or mountain knob that might pull you both in.