Sure, picnics are typically summer affairs, but you can still bring a basket lunch outside in winter. Michelle Ison, founder of Picnic and Peonies, offers tips for a pleasant time—even when the temperatures drop.
Location, Location, Location
Many summer spots also work for winter, says Ison, but you’ll want to lay your blanket in a space surrounded by trees to help block wind. “Our two favorite locations are Georgetown Waterfront Park and Founders Park in Old Town Alexandria, because they both have lots of trees and water views,” says Ison.
Pack Pillows and Blankets
Protect your bum from winter freeze with pillows and a waterproof blanket. “We also like to have a little basket on the side with lots of blankets to keep everybody cozy,” says Ison. If you’re feeling ambitious, place a rug under your blanket for further insulation and cart a portable heater.
Pour a Warm Drink
Cold weather calls for hot drinks. Wrap mittened hands around a cup of hot cocoa, spiced (and perhaps spiked) cider, or mulled wine that you’ve kept warm in a thermos. For food, Ison recommends packing typical picnic fare such as sandwiches and charcuterie.
Consider Playing a Game
Keep your mind off the temperature with some friendly competition. “We do badminton, Connect Four, cornhole, giant Jenga—you name it,” says Ison. The activities play a dual role, keeping picnickers entertained while getting them moving in the cold. Ison has also seen people paint or practice yoga.
Photograph courtesy of retailers.
This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Washingtonian.