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Triple Shot: Picnic Perfect

Forget chain restaurants and hack movies

 by Ryan Kost  published on Thursday, March 24, 2005

Kiwanis Park, located off of Baseline and Kyrene roads in Tempe, and is a great place to have a picnic. Besides the lake and shaded areas, the park also offers playgrounds and numerous pathways.
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Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Kiwanis Park, located off of Baseline and Kyrene roads in Tempe, and is a great place to have a picnic. Besides the lake and shaded areas, the park also offers playgrounds and numerous pathways.
 

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When Chili's build-your-own burger and the latest Ashton Kutcher flick just don't cut it anymore, it might be time to trade in the dinner and a movie for a little variety -- and maybe a couple of ants.

Welcome to the world of picnicking. Sure, it may be a little daunting at first -- there is a lot to keep in mind, but SPM has a few pointers to keep you on track..

This guide includes suggestions for everyone from the first-time picnicker to the seasoned veteran.

The food and the blanket are up to you, but below is a list of the hottest picnicking places this side of the ... well, just around here. The weather is great, so what are you waiting for?

The Farm
6106 S. 32nd St.
(602) 276-6360

Best for: A beginning picnicker looking for a relaxing outing

The Farm at South Mountain is the perfect spot for those who are new to the picnicking scene because everything is included for the intrepid visitor.

For breakfast, if you can get up that early, lounge on the patio near the organic gardens and enjoy spectacular food with a spectacular view. The prices for the breakfast delicacies are reasonable, ranging from about $5 for a fresh fruit salad to about $10 for the quiche.

But the real treat is during the lunch hour, when guests can order a lunch, picnic style. Everything is provided, even the baskets, which means no messy preparation. You can pick out your favorite sandwich or health-conscious salad at $9 a pop or pick out some dessert and head to one of the many picnic tables scattered beneath the sprawling pecan grove.

Blankets aren't provided, but they certainly are a bonus if, you'd like to spread out beneath the trees and grab a little shut-eye or read poetry to your honey.

This location is perfect for the spur of the moment, too. All you need to bring is your wallet and everything else is done for you, as you lean back and enjoy the unique rustic atmosphere.

Kiwanis Park
5500 S. Mill Ave.
(480) 350-5200

Best for: A more seasoned picnicker

The word picnic is almost synonymous with park, and our list would seriously be lacking if we didn't include one of the best parks in our own backyard.

Kiwanis Park is a quick and easy destination for those at the intermediate level who need to concentrate on preparing the basket more than planning the locale.

The park offers a beautiful lake scene, ducks included, and even boats if you want to take lunch on the water.

Gazeboes and tables line the lake in the center of the park, perfect for housing a lunch date. Kiwanis is also a great place for "nitenics," or, picnics at night.

When you're done with strawberries and whipped cream, a walk around the lake can be a great romantic touch. Just be sure you're out of the park by midnight, when the park closes.

Make sure you don't litter and keep the glass containers at home -- both are strictly prohibited in this park, and SPM doesn't have enough money to pay your fines.

Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park
Five miles north of Apache Junction off AZ 88
(480) 982-4485

Best for: An expert picnicker with an adventurous spirit

Pick a trail and make sure you have everything packed up tight because this trip may involve a little hiking. Oh, and kids, don't try this at home, The Lost Dutchman State Park is only for picnicking experts.

The Superstition Mountains offer myriad trails for the experienced and inexperienced, so this is a great location to keep returning to because it's not likely to get old.

Still, with the summer heat fast approaching, make sure you know what you're getting into before you start hiking, and carry plenty of water.

One of the best trails to hunker down for some picnic fun is the Siphon Draw trail, about four miles roundtrip. The hike isn't too strenuous, but offers view after view of Arizona landscape at its best.

Roll out a blanket or take a seat on a rock and enjoy a fresh lunch of whatever your heart desires. If you want to keep with the natural theme, you can always stop by Trader Joes or Whole Foods to pick up the freshest produce possible and a couple extra goodies.

And, if you don't mind the added weight, a portable stereo can help set the mood whether you're on a romantic date or just a day out in the sun.

Reach the reporter at rkost@asu.edu.



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