Category Archives: Nature

Retreat to Nature Without Ever Leaving the City

Winding through the city is a shaded lane most commuters know only as a shortcut.  Leaving the road behind, a 2.7 square mile (over 2,000 acre) park awaits gentle exploration of meadows and forests packed with deer, wildflowers and babbling brooks.  Image

Rock Creek Park is filled with walking trails and picnic areas.  Without ever leaving the city, you can find peace and quite in this shady oasis.  On the weekends, a number of the roads are closed to vehicular traffic in order to allow cyclists and pedestrians use the paved roads as recreation trails.

Check out this video from National Geographic to get a glimpse of what I mean then read below for my favorite addition to any activity (wine).

Lakes and Rivers: Rock Creek Park

Here’s another peaceful, if slightly less-interesting video just in case you can’t make it in-person

My Recommendation

Since we’ve been experiencing some extremely high temperatures lately (heat indices of over 100F) I recommend taking an easy stroll to any semi-private shady area near the creek bank (where it will be naturally cooler) and setting up your picnic blanket.  Pack plenty of water, of course I prefer sparking, and the following ingredients for your picnic basket:

  • 2008 Bandit Pinot Grigio, California – This won the Huffington Post’s runner-up award and is quite nice and perfectly-packaged in juice-box-sized packages!  It’s described as having a flowery aroma, well-balanced acidity and a refreshing, lemon finish.
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  • Home-made Crostini: Cut your favorite baguette into thin slices on the diagonal (I like sourdough or ciabatta).  Spread onto a cookie sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt (I like the large, Kosher crystals) and any Italian spices you have on your rack (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, etc.).  Bake at 350F until golden brown – watch carefully! They burn easily so start with 10 minutes and increase time as needed.
  • Burrata Cheese: This may well be my FAVORITE cheese in the entire world.  Burrata is an Italian Cheese made from cow’s milk.
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  • Fresh Ricotta Cheese: Cool and refreshing, this fresh Italian cheese is recommended as a good pairing for Pinot Grigio (also known as Pinot Gris) by the Wine Monger. You will want to bring a little salt to sprinkle over this (try Truffle-infused salt – delicious).  Fun Fact: Ricotta is a very healthy cheese – offers good calcium and protein with little fat and is actually recommended as part of the South Beach Diet. 
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  • SALT and OLIVE OIL (good ones will make a difference) to sprinkle and drizzle over your cheese-loaded crostini as shown above.

Saluti! Cheers to enjoying a few moments of decadent relaxation and forgetting, at least for the duration of this picnic, the time.  My personal mantra: There’s no time like No Time O’Clock!  

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