A Picnic In February?!...ONLY In The South!

While other parts of the country are suffering from freezing temperatures and snow, we here in the south are enjoying spring like conditions; our temperatures have been in the 70's this week.  It is difficult to believe that merely a week ago, we had ice everywhere and fireplaces blazing.  Oh well...they say the south is the BEST place to live because the weather changes so much here.  No matter, Valentine's Day turned out to be the most PERFECT day for a picnic!

Generally, Robby and I stay in and eat and watch movies for Valentine's Day; avoid the crowds.  However, this year I thought it might be nice to go out to dinner.  I called one of our very few nice restaurants in town the Monday prior to Valentine's Day, only to find that they were booked solid.  Oh well, I guess we would try again next year.  THAT'S when Robby had the most wonderful idea.  We were heading to Hattisburg to see David and Codi and then on to New Orleans to see Ryan..."Why don't we just stay in New Orleans for Valentine's Day?", Robby suggested.  Now THAT sounded GREAT to me.  We made our hotel reservation for an extra night and also made a reservation at the The Red Fish Grill for dinner.  Ryan had a test that day, so we knew he would be ready for a break and invited him to join us.  YES!  I invited one of our kids to our Valentine's Day dinner...I have absolutely NO problem with that.  But earlier in the day, we actually went out to another area of New Orleans where we rarely have time to explore...and THAT is where the idea of a picnic was born!

We drove through the Garden District on our way to Magazine Street.  We had never been there to shop.  When we visit New Orleans, we usually just stay around the French Quarters.  This would be a nice change.  The thing we were really looking for, was children's clothing boutiques.  I KNOW!!!  Who would have thought that Robby would EVER be searching for children's boutiques?!  Well, I suppose becoming a grandparent does that to you.  We found Magazine Street to be filled with not only wonderful little boutiques, but also quaint little bistros...and everyone, apparently enjoying the fabulous spring like weather , seemed to be eating lunch outdoors.  That's when we spotted the Whole Foods Market.  I was excited upon seeing this market, because I have always wanted to go into one.  WOW!  I must say, WHAT A GREAT STORE!  If we had one in our town, I would definitely be shopping there.  Anyway, Robby said, "Hey, since it is so beautiful outside, how about us getting some food and wine here and head over to the park for a picnic?"  OH, how I LOVE picnics!  YES, YES, YES...That was the best suggestion I had heard in a long time.  So, we went over to the prepared food section and finally made a decision on our foods; we chose some pasta and risotto cakes and squash fritters, Robby had some sort of chicken and we picked out a nice white wine from Portugal.

We drove over to the park, grabbed our picnic lunch and found a table underneath the shady branches of the huge oak trees.  The weather was perfect, the quietness of the area peaceful and I wished for a picnic EVERY day.  After we finished eating, we walked through the park and over to a bench by the water's edge, where there were literally hundreds of ducks swimming around.  Robby said, "Ahhh...spring is here."  And, although, I was really enjoying this wonderful spring like day, I tended to disagree.  It WAS only February and STILL officially winter.  Even if that old groundhog said we would only have 6 weeks of winter left, I would go by what my grandma and mama always said..."There will be another cold snap before Easter."  And Easter is not until late April this year.  Oh well, I will take these beautiful, warm days as they come and enjoy every minute of them.  A picnic in February?!...What a wonderful Valentine's Day gift for those of us in the south!

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