Picnic spot: The beach at Golden Gardens (or just one of the benches along the Shilshole marina if you’re too lazy to walk that far.)


Walk It Out: Hop, Skip and a Jump from Ballard to Beach


Picnic spot: The beach at Golden Gardens (or just one of the benches along the Shilshole marina if you’re too lazy to walk that far.)

Picnic supplies: Sunset Hill Green Market, 6405 32nd Ave NW., 784-7594, Ballard.

Picnic for two: My brother once said of my cousin Kari and I, after we demanded he join us for Into the Woods, "you're like Frasier and Niles or something." My grandmother, ever exasperated at my manners and dress, would certainly beg to differ. But not wanting to disappoint my brother's high assessment, we decided to create the snootiest picnic we could from the limited deli selection at this tiny Ballard market. It also couldn't require utensils or a bottle opener, which I had forgotten. No small task. We settled on Ryvita dark rye crackers, Honey I’m Home's roasted garlic chevre spread, grapes, a walloping bottle of La Fin du Monde beer in honor of Kari's pending study abroad in Quebec, and a bar of 3400 Phinney Hazelnut Crunch Chocolate by local confectioner Theo for dessert. Our little feast was $24.40 after tax.

Walking it out: I used to live near Sunset Hill Green Market, about as far West as you can find groceries before ending up in Puget Sound. Around the corner on 64th, you can almost see the tops of the yachts moored at Shilshole. But a row of houses stands between you and the water so I’d never really wandered past the store. Kari and I were determined to find a way through, but even dodging through someone's yard was prevented by tall fences and hedges.

We were starting to give up on our visions of beach picnicking when a helpful neighbor directed us down what appeared to be a private drive. To the left, shrouded by greenery, was a staircase straight out of The Secret Garden--if you blurred your vision and pretended the graffiti was flowers.




The path dumped us out on the Burke-Gilman trail and we wandered through the Shilshole parking lot to Golden Gardens where there was a light mist, almost like rain, but nothing too severe to hamper our enjoyment of the day. We parked on one of the logs for some people watching and dug in.

It turns out that penchant for fancy-schmancy booze and cheese aside, Kari and I are nothing like the stuffy snobs of the sitcom. No knives for spreading meant we broke off bits of the deliciously seasoned crackers and used the spread like a dip--and we’re shameless double-dippers. This was followed by popping the cork off the floral, yeasty brew and consuming it straight from the bottle, which we hid from the park patrollers driving along the beach.

The weather actually cleared up a little about the time Kari looked out and saw an enormous sea lion swimming toward us. He (she?) barked, we clapped, and then a group of kids playing nearby saw and went running for the water shouting: “Orh! Orh! Orh!”

We polished off the beer, which at 9 percent ABV packed a punch making it perfect for sharing. Then we packed up the leftovers and enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the car parked back up at the market.

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