That faint semblance

Jeff, Drew, Matt and I enjoyed a picnic at Cal Shakes  before a wonderful production of Arms and the Man, July 2003

Jeff, Drew, Matt and I enjoyed a picnic at Cal Shakes
before a wonderful production of Arms and the Man, July 2003

“That faint semblance of Eden, the picnic in the greenwood.”Herman Melville

If there’s anything more festive than a picnic, it’s a picnic at a fabulous outdoor theater just before a stellar production.  The California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, California, invites audiences to bring their own feasts (or buy food available there) and enjoy al fresco dining in their picnic areas before curtain time.

The sublime climate proves nature’s own air conditioning is best. Eucalyptus and oak groves, situated against a stunning mountain backdrop and scattered with sculptures, provide an aesthetic experience that surpasses any electronic special effects I’ve ever seen.

I’m not sure how we discovered the theater affectionately known as “Cal Shakes,” but I’ve found that hardly any tourists, and surprisingly few locals, seem to have heard of it.  What this tells me is that there are well-kept secrets everywhere, and I’m challenging you to play detective and scout out a wonderful, perhaps lesser-known spot for a serene springtime picnic.  (Then you can report back to us so we can enjoy it if we are ever in your neck of the woods!)

I’ve noticed picnic tables scattered in unlikely places such as shopping centers, libraries and other non-park settings, but of course, the best place to hunt may be a city, county or regional park that’s not a huge tourist spot.  Or it may be a place that doesn’t have a picnic table at all – but a blanket and perhaps some folding chairs or tables can turn a lovely clearing into an unforgettable luncheon.  The birds and crickets will provide music that’s way better than Muzak.

The next time you have a few hours available on a warm, sunny day, pack some of your very favorite treats and beverages, and head for an outdoor setting.  If you’re like us, you’ll find yourself asking “Why don’t we do this more often?”

One year ago today:

Have a picnic

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Julia, you’ve inspired me again! Sandy and I are going to organize a picnic this weekend, possibly at Dock & Paddle at Como Zoo. Thanks!

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