When Bird Key Park was first renovated, I fell in love with one of the picnic tables. Its bright blue canopy offers shade, and its long seats offer endless views of Sarasota Bay. Turn your back to the water and native blanket flowers line the pathway.
I took John there for one of our date nights. As the sun set into the bay, we sipped white wine and snacked on shrimp cocktail and brie…just the two of us. The table sits by itself and is pleasantly private for a public park. Since that night, I’ve been convinced that the best tables in Sarasota are right under my nose and don’t have to come at the cost of an overpriced pina colada.
Lately John and I have been sneaking away from the office to O’Leary’s at Bayfront Park. A few perks of working for yourself are that you can stretch a lunch hour when needed and bring your dog to work with you. O’Leary’s is dog-friendly, and between the sailboat scenery and the guy singing Jimmy Buffet covers, it’s an insta-vacation even if it is only for an hour. But now we’re inspired to be both Luke-friendly and budget-friendly. Once a week, we’re taking our picnic basket on the road to find and lunch at the best picnic tables in town. We started today with Payne Park…
…and egg salad sandwiches.
When you get to Payne Park, look for the tall green fencing and netting of the tennis courts; the picnic table sits along the nearby pond. Travel the paved path and you’ll see it tucked into a line of trees. Beyond the sound of tennis balls bouncing here and there, it’s a quiet, private and peaceful spot.
The table conditions are perfect – part sun, part shade with a garbage can conveniently close by. There was a cool breeze flowing through, and the water lilies are in full bloom. We’re off to a good start with Payne Park and looking forward to next week’s table!