People who live on Anna Maria Island have more occasions than most to pack up some food to go. One of the most obvious and appealing reasons to pack a picnic is to take it to the beach. Whether it’s to eat at one of the picnic tables at island beach parks, or to enjoy on a blanket under an umbrella, there is nothing more pleasant that eating at the beach.
Several times we have spontaneously thrown our supper into a large tote bag, and driven to Bay Front Park to eat at a table. Last year, this was where we enjoyed Christmas dinner, followed by a long, leisurely walk around the top of the island. Once, on New Year’s Day, we took a small brunch to the beach and enjoyed it on a park bench. Part way into the meal, an elderly man wandered over and asked if he could join us. The three of us sat side-by-side on the bench staring at the Gulf. We offered him a cookie, which he accepted.
Another island activity that often calls for packing a picnic is boating. Whether it’s sandwiches, or supper, there’s nothing as pleasant as eating a nice meal on the water, especially if the weather is pleasant. And if the weather isn’t pleasant, good food might be even more of a welcomed addition to the day. One day last summer we were sailing in Tampa Bay and the afternoon storms were worse than expected. We lowered the anchor and heaved to. As we sat below wincing at the lightning strikes, I was glad that I could offer some good food to help pass the time and distract us. We enjoyed Cuban and turkey sandwiches, watermelon, mango, grapes and brownies. If it had turned out to be our very last meal, at least it would have been a good one.