by Kezia Bacon

Picnic Lunchbreak is a new column co-sponsored by Edible South Shore & South Coast and the North and South Rivers Watershed Association. Its purpose: pairing restaurant takeout options with beautiful outdoor places, to encourage al fresco dining, even in winter!

Many area nature preserves offer picnic tables with gorgeous views. Need a break from your routine this week? Bundle up, place an order, grab your food, and meet a friend for a refreshing dining experience. Not only will it bring some light to the grey days of the pandemic, it will demonstrate your support of local restaurants during this challenging time!

If you’re looking for a quick walk in a convenient location, consider the 0.3-mile loop trail at Duxbury’s Cow Tent Hill Preserve. Located just north of St. George Street on Route 3A (Tremont Street), the 32-acre property is managed by the Wildlands Trust. Look for the 4-car parking area at the roadside, and then continue to the informational kiosk. From there, you have options. Turn left for the wide, easy “barrier free” trail. You’ll find a bench, a picnic table, and some appealing views of the Duck Hill River after 0.14 miles. The trail to the right is more challenging. It leads up and over Cow Tent Hill, with additional river and marsh views. It’s double the distance to the picnic area, but still a relatively short walk.

The Duck Hill River finds its source in West Brook and North Hill Pond. After flowing through the Cow Tent Hill Preserve, it meanders through the Duxbury marshes for quite a distance before flowing into Duxbury Bay.

For lunch, I recommend takeout from The Anchor, just around the corner. The newly expanded menu features assorted appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, burritos, several entrees and a few desserts, plus craft beer and wine to go.

I chose the Fried Shrimp Roll, ten fresh breaded shrimp with the tails removed, served on a toasted brioche bun with shredded lettuce and a side of Sriracha Tartar Sauce. Only half the shrimp actually fit into the roll . . . not a problem as far as I’m concerned! The sauce had a pleasant kick to it, spicy but not overpowering. All of The Anchor’s sandwiches come with hand-cut fries, . . . and these are not your average fries. They’re some of the best around — thin crispy strips of potato with some skin intact and just the right amount of salt. I opted for a side of Rosemary Mayo, for dipping, and it was delish.

The Anchor and its partner next door, Oysterman, consistently offer outstanding food. Updated seasonally, their menus feature fresh takes on classic dishes, plus occasional surprises. “The Plover,” a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich is always winner in my family, as is “The High Hook,” which swaps out the chicken with beer-battered cod. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are always available.

The Anchor
289 St. George Street, Duxbury
781-452-7594
https://www.anchorandoysterman.com/the-anchor-menus/
Hours: Daily 12-9

Cow Tent Hill Preserve
1280 Tremont Street Duxbury
https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/cow-tent-hill-preserve/
Hours: Dawn to dusk

Edible South Shore & South Coast
https://ediblesouthshore.com