Article and photos 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!

One of my all-time favorite places for a nature walk is the Indian Head River, a major tributary to the North River. Starting at Luddam’s Ford Park in Hanover, follow the old railroad bed all the way upriver to Hanson. Don’t miss the side trails with their exceptional water views! Then cross over to Rocky Run Conservation Area, and work your way back downstream through the Tucker Preserve and into the Pembroke side of Luddam’s Ford. Both sides feature grassy fields with picnic tables. This 2-3 hour hike through diverse terrain is a great way to build up an appetite, but you can also do shorter “out & back” walks at any of the locations mentioned above.

For lunch, I recommend takeout from Epicurean Kitchen, just 2 miles away. I opted to start with something warm — the Sweet Potato Soup, a savory, herb-infused blend served with a focaccia roll. I rounded out my meal with the Grain Bowl, a hearty mix of farro, bulgur, and wheatberries tossed with red beans, kale, spinach, and a chili-lime vinaigrette. (Three varieties of chicken are available as add-ons.)

At Epicurean Kitchen, you’ll find comfort food with a twist. The “artisan but not fussy” menu varies, with several soups, numerous salads, and quite a number of warm and cold sandwiches, including the Grilled Cheese of the Week. When possible, ingredients are sourced locally. Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options are always available.

Kezia Bacon is a wedding celebrant, yoga teacher, and writer based in Marshfield.

Epicurean Kitchen
644 Washington Street (across from Starland), Hanover

781.826.2101
https://www.theepicureankitchen.com
Hours: Monday & Friday 11-3, Tuesday-Thursday 11-7

Luddam’s Ford Park
243 Elm Street, Hanover

https://www.nsrwa.org/listing/luddams-ford-park-hanover/
Hours: dawn to dusk

North and South Rivers Watershed Association
www.nsrwa.org

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