by Kezia Bacon
Picnic Lunchbreak is a weekly 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!
With more than 1,000 acres of conservation land, the town of Pembroke offers quite a few beautiful places to explore. If you’re looking for a convenient spot to sit and enjoy a meal, I recommend Herring Run Park on Barker Street (Route 14). There is a well-placed bench right beside the brook, close to the parking lot. Or cross to the open field and look for the 3-table picnic area.
A short way downstream from the park, Herring Brook joins with the Indian Head River to form the North River. Every spring herring swim from the ocean and up 12+ miles of waterways — against the current — to reach their spawning grounds in the Pembroke ponds. The best, but also busiest, time to visit the park is April and early May, when the herring are running and you can actually view them in the stream! But any sunny day will do for a Picnic Lunchbreak!
If you also have time for a walk, there are two places very close by. Hop into your car and head around the corner to Little’s Avenue, where you can access the Bicentennial Nature Trail. It extends for about 0.4 miles through the woods and into a dense freshwater marsh on the other side of Herring Brook. Or turn the opposite way on Barker Street and head to Willow Brook Farm, where you’ll find 3 miles of varied trails and boardwalks.
For lunch, consider Adam’s Falafel, just over the town line in Hanover. This relatively new spot on Route 53 offers much more than falafel. While the menu features numerous salads, sandwiches, and custom-made smoothies, I recommend that you first consider the Middle Eastern specialties. There are kabobs, shawarma, and wraps featuring chicken or beef, as well as numerous meatless options — hummus, tabouli, grape leaves, fattoush, baba ganoush, and of course, falafel.
I chose the falafel wrap, which involved lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and three crisp-fried falafel coated in sesame-based sauce and wrapped together in an enormous round of pita bread. Measuring nearly a foot in length, it could have easily provided lunch for two! I also tried a side of tabouli — a parsley salad dotted with bulgar wheat, plus chunks of tomato and onion, in a lemony vinaigrette. And — just like at Yaz’s Table, featured in an earlier column — how could I not sample the baklava? These come in sets of two, rolled into log shapes. I tried to stop at one, but you know how that goes.
Adam’s Falafel offers a full line of halal and kosher meats, poultry and spices. Everything is prepared on the premises and served fresh. There are plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
409 Columbia Road, Suite 200, Hanover
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-8pm • closed Sunday
Herring Run Park
149 Barker Street, Pembroke
Hours: dawn to dusk
North and South Rivers Watershed Association
Edible South Shore & South Coast