San Jose area schools are gearing up for the first day of school this week; our local teachers have already started getting the classrooms ready. With the flurry of activity, buying all the school supplies and getting registered, things can get pretty stressful. Whether the kids you know have started school already, or not, why not take a Saturday and bring a tea picnic to the beach? The kids will love it!
San Jose is situated about 45 minutes from Santa Cruz, where the most popular beaches are. There are picnic areas on or near all the public beaches in the Santa Cruz area, and, of course, there is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, with all the rides and events. Most beaches have grill boxes or bonfire rings to make it easy to barbecue some of your food and boil water for tea. Parking tends to be minimal, so arrive early to secure a good spot. Beach parking in town (Santa Cruz, Capitola, etc.) is not free and often hard to find.
In packing your tea picnic, non-perishable, easy-to-transport finger foods should be the rule. Some items, like “pigs-in-a-blanket” and, of course, marshmallows for s’mores, can be speared on skewers and cooked over the bonfire or grill box. Plenty of iced tea, or tea punch, is the perfect refreshment. If you go to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, you can even buy Masala Chai and Bubble Tea from the vendors there!
Cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches with fresh chives
Peanut butter and honey sandwich shapes
Cold tuna salad sandwiches with fresh garden tomato
Fresh melon kabobs
While Pink Popcorn is a locally-made (San Francisco) favorite, it can be hard to find; usually it’s sold at the Boardwalk, but you can also order it (by the case) directly from the company, Wright Popcorn & Nut Co. Some cookies from your tea party pantry would be convenient to grab and stash in the picnic basket; Linens ‘n’ Things even carries a Tea Set Picnic Basket, to make it really easy! Bring the iced tea in a Thermos, some chai ice cream with the ice in a separate cooler, slide a few tea books in your bag with the sunscreen, towels and your favorite CDs or iPod, and you’ll be ready for your mini-vacation, close to San Jose!
Copyright 2011, Elizabeth Urbach.
For more information:
“Tea masters: more advice for brewing tea on the beach”
“Ease the first-day-of-school jitters with a tea party”
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Celebrate the Fourth of July with a tea party picnic!”
“Tea 101: how to have a tea party for children”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Iced tea and how to make it”
“Barbecue with tea for Labor Day”
“Memorial Day in San Jose calls for iced tea”
“5 books that should be on the tea-lover’s bookshelf”
Tea set picnic basket from Linens ‘n’ Things
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Driving directions to the Boardwalk
“Beach Picnics: how to pack a healthy beach picnic cooler” by Nannette Campbell
“Beach picnic recipes”
“Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Attractions: Beaches”