Yesterday we bought a blanket on the fly, packed up a little picnic lunch along with our study materials, and drove ourselves north to the suburbs of Indianapolis. Even though the trip took an extra 20 minutes from painful construction (womp), it was so fun to pack up our things and get a change of scenery. Since the grass was a leeetle wet and muddy, we decided to set up our picnic on the steps right by the fountain, next to the town hall. The sun shone without being too aggressive, the area was quiet and serene, and the food tasted even better because we were relaxed, having fun, catching up on life things since lately true quality time happens on weekends.
And even though I grew up in Zionsville and rivalry feelings never truly go away, I'll admit downtown Carmel is pretty darn... pretty. The streets are clean and the town buildings are "old fashioned," regal and beautiful. The statues scattered up and down the street are a little weird and a lot of fun, even when you're 24 years old and ergh why can't we act like adults in public. The shops have their own little charm, and the coffeehouse where we set up camp was quaint with pretty good Internet and smooth, strong coffee - important factors for students obviously.
We ended our mini daytime adventure with some fast casual dining and drove back to Indy a little fuller, a little smarter (debatable), a lot happier, and ready to meet up with friends for some drinks. All the things that really matter on a weekend :)
- Carmel Civic Square: they do fun concerts on Wednesdays, including jazz and rock. I went last year and had a blast, and totally think this is worth checking out (it's free too!)
- Teabuds Brewing Co: good coffee that doesn't have a sour aftertaste and a solid music selection. Apparently the bubble tea is super popular too and who doesn't like a good bubble tea?!
- Piada: Italian street food! Think of an Italian style Chipotle, where instead of a carnitas burrito you can eat a calamari piada with Caesar salad-like stuff inside. It's a chain so I think there's actually one by Keystone mall too. I got a chicken balsamic salad with the garlic piada bread and was so happy with the quality. Nums.
- Picnics don't have to just be sandwiches! Pack up some cold homemade pizza, it sounds weird but it was so satisfying.
- Don't pack too many perishable foods, you don't want to be carrying around leftovers all day! We stuck with some sweet peppers and strawberries to accompany our pizza, which was just the right amount of sides. Plus those kinds of things can easily fit in sandwich baggies and can be eaten with your hands, so you don't have to pack up any silverware!
- Always bring something sweet for dessert - I packed up an emergency chocolate bar and a few cookies (recipe coming soon), and Andrew brought a box of Samoas so we had plenty of sweets. Keep these things in a lunchbox with an ice pack or in the shade while you eat your lunch, or else the sun will get them too melty!
- Be smart with your packing! We managed to pack all that food up in that picture in just 2 regular sized lunch carriers. The cookies fit perfectly in an empty Talenti gelato container. The strawberries and peppers didn't need a huge container so I just stuck them in sandwich bags to save space. The pizza got wrapped up in some saran wrap and that's all it needed. We even managed to sneak in two cans of La Croix, you'll be surprised how much you can fit if you think about it smartly. I love my lunch bag in particular because it has ice pack built into the bag so you don't even have to put in an ice pack for it to keep things cool.
- Picnic blankets are nice to have, but not necessary! We bought one at a yard sale right before leaving because for some reason yard sales were all the rage this past weekend, but even if we didn't have one we would have just dined on a picnic table and all the food would have been just as yummy. Picnics are all about relaxing and having fun, so don't stress too much!