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Plan your perfect Long Island picnic at these scenic spots

Find your perfect picnic spot, paired with food

It’s a gorgeous day, the cooler is loaded up with ice--all you need is the perfect spot to munch on barbecued corn, spare ribs and all the other summer staples that taste infinitely better on a picnic. Here are picnic spots, paired with food and drink ideas for dining al fresco after a year that's been nobody's idea of a picnic.

WINE COUNTRY PICNIC

THE SCENE

  • The rustic North Fork region of sprawling vineyards and Chateaulike tasting rooms has been compared to California’s wine country.

  • Osprey’s Dominion in Peconic is one of the more picnic-friendly vineyards with loads of outdoor tables for wining and dining near the vines. (44075 Main Road, Peconic, 631-765-6188)

  • For a blanket-level view of the scenic waterfront, try the wide lawn at Mitchell Park in downtown Greenport, where kids can ride the antique carousel. (Front Street, Greenport, 631-477-2200)

  • For a full list of wineries visit newsday.com/wineryfinder; call ahead for picnicking policies.

PAIR IT WITH

A sumptuous cheese board. Michael Affatato, owner of The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck, can create a wine-pairing platter with selections from 200 cheeses available in-store — from Belgian goat to housemade truffle Brie — as well as bread, cured meats, caviar and cookies. (105 Love Lane, Mattituck, 631-298-8556, thevillagecheeseshop.com)

Rosé is a "beautiful summer wine" that goes well with a cheese board, says Pat Pugliese, owner of Pugliese Vineyards in Cutchogue, which is currently selling its 2016 rose. Croteaux Vineyards in Southold is dedicated solely to making rosé, says vineyard spokesperson Nora Mack. Pick up a bottle en route to your picnic.

ROARING TWENTIES LAWN PARTY

THE SCENE

  • Sailboat-dotted Northport Bay sparkles just beyond the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum’s Great Lawn, which became a popular picnic spot when museum events moved outdoors last summer, says spokesman Patrick Keefe.

  • Blankets can also be spread on the grass around the renovated (and filled-in) saltwater pool and terrace, and in the backyard of the 24-room Spanish-Revival mansion built by yachtsman/adventurer William K. Vanderbilt II of the famous railroad family, Keefe says (Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport, 631-854-5579, vanderbiltmuseum.org).

PAIR IT WITH

Willie K and his second wife, Rosamund, had a "refined palate," says Killian Taylor, the museum’s archives and records manager. Cold lobster, Maryland chicken and other helpful hints for stocking a Vanderbiltian picnic basket can be found on the menu at Petit Trianon, the Lake Ronkonkoma restaurant built by Vanderbilt.

Dry Champagne was the Vanderbilt’s favorite refresher, Taylor says. Willie K also sipped Stirling Punch, named after his brother, three-time America’s Cup champ Harold Stirling Vanderbilt. Variations of the rum and fruit juice punch recipe are posted online.

BEACH BLANKET BARBECUE

THE SCENE

  • The Atlantic surf crashes on a panorama of sugary white sand as far as your sunglassed eyes can see when you throw down a blanket at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh.

  • The most beloved picnic spot is the sandy patch just east of Field 6, but arrive early to score a table and grill because the area fills up quickly, says George Gorman Jr., state parks regional director.

  • You can also toss your shrimp and steak on the barbies at Zach’s Bay (Field 5), Field 10 (the fishing piers), the West Bathhouse, Field 2, and the less crowded Field 1 and West End 2.

  • Boaters can dock for a picnic at the West End Boat Basin. ($10/car vehicle use fee through Sept. 12.)

PAIR IT WITH

Classics from the original Jones Beach concession menu board: hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries drenched in ketchup. Go for the gusto for the drinks: beer and soda from Field 6, the Central Mall, Zach’s Bay and other Jones Beach concessions.

PICNIC AND PLAY

THE SCENE

  • Relax under shade trees by the scenic waters at Belmont Lake State Park while the family chef whips up a feast fit for an old-fashioned picnic day. Grills and picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis; pavilions can be rented for larger groups.

  • Then get ready for family fun at one of the state’s most activity-filled parks. Kids ages 2 through 12 can romp in two playgrounds.

  • Rent a rowboat, paddle boat or kayak for a self-guided tour of the lake ($20 for two hours, personal flotation devices provided), or bring your gear to fish for bass or sunfish from the shoreline (New York State fishing license required for anglers age 16 and up).

  • Hike, bike, jog or take Snoopy for a walk on the park trails through the woods. ($8/car vehicle use fee through Labor Day, parks.ny.gov)

PAIR IT WITH

Not into spatula duty? Let the experts do the cooking at All American Hamburger Drive-in, the iconic roadside fixture a short drive away, where cheese-covered patties have been flipped (and flipped over by local meat lovers) since 1963. (4286 Merrick Rd., Massapequa, 516-798-9574, allamericanhamburgerli.com) Make it a one-stop food run with an All American vanilla, strawberry or chocolate thick shake. ($2.40)

DUCK POND PICNIC

THE SCENE

  • Gerry Pond Park in Roslyn is arguably the Island’s most picturesque (and romantic) picnic rendezvous.

  • The park’s emerald lawns, picturesque gazebo, historic monument and old mill (with adjacent patio picnic tables) surround a charming duck pond where waddling waterfowl inevitably go quacking by.

  • It’s bordered by beautiful homes in the Main Street Historic District and the community’s Bryant Library. (northhempsteadny.gov)

PAIR IT WITH

Fresh pastry. Diane’s Bakery Cafe in the park neighborhood sells apple, triple berry and banana cream pies as well as tarts, squares and butter cookies fit for a picnic in the grass. (23 Bryant Ave. Roslyn, 516-621-2522, dianesroslyn.com)

Drink something cool on a warm afternoon. Consdier an iced coffee (hazelnut, French vanilla or coffee crumb) from Delicacies Gourmet Delicatessen, also located near the park. (1354 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-484-7338, delicaciesdeli.com)

PARK FOOD TRUCK PICNIC

THE SCENE

  • Eisenhower Park’s 930 acres have been picnic central since the park opened in 1949 (originally called Salisbury Park, it was renamed in 1969 for former President Dwight D. Eisenhower).

  • Stage a big, family-style blowout by reservation (Nassau County resident Leisure Pass and fee required, 516-572-0347) or a more intimate cookout at the first-come, first-served tables in the shade between parking field 3 and a big, colorful playground.

PAIR IT WITH

Food truck fare. At least a half dozen food trucks will be "spread throughout the park" this summer, selling wontons, sausages, burgers and ice cream, according to Nassau County spokesperson Michael Fricchione.

For the drinks: Fresh-squeezed lemonade for a picnic spot that’s as American as a Norman Rockwell painting.

Illustration by Neville Harvey

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