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Autumn Picnics

Mimi O'Connor

Sure, it’s sad to see summer come to a close, but the end of the season of beaches and barbecues also means fall — a favorite around here — is on its way. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures, local harvest, and natural splendor and pack up a picnic and go. Here are some of our must-haves for making the most of dining al fresco with friends this autumn.

A Basket A picnic’s not really a picnic without a basket, and there’s nothing quite like a Longaberger. All of the Newark, Ohio-based company’s baskets are woven by hand and signed by the maker. Choose a classic, natural wood model, or go crazy with a purple or rich red one.

A Blanket Something to sit on is pretty much required as well. We love the Motor Robe throws from our friends at Pendleton, which roll up nicely and come with their own leather carrier. Made of 100% wool in the U.S.A., these blankets come in 11 cozy plaids and authentic Scottish Tartans.

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A Bag with Space and Style Carry all the essentials and then some in a lovely but rugged tote like the Turquoise Matea Weekender. Big enough to hold everything, yet compact enough so it doesn’t weigh you down

A Standout Spread Elevate your grilling or sandwich game by making your very own mustard. This spicy homemade mustard kit from Brooklyn DIY Supply has everything you need to craft a condiment to remember.

A Cool but Casual Shirt Strike the perfect weekend balance of relaxed yet pulled together in our Plaid Boyfriend Shirt, which not only looks good well into the winter months, but is also built to be a wardrobe staple for years.

Libations No bottles? No problem! Boxed wine has come a long way, so check your preconceptions at the door and embrace this ecological, economical (and lightweight!) option. Try a universally praised red like Black Box Cabernet, or a crisp white such as The Great Escape Chardonnay.

Something to Throw On They call it sweater weather for a reason. Greet any chill in the air with a mid-weight layering piece like the French Terry sweatshirt by CynJin .

Some Good Game Eat, drink, and be merry, but don’t forget to do some kind of activity to get the blood pumping. We recommend low-tech options such as Frisbee, badminton, or a rousing game of kickball. Don’t want to break a sweat? An old standby like Scrabble is a good choice for those who need mental stimulation even when chilling.

Socks Another reason to celebrate the end of summer?: Retiring open-toed shoes and slipping on some cozy socks. (Not to mention getting a little lax with the pedicure regimen.) Treat yourself to some saucy striped Italian ones in buttery-soft cotton.

Don’t Forget the Dog It’s a tough call: who loves a picnic more — you or your canine friend? All that running around calls for hydration. Bring along the stylish and sturdy Canvas Water Bowl from Found My Animal to help quench his thirst.

Mimi O'Connor is a freelance web, book, and magazine writer residing in Brooklyn, New York.