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dr.com Father's Day Picnic - June 21, 2015, Noon to 5pm


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Anybody up for a picnic?  Traditionally the Don Rockwell Picnics are held at Fort Hunt Park, on a Sunday, at site C-2, typically noonish to late afternoon.  People come and go.

The event is a pot luck.  Some people cook, some people buy food, some bring drinks, some bring serving stuff.  Low key.  Alcohol is allowed.  So are pets.  Children warmly encouraged.  Games may be played.

Of course it won't feel like a picnic without Zora.

At any rate, I am up for reserving the spot.  Please indicate willingness, and suggest dates.  Last time I arbitrarily picked a date but usually we have a vote among the willing.

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Lack of interest.

I feel like a five year old, but why?  I would love to ask members that haven't responded but are fairly active why the lack of interest.  Is it that we aren't interested in connecting personally to people we are friends with online?  We have other priorities for our weekends?  Is it that many of our core membership have moved?

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I feel like a five year old, but why?  I would love to ask members that haven't responded but are fairly active why the lack of interest.  Is it that we aren't interested in connecting personally to people we are friends with online?  We have other priorities for our weekends?  Is it that many of our core membership have moved?

Unfortunately, all I'm able to tell you is trends; not reasons. Reestablishing the social fiber of this community will take, I believe, some effort from somewhere outside of my jurisdiction; right now, we're the definitive reference for DC restaurants, but we're not a socially active community. There's no reason that can't change in the future, but someone is going to have to step up and make it happen - I look at my job as providing a platform for everyone, and not getting in their way.

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C-2 is available Sunday May 31, and Sunday June 21.  Based on past experience, I know that if I make the reservation and there actualy is a lack of interest, I can cancel it and be out of pocket $10, which is well worth it to me.  Kicking myself in the butt because I qualify for an Interagency Senior Pass (I am 62), and if I already had one I could get a discount.  But I need the pass number to make the reservation.  Going to apply for one now for future use.  It's only $10 and is good for my lifetime.

If five people tell me to pull the trigger, I will do it.  Past experience also tells me that once it's a thing, people will come.  Not as many as the Golden Years of Rockwellian picnics but enough to be pleasant company.

What say you all?

BTW, Don, don't worry about reimbursing me.  I'm cool.

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FWIW, part of the reason I have never come despite having the desire to do so is the location. It's far enough to make it a lengthy time commitment to attend. On a nice spring or fall day that's easily an hour drive each way for me despite me living not far outside of the beltway. But perhaps there aren't many of us for whom it's inconvenient.

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FWIW, part of the reason I have never come despite having the desire to do so is the location. It's far enough to make it a lengthy time commitment to attend. On a nice spring or fall day that's easily an hour drive each way for me despite me living not far outside of the beltway. But perhaps there aren't many of us for whom it's inconvenient.

Thanks for the comment.  It's nice to know this for future planning.

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Ok, a yes vote from 22029, Thistle and ktmoomau.  That's only 3.  Hoping this post will bump us up again.  I will also bump the fall thread so anybody who is getting email from that will know we're working on this.

Jen, re: location.  I live in Fairfax, it takes me close to an hour to get there, but on Sunday usually the traffic isn't bad.  The location is excellent, there is a shelter in case it rains, lots of free parking, lots of picnic tables, lots of open space for kids to play and picnickers to bring outdoor cooking gear.  Also, they allow alcohol which the state and county parks don't (most of them).  The rest room is not far.  So to me, it's worth the trip.  Heck, everything I do seems to take me close to an hour to get there, anyway.

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Ok, a yes vote from 22029, Thistle and ktmoomau.  That's only 3.  Hoping this post will bump us up again.  I will also bump the fall thread so anybody who is getting email from that will know we're working on this.

...

I "iiked" the original post so definitely a "yes" vote from me as well. My issue is I can't be 100% sure of making whatever date until closer to the time. But, maybe better than 75% likely I'd be able to and surely would like to.  Agree with others who value the offline opportunities this website sometimes affords and has in the past.

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I'm in either date, +2 in May or +3 in June.

Choirgirl, I drive an hour to the picnic every time, and there are others that drive further. This is the only location in the metro area that we have found that allows us beer, wine, and open fires.

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I'm in either date, +2 in May or +3 in June.

Choirgirl, I drive an hour to the picnic every time, and there are others that drive further. This is the only location in the metro area that we have found that allows us beer, wine, and open fires.

I don't think Choirgirl was objecting to the venue, I think she was just answering my question, which I really appreciate.

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Reservation made for 6/21/15, which, coincidentally, is Father's Day.  Cost $200.  Ooof.  Bit the bullet. Need to get a senior pass.

Maybe the fact that it's Father's Day will actually create buzz.

Thanks Ilaine. I will pay for the picnic grounds (it's a legitimate business expense for me).

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Marking it on the calendar...I'll be there, w/ bbq (probably) & kombucha-I've just started brewing it, it freaks my kids out & I like how it tastes.

Here's hoping we have a lovely day in June & a record turnout/revival for the picnic.

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We will try to make it.  The location is a bit remote, but I know from experience that it is not easy to find a public park that allows booze.

Assuming we make it, we will be armed with several gallons of home-made ginger ale and some form of meat.

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For me, too far. Probably for many? Location skewed too south. Why not more central location?

This is where it has been for a long, long time - a couple people have asked in the past, but there have never been any serious discussions about moving it. VA parks let you bring your own booze, so that's a nice plus, and the parks are super nice as well, with a pavilion in case it rains.

But the first one we had was in DC, if I recall, and I'm absolutely open to having them there in the future. What I'm worried more about is participation, as everyone seems to want to do their own thing now, and meetups have become largely obsolete. That's fine, and I'm happy the website is a valuable resource, but it makes planning events something of a challenge.

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This is where it has been for a long, long time - a couple people have asked in the past, but there have never been any serious discussions about moving it. VA parks let you bring your own booze, so that's a nice plus, and the parks are super nice as well, with a pavilion in case it rains.

But the first one we had was in DC, if I recall, and I'm absolutely open to having them there in the future. What I'm worried more about is participation, as everyone seems to want to do their own thing now, and meetups have become largely obsolete. That's fine, and I'm happy the website is a valuable resource, but it makes planning events something of a challenge.

Where in DC did you do the first picnic, Don?

I am also bummed that participation/meetups have been on the decline.  After the last picnic, we tried to get some feedback about what people would like to see and what it would take to get them to an event - but we didn't get a lot of response.

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The booze isn't a "nice touch" - it's a minimum requirement.

That location is, quite literally, the only one we've found in the entire DC Metro area that has a pavilion (in case of bad weather), and allows alcohol and grills.

If someone knows of any other facility that has these amenities, SPEAK UP!

It takes me an hour to get to the park, and while I find that very annoying, I put up with it because we don't really have another choice.

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Sounds like the ideas outlined in The Tipping Point.  Basically, after a group/organization gets to a certain size (over ~150 people), it becomes less intra-active.

Also, when I first joined DR was around the last of the great picnics, and quite frankly it's because all the early members of the board said they were coming.  The newer folks joined to enjoy the thoughts, insights and online companionship of the longer-term members because they are a huge draw to the enjoyment of DR.com, but I wonder if they stopped coming because now it was just a bunch of new folks they didn't know and hadn't had much interaction with.

ETA --- ooooh, 666! spooky!

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The booze isn't a "nice touch" - it's a minimum requirement.

That location is, quite literally, the only one we've found in the entire DC Metro area that has a pavilion (in case of bad weather), and allows alcohol and grills.

If someone knows of any other facility that has these amenities, SPEAK UP!

It takes me an hour to get to the park, and while I find that very annoying, I put up with it because we don't really have another choice.

I have a big community room in my condo that could host a picnic of the size I have seen in years past.  I think it costs $25-50 to rent out.  But there is no place to grill, there is a range and oven.  I am not saying that be used for this picnic, but it could be used, I would be happy to book it, it would be an indoor picnic, but...  I live right in Arlington, half a block from a metro and there are several parking garages within 2 blocks of my home (street parking is scarce).  So just food for thought for another time.

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I will be there with at least a plus one right now.  Still trying to decide what to make, although I think I promised on another thread to bring pepperoni rolls.  That should be a big draw people, these are going to be authentic Amish Nanny recipe pepperoni rolls.  I will bring something else too, right now I am thinking a fennel, apple salad with blue cheese and bacon, but I could change my mind on that.

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Where in DC did you do the first picnic, Don?

I am also bummed that participation/meetups have been on the decline.  After the last picnic, we tried to get some feedback about what people would like to see and what it would take to get them to an event - but we didn't get a lot of response.

I'm not sure about a DC location, but the first picnic I attended was at Belle Haven Park, a little closer in on the GW Parkway. Picnic sites can't be reserved there, so several of us took shifts the morning of the picnic 'guarding' tables that had been clustered together. No alcohol is allowed at that park either, so whatever was consumed was done on the sly.  "We" (including I) have looked for other locations that might be more central and allow reservations/alcohol, but haven't found any.

People have/do travel quite a distance to get there, but obviously that's not possible (or desirable) for everyone. The park is 7 miles from the Beltway. In the past, folks have carpooled or picked up car-less members from the Metro.

All that being said, I'm planning to be there and have no idea (yet) what I'll be bringing.

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But the first one we had was in DC, if I recall, and I'm absolutely open to having them there in the future. What I'm worried more about is participation, as everyone seems to want to do their own thing now, and meetups have become largely obsolete. That's fine, and I'm happy the website is a valuable resource, but it makes planning events something of a challenge.

Where in DC did you do the first picnic, Don?

I am also bummed that participation/meetups have been on the decline.  After the last picnic, we tried to get some feedback about what people would like to see and what it would take to get them to an event - but we didn't get a lot of response.

I'm not sure about a DC location, but the first picnic I attended was at Belle Haven Park, a little closer in on the GW Parkway. Picnic sites can't be reserved there, so several of us took shifts the morning of the picnic 'guarding' tables that had been clustered together. No alcohol is allowed at that park either, so whatever was consumed was done on the sly.  "We" (including I) have looked for other locations that might be more central and allow reservations/alcohol, but haven't found any.

The very first picnic was organized through egullet before dr.com was created.  It was held at Montrose Park in Georgetown and set the bar high for future endeavors.

The second picnic was a cheese tasting at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X park.  If memory serves there were 8.75 of us (a peanut was still incubating) and we had to make more than one run for wine.  We were still over at egullet; I can't find the thread for more details.

The first official dr.com picnic was held at Belle Haven Park.  We had to hide the wine and it took the effort of a number of members of the Don Rockwell Society to reserve the space.  The location was fantastic but a pain in the ass to pull off.  We had one or two more picnics there before they moved to the current location.

What most people probably don't realize is that one of the primary reasons the board was created was because egullet, where the "old timers" came from, decided to change the nature of their forum and in doing so changed the rules about social gatherings.  Being the group of miscreants that we were we left.  When Don created this forum the social gatherings increased and the picnics became regular events.

Over time though people change, the board evolved, and with it the events.  This is neither a good nor bad thing; it is just different.   The "old timers" didn't stop attending because new people arrived, we just moved on, which happens in life.  My advice is to not compare each picnic to those in the past; enjoy each one as they happen.  Personally, my favorite picnics were the smaller ones.

If you are bored, or have been on the board for a while and are feeling sentimental, you can read about our first few years of picnics and events here, where this post probably belongs.

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Over time though people change, the board evolved, and with it the events.  This is neither a good nor bad thing; it is just different.   The "old timers" didn't stop attending because new people arrived, we just moved on, which happens in life.  My advice is to not compare each picnic to those in the past; enjoy each one as they happen.  Personally, my favorite picnics were the smaller ones.

If you are bored, or have been on the board for a while and are feeling sentimental, you can read about our first few years of picnics and events here, where this post probably belongs.

This is *exactly* what I'm talking about when I say we need new blood. Long-time members are going to move on - that's just life, but to replenish them, we've got to recruit and keep new people, and there's no reason it can't happen.

If anyone thinks about their place of work, think of younger people who might be new to the area - we can help them get their footing, restaurant-wise. Have them join, and have them write me.

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I have all the random leftover picnic stuff (tablecloths, plates, plasticware) stored in my garage, & I plan to be there to set up (I live right around the corner). I'm having fun thinking about stuff I could bring, besides pulled pork & pound cake, things I think I have brought to every picnic I've been to. It would be wonderful if we had a lot of new folks (or people who just haven't been able to make it to a picnic before) show up, we could hang out, eat good food, drink alcohol, & complain about how hot it is (end of June, guaranteed, sounding like that Cajun guy).

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I don't think the site has a grill (& if it does, it's a small, grungy one), but I'll be bringing a camp stove that has a small grill & single burner.
I won't be cooking on it, so it's open for grilling & reheating.

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I don't think the site has a grill (& if it does, it's a small, grungy one), but I'll be bringing a camp stove that has a small grill & single burner.

I won't be cooking on it, so it's open for grilling & reheating.

Does anyone have a grill they can bring? I'll be happy to pitch in for a truck.

This is *exactly* what I'm talking about when I say we need new blood. Long-time members are going to move on - that's just life, but to replenish them, we've got to recruit and keep new people, and there's no reason it can't happen.

If anyone thinks about their place of work, think of younger people who might be new to the area - we can help them get their footing, restaurant-wise. Have them join, and have them write me.

I think only one person has done this. :( Is it really *that hard? I learn something new from members of this website almost every single day.

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We have both a Weber kettle grill and a Texas smoker that can double as a grill, with a big surface.  The Weber is charcoal with a propane starter.  The Texas smoker also uses charcoal, obviously, and we have a chimney starter. We do not have a truck.  We live in Fairfax, Powell Road off Braddock, near the State Police Station.  We would be happy to let anybody have the use of them for the picnic.  You will need to supply your own charcoal.  We have utensils and skewers, including the sword type for kebabs.

We also have wood, e.g., cherry, plum, and apple trees that didn't make it, and some grape vines, stored in our garage, that we would not mind letting people use.  We're not giving it all away because we have a fire pit and a fireplace, but will share for the picnic.

Downside would be transporting them afterwards, I don't know how long they take to cool down.

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Okay, no grill.  I was thinking of grilling shrimp, but that would require a larger grill.  I've developed an allergy to them (don't get me started about how I feel about being allergic to shrimp, lobster, and crab) and I believe I have some very nice shrimp in the freezer that need to leave my home.  But I'll bring my little propane camp stove and do a steamed preparation instead.  Benefit--I can use a LOT of the garlic chives that are infesting my herb garden. 

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For future reference, Carderock Recreation Area located just outside the Beltway in Maryland (adjacent to the C&O Canal and Clara Barton Parkway) has a picnic pavilion that can be reserved and accommodates up to 200 people.  Beer and wine is permitted.  The cost is $250 which includes the alcohol permit.  Although it has been at least a dozen years since I was there, I recall that it is a lovely area and allows for hiking along the towpath.  Pets are permitted.  Reservations can be made to a year in advance although firms often use this site for company picnics so as I recall, dates fill up quickly.  Just another option for the future.  Information from their website:

Facilities:

There are 30 picnic tables in or around the pavilion and electricity, in the form of 4 110-volt outlets, is available for your use. There are two large grills outside the pavilion and a large fireplace within the pavilion. Water and comfort stations are located nearby. 

There is a softball field and an area for volleyball or relay games. Horseshoe pits are near the front of the pavilion. All are for your use during your event. You must provide the sports equipment, though poles are provided for volleyball or badminton.

Activities and Amenities Within Facility
  • Accessible Flush Toilets
  • Accessible Grills
  • Accessible Parking
  • Flush Toilets

A link to their website is: http://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/carderockpicnicpavilion.htm

- Paul

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Paul, that's awesome, and I immediately nominate this site for the Fall picnic. It would be great to have a picnic that is 15 minutes from my house, though I nearly always go to the Fort Hunt picnics, which are an hour away.

ETA: Available October 11....

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I'm late to this discussion, but I figured I might as well chime in on why I don't go to these very often and why I don't even bother reading these threads on a timely basis anymore (I generally catch up after the fact).  The location is impossible for me.  I have two states - walking and travelling.  If I am going to drive that far out of the city, I am going to be staying the night, and there are no campgrounds there.  If I'm travelling, I plan stops in the suburbs en route to other things, but to attend a picnic in far flung Alexandria, I would have to write off the entire day and make JLock drive for much of his - that is some major family political capital that I can't usually afford.

Although I would love to see one of these in the city, those who generally plan and attend have never really suggested it or seemed that amenable to it, and I don't have the time to take another event planning task on myself, so I just sit out this one.  I'm always there in spirit though and love running into y'all when you venture into the city.

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