Photo Credit: Craig Miller, Serenity Now Outfitters
For this edition of picnic pics, I found myself traveling to some very old stomping grounds that brought back many a pleasant thought. Another adventure was in the works, as the good times rolled and the picnic basket was loaded to the brim, signaling that a feast was soon to be had in the wild and wonderful outdoors. A destination location that you may never really stumble upon, Sherwood Lake Recreational Area, located in the Monongahela National Forest in Greenbrier County, is the light at the end of the tunnel on a dead end road.
The road is anything but dead, teaming with vibrant wildlife and sprawling forests, mountain meadows and trickling streams of water. As you approach the entrance to Sherwood Lake, which is maintained by the US Forest Service, you will see several roadside pull-offs, some of which permit camping and day usage. These spots are ideal locations to have a picnic lunch, as many of them butt up against the beautifully rhododendron-lined and trout inhabited Meadow Creek.
Joined once again by Christina Entenmann, we stopped in White Sulphur Springs at the popular Vines and Grinds restaurant before we made our way to the lake. After a pleasant conversation with the manager, Sadie Fraley, complete with recommended wine and food pairings, we embarked on a journey that I had personally been on more times than I can remember. The picnic basket was seriously loaded to the brim now, practically busting at the seams with savory goodness.
A few miles before the lake we pass by two small former convenient stores on the right. A touch of nostalgia begins to set in. Outside the first store is a small timber frame structure lined with chicken coup wire. The previous owners used to keep live rattlesnakes here, in which over time was replaced by squirrels, and then eventually firewood. The other shop next door is where you bought your ice cream. According to my brother and I, it was a choice destination location. Positive family memories that last a lifetime rekindled, we continued our drive for our feast by the lake.
As you enter the Sherwood Lake Recreational Area, you will be directed to a small building on your right. This is the check-in station, and there is a minimal day usage fee of $3. A very small amount to pay for serenity and a change of pace, the fee helps keep the Recreational area open and up kept.
Once we pulled into the main beach access parking lot, Christina and I grabbed our things, including the prized picnic basket, and walked over the small humped wooden bridge to the island on the lake. Laying down a blanket alongside a grove of cattails, shaded by a canopy of towering pine trees, we unpacked our delicious treats from Vines and Grinds.
First off was a well thought out cocktail portion of Boar’s Head brand meats and cheeses. Exposed to this brand in my college years, the deli cuts are some of the best around, and proved to be a great way to start off our picnic lunch. My main course consisted of the ample VG3 Panini, compiled with a hefty serving of ham, bacon, provolone and pepper jack cheese, herb and garlic cheese spread, on sourdough bread. Christina opted for the Vegetarian Greek Wrap, which looked so tempting; I secretly snuck a bite while she wasn’t looking.
Our wine pairing for the afternoon was a bottle of 2009 Bourgogne Chardonnay. Since alcoholic beverages are not allowed at the lake, we snapped a few photographs of the wine atop our picnic basket for aesthetic purposes, leaving the bottle corked and intact. Choosing to share a few glasses together once we returned home, the wine was absolutely delicious.
Spending time here reminds me of just how lucky we are to have this magical destination in our own backyard. Whether it’s for a romantic getaway, or fun for the whole family, you can’t go wrong with Sherwood Lake. If you need someone to help fill that picnic basket before you go, be sure to stop by Vines and Grinds in White Sulphur Springs. They certainly made our picnic day at the lake complete. Find them above and online at facebook.com/vinesandgrinds. Full menu available at lbspy.com/vines-grinds.
– Craig Miller @ LBSPY #39 (Aug 12-26th, 2013)