The Europeans have a great idea when it comes to dining alfresco. They do it every chance they get. When I have traveled in Europe, one of my favorite things was to notice how many ways people ate their meals outside. An Italian family, spied from the balcony of my hotel room in Pienza--in their backyard, table cloth covered table laden with carafes of wine and platters of pasta. French workers sitting along the roadside, taking a two hour lunch break from their labors. Sophisticated young people enjoying cocktails on the Piazza Navona in Rome at sunset. Irish girls sitting at a sidewalk cafe with their cappuccinos on a sunny day in Dublin. (Irish lads with their Guinness).
When the sun shines, the Europeans are out in droves having a meal or at least a coffee in it. The food can be simple, the clean up is easy and the fresh air is invigorating (and probably good for the digestion). We Californians are a close runner up when it comes to being outside as much as possible, and most people I know have devoted space to outdoor dining.
At the moment, all my patio furniture is covered up with tarps for the winter, so unless I spread a blanket on the patio itself, there is no place to sit. Yesterday, the sun peeked out for an hour or so and I made an effort to get out in it. I put Sophie on a leash and we went for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. It did us both good.
My fantasy is to have a covered porch. With a little bistro table that is never covered up, rain or shine. A place where I can sit and enjoy a drink or a meal no matter what the time of year or what the weather. A view of water wouldn't hurt either.