3 ideas for planning the perfect picnic

by Julia Miller Posted in Homeowner resources /   July 29, 2014


Summer is winding down and school supplies line the store shelves. Now is the time to enjoy the outdoors before the weather shifts in many areas of the country. And what better way to make the most out of warm days than a picnic? Summer picnic planning can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Check out these three unconventional ideas: 

1. Finger food feast
If dining al fresco sounds great, but PB&J isn’t your style, skip the traditional main-side-dessert model and go with finger foods. Sliced fruits and vegetables, nut butters, cheese, salami and French bread can make for a rich spread with little assembly. Olives, figs, crackers and chocolates also make great additions.

Kick it up a notch…
For unique picnic gear, check out Picnic at Ascot. You can select a fabric and then choose from a variety of baskets and carriers, many with built-in coolers and pockets for plates and utensils.

Picnic at the park

2. Ice cream sundae bar
Ice cream? On a picnic? It’s possible with Zak! Ice Cream Container Tubbies. These tubs feature thick insulation and a freezer-gel lid that can keep ice cream cold for hours. Simply pack a few tubs of your favorite flavors, bring along a variety of toppings and have family members or guests create their own sundae masterpieces on site. Opt for paper bowls and plastic spoons for the easiest cleanup.

Kick it up a notch…
To make the event even more special, make your own ice cream to serve at your picnic. Check out these recipes from the Skinny Mom blog. Or, for those with common food allergies, check out this book on dairy-free ice cream. The author also features recipes for chocolate ice cream and strawberry frozen yogurt on her blog.

3. Time for takeout
Not a whiz in the kitchen? No problem! Opt for takeout and spend the majority of your energy creating ambiance. Beautiful blankets, cushions and colorful dinnerware can set the stage for amazing food. Bring along tiki torch lanterns for dining into the night.

Kick it up a notch...
For a larger group picnic, give guests takeout assignments. Send one person out for those to-die-for sweet potato fries at the local grill, another for sandwiches at an artisanal deli and a third for cupcakes from a favorite bakery. It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite restaurant fare—all at once!

For more ideas, follow our Picnic Inspirations board on Pinterest!

Richmond American Homes takes pride in selecting neighborhood locations near schools, local amenities—and parks—where you enjoy picnics and other outdoor recreation. Go to RichmondAmerican.com to start your home search today.

Great places to retire you may not have considered

by Matt Brady Posted in For buyers /   July 24, 2014


We all want to live where we'd like to retire, but many of us don't exactly know yet where that is. Should it have beaches or mountains, skiing or surfing, a dry or a humid climate? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Fortunately, with over 35 years' experience exploring (and building in!) great places to retire from coast to coast, we've got a few suggestions you may not have considered before. We've capped this list at 9 amazing locations from states we currently build in, but we have plenty more favorites for you to explore in our Best Places to Live series.


Senior tennis

Cave Creek

Teeming with outdoor recreation and less than an hour's drive north of Arizona State University and Scottsdale, Cave Creek is up-and-coming while still delightfully small-town, with a population of just over 5,000 that's proud of preserving its Old West heritage. Take, for example, that as recently as 2009, Cave Creek settled a draw in a local election with a game of chance.

Explore Lone Mountain in Cave Creek >

Oro Valley

Named one of the top 10 safest suburbs in the United States by Movoto Blog, Oro Valley lies just north of Tucson, wedged in a scenic valley between the Tortolita and Catalina mountains. Residents enjoy enviable access to both the Great Outdoors and amenities within the larger Tucson area, like the University of Arizona and Tucson International Airport. And though Oro Valley is part of an arid climate, a fun ski day at Mount Lemmon is only about two hours away.

Explore Torreno at Rancho Vistoso in Oro Valley >


Garden Grove

Located in the northern section of Orange County, Garden Grove is central to a number of hot spots, including popular theme parks, Huntington Beach, Chino Hills State Park, sporting venues and more. For its fun-packed city life and recreational opportunities, Garden Grove makes an easy addition to our list of great places to retire.

Explore Walden in Garden Grove >

San Elijo Hills

Set amid the breathtaking hills of San Marcos, San Elijo Hills is a burgeoning town and natural playground, with mile upon mile of open space and hiking trails offering up idyllic views of mountainscapes and the Pacific Ocean. If you're still raising a family, San Elijo Hills is conveniently located within the high-achieving San Marcos Unified School District. Residents also anticipate the completion of a walkable town center with a laidback, neighborly vibe.

Explore Sanctuary at San Elijo Hills > 


Fort Collins

A thriving college town in Northern Colorado with enviable natural attractions and a distinct cultural identity, Fort Collins is one of the Front Range's well-established gems. Home to Colorado State University, Horsetooth Reservoir, a host of well-renowned breweries and a top-notch Old Town area that once served as the blueprint for Disneyland's Main Street USA, Fort Collins is a city that keeps getting better with age.

Explore Bella Vira in Fort Collins > 


A small town just north of the US Air Force Academy outside Colorado Springs, Monument enjoys a beautiful location just east of Pike National Forest, with easy access to Colorado Springs and Castle Rock via I-25. For a quiet bedroom community with burgeoning amenities and a killer location on the south Front Range, Monument is well worth your consideration. 

Explore Remington Hill at Jackson Creek in Monument >

Senior golfing


Ponte Vedra Beach

The seaside community of Ponte Vedra Beach lies in between Jacksonville and historic St. Augustine. Among the many things it's considered a destination spot for is that quintessential pastime of the well-tanned retiree: golfing. Famously home to TPC Sawgrass, which hosts the PGA's Players Championship, Ponte Vedra Beach also boasts a variety of other top-notch courses in the area. Plenty of sun, watersport and golfing with easy access to dining and shopping—it's everything coastal retirement should be.

Explore The Palms in Ponte Vedra Beach >



Less than an hour's drive south of Las Vegas, Henderson has earned its bona fides as a desirable city in Nevada that's low on crime with a high quality of life. Forbes has named Henderson both a best suburb for retirement  and one of the safest cities in the US.

Explore Arroyo Summit, Griffin Park & Madeira Canyon in Henderson.



Ranked on NerdWallet's best cities for homeownership in Utah, Lehi is the Beehive State's sixth-oldest city, and hence comes packed with all kinds of fascinating history. For example, you can visit where the Pony Express once ran through the area. Located where Utah County borders Salt Lake County, Lehi is well-positioned for access to a variety of area amenities, including the Thanksgiving Point complex, Utah Lake State Park and the Salt Lake Valley just to the north.

Explore Willow Springs & Colonial Park in Lehi.

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