Summer is by far my favorite season of the year. Sunshine, road trips, backyard barbecues and late evenings spent on a neighbor’s porch listening to the storms roll in…it’s hard to believe it’s nearly over! As the temperatures begin to cool and humidity becomes less offensive, Southerners gain more tolerance for wandering back outside again, making it the perfect time for a picnic. Keep it casual or gussy it up as much as you want. Anything goes when it comes to packing a picnic and if you are needing direction for a starting place, remember there are only two rules: food and finding the right setting.
Food: Select foods that are simple and not too messy. Individually wrapped sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, crackers, breads, cheeses, meats, nuts and something sweet for dessert could all be potentials on the menu. Many local stores in Greensboro (think Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Giacomo’s Italian Market, Harris-Teeter, Sprouts) offer ready-made sandwiches and side options making it a cinch to grab and go. Packing cups, plates, silverware, napkins and hand wipes are just as important as the food. Now that you’ve got the basics, lets offer ideas for finding the perfect location.
Location: Wineries and breweries are great options that allow you to bring your favorite picnic basket to enjoy what’s on tap. Here are a few of my local fav’s:
Junius Lindsey, Lexington, NC: This little gem offers an open-air tasting room for you to sample and purchase their estate bottled wines which offer “a little Rhone in the Triad”. If you visit over the weekend, you’ll typically find music and food trucks.
Zimmerman Winery, Trinity NC: Tucked away on an unassuming road in the middle of nowhere, this winery is one of my favorites as it reminds me of home. Growing up in Northeastern Ohio, vineyards were plentiful…however, that was well before the days of bus tours and nearly all wineries operated on solely a tasting room. At Zimmerman, stepping inside the rustic tasting room takes me back to the days of visiting vineyards during harvest season. Watching workers tote fresh grapes to the wood presses and being allowed to sneak fresh pressed grape juice. It’s a memory that will never escape me. This property boasts both amazing views from their patio that overlook the vineyards below and an incredible story behind the naming of their wines.
Haw River Farmhouse Ales, Saxapahaw, NC: There are two things I love most about Haw River. The first is they brew with locally sourced ingredients that are not necessarily the most common in a fermented beverage. You will find items such as pine needles, rosemary and balsamic vinegar on the menu, which gives an interesting spin on the flavors. The second? Location. With nearby outdoor seating overlooking the river and access to hiking trails, you simply can’t go wrong. Within an hour, there are several great parks to choose from:
Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle, NC: If you are looking for stunning views, this is my top pick. Just beyond the summit parking lot, follow the split rail fence and you’ll find the perfect spot to site and relax. On a clear day, the view extends for several miles over the Piedmont and if you’re lucky, you may even have a rock climber pop their head up over the edge to say hello.
Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC: A portion of Hanging Rock includes easy access to several waterfalls within the park. Window, Hidden, Upper Cascades, Lower Cascades and Tory Falls are all a quick hike from the nearest parking area.
Boone’s Cave Park, Lexington, NC: Located right along the Yadkin River, the picnic shelter offers a great view of the river. If you prefer something more private, the trails easily lead to areas along the riverbank.
As a North Carolinian transplant, I have truly grown to love the variety of beautiful spaces within and around the Triad. It’s hard to even name just a few because there are just too many! As a recap, picnicking only has two rules, food and location! If you need help sourcing items for your picnic or searching for the perfect location, give us a call, we are here to help.