Finger foods that keep well are crucial to a successful picnic. Think cheese plates with hard or semi-hard cheeses, assorted meats, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh berries. Maybe some fresh veggies cut to size. Crackers or tear-able bread such as a baguette. And perhaps some homemade cookies for dessert.
|A sampling of our favorite picnic foods.|
- Greenwood Gourmet Grocery: Located off 250 past Crozet and on the way to several wineries. Fabulous sandwiches, wines, craft beer and soda, local cheeses and cured sausages, fresh bread, and other snacks.
- Feast!: Located near Downtown, on Main Street and featuring a wide selection of cheeses and deli meats, pre-packaged nuts and candies, dips and spreads, ready-made sandwiches, and wines.
- Foxfield Inn: Did you know we can pack your picnic lunch? Featuring wraps, unique gourmet finger foods, cookies and more, check our special packages page for more info.
Whether your drink of choice is a local wine, craft beer or cider, mead, kombucha, or gourmet soda, bear in mind (especially if your picnic involves a hike) that this will be the heaviest part of your picnic pack. If you're going to be picnicking at a winery (see below), stop by their tasting room and purchase a bottle of your favorite vintage.
|Some of Starr Hill's popular beers.|
- Vineyards: Our top picks for vineyards within a short driving distance are King Family, Veritas, and Stinson. All have excellent wines that can also be found in several local retail shops.
- Market Street Wine Shop: Tell these folks what you're eating and your budget and they will recommend one of the best bottles of wine you've ever had. Located across from the Downtown Mall.
- Blue Mountain Brewery: Fill up a growler to go with any of their popular brews. One of the most popular local breweries around. Try their Full Nelson.
- Starr Hill Brewery: Stop by their new tasting room and grab a growler of your favorite beer to-go. Some beers are limited edition, so get 'em while they last.
- Want a drink that's gluten-free? How about a hard cider made from local Virginia apples? Bold Rock Cider's 6-packs offer one perspective; Albemarle Ciderworks's ciders come bottled like champagne; both are available at several gourmet grocery stores.
Whether you're picnicking with your loved one or with a group of friends, the venue can be the dealbreaker. Charlottesville has dozens of spots with gorgeous views for quiet time, and plenty of outdoor concerts this summer for a more social scene.
|Mint Springs is lovely any time of year.|
- Jefferson Vineyards: "Sunsets Become Eclectic" Summer Concert Series. Enjoy live music at this Charlottesville winery near Monticello, 6-8pm. Select Saturdays through September.
- Jammin' on the James: Dorrier Park, Scottsville, 5-8pm. Set up by the river and enjoy live music the first Sundays of the month through September. Free admission.
- Trump Winery: Third Thursdays, 6-8pm. Enjoy live music and fresh pours from their award-winning wines.
- Stinson Vineyards: Tailgate Thursdays, 6-9pm. Call ahead to reserve local meats to grill or bring your own picnic and enjoy live music. Through Labor Day.
- Veritas Starry Nights: Set up under the stars to enjoy live music, dancing, and Veritas wines. A very popular summer event and perfect for a social picnic. Tickets available online.
- Roseland Polo: At King Family Vineyards. Sundays through mid-October. Check the website for match start times and weather updates.
- Mint Springs Valley Park: Open dawn to dusk. Take a swim in the mountain-view lake to cool off. Several picnic shelters with grills, or set up in a grassy spot for more privacy.
- UVA Lawn: Soak in Thomas Jefferson's "academical village." Set up on the main Lawn to enjoy the University's architecture (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), or invite yourself in to one of the public gardens behind a pavilion for a more secluded experience. Make it a true UVA experience by picking up sandwiches from the students' favorites Take-It-Away or Bodo's Bagels, just a short walk away on the Corner.
Other picnic necessities to pack: Blanket for sitting upon, bottle opener or corkscrew, cooler for your food, drinking glasses, silverware and a small knife for cutting/spreading, games or books for conversational downtime, sunscreen, bug spray, trash bags and moist towlettes for cleaning up.
What else do you think makes for a perfect picnic? Though we can't control the weather, leave a comment or let us know how else we can help your next Charlottesville date night go off without a hitch.
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed & Breakfast