It’s fall. That magical time of year when the weather feels crisp, hot apple cider is at every turn, and the leaves turn breathtaking shades of yellow, orange, and red. Not to mention, it’s time to pull out those cute fall/winter boots! As a native Californian, fall in DC surprises me every single year. I’m like a kid who just met Santa Claus for the first time even though this is my 8th fall on the east coast! (Whoa.) Fall isn’t something I take for granted. I try my darnedest to enjoy every minute of it because I know what’s coming next — straight up bitter cold. One of my favorite things about fall is picnics. Not just any picnic, but fancy picnics. I’m a visual person. Good food + good wine + a well thought out and attractive set up with some ambiance = my happy place. I love pulling out some nice wooden charcuterie boards, local apples, goat cheese, and crackers. Of course, we can’t forget the wine.
Sri, a friend from home and lead vocalist of Los Angeles-based folk band Smithfield Bargain, was in town visiting and I knew exactly how to knock her socks off. No one, I mean no one, can resist the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, especially when there is wine tasting involved. So I packed a bag of goodies, rented a car, and we took off to Glen Manor Vineyards in Shenandoah.
Not only were the views absolutely gorgeous at Glen Manor, but the hospitality was top notch. The owner’s wife greeted us and gave us a complete history of the vineyard along backstories of each wine we tasted. (While the show stopper here is definitely the wine, I have to note that both Sri and I devoured the bread they provided to accompany the wine. My God, that bread was good.) After our wine tastings, Sri and I decided to purchase a bottle of their Vin Rouge. We found a spot in the vineyard’s open area and set up camp for the day. Here’s what we pulled out of my bag of fancy picnic things:
- Honey crisp apples (my fall favorite)
- Dried apricots
- Goat cheese (If you can stomach lactose, you can try other cheeses. You lucky person, you.)
- Trail mix
- Fig spread
- Wooden charcuterie board (See Etsy for amazing boards. I bought mine at Marshalls.)
- Cheese knives
Eat these in different combinations for unique tastes. For example, I couldn’t get enough of having a piece of chocolate with a piece of dried apricot. I was in heaven. Try some other combinations and see what you like! If you’re interested in putting your own fancy picnic together, I pulled together a handy little graphic I like to call “The Anatomy of a Fancy Picnic”. It’s not rocket science, but it’s a start. Swap out some things you don’t like, and add others you do like. Happy fall picnic-ing!