It is no secret that Charlestonians savor a slower pace of life—one that invites friends and neighbors to gather on a piazza at sunset and linger long after twilight has set in. The splendor of spring heralds the return of picnics and al fresco parties—a pastime that takes its cue from Charleston’s charming “city set in a garden” ambiance.
We want to share this lovely time of year with you! Today’s post has two parts: Charleston Picnic & Garden Party. Keep reading to discover some of our favorite tastes, tips, settings, and sights!
Pimento cheese, duck confit, or sorghum brownies… a great selection of gourmet sandwiches, green salads, and Lowcountry favorites is available for carry out in Charleston. For added ease, click the “View on Map” tab to see the physical location of your options.
Here are a few highlights of Charleston’s scenic public places:
More than 15 acres on the bank of the Ashley River with picnic tables, park benches, a playground, shade trees, and onsite parking. Ideal for families.
Chapel Street Fountain Park
A pocket-size enclave of greenery surrounded by beautiful private homes in the Mazyck-Wraggsborough neighborhood. Ideal for romance.
Hazel Parker Playground
While many visitors to Charleston are familiar with Waterfront Park and White Point Gardens, or “The Battery” as it is commonly called, this intimate spot located on East Bay Street is often overlooked. Ideal for families.
The rich history of this sprawling 64-acre park has been documented by the Charleston Horticultural Society, which created an audio walking tour called Layers of the Landscape. Enjoy the heirloom rose collection, large pond, and nature trails. Ideal for walking off that extra brownie.
Hear church bells, horse-drawn carriages, and local accents drift past this shaded park tucked away behind a series of gorgeous iron gates. You’ll find it at the intersection of Broad and Meeting streets, which, incidentally, is referred to as “Four Corners of Law.” It may also be accessed from cobblestone-lined Chalmers Street. Ideal for soaking up Charleston ambiance.
This 12-acre greensward that overlooks the Charleston harbor is popular year-round thanks to its swings, benches, and two refreshing fountains. Ideal for snapping a souvenir photo in front of the Pineapple Fountain.
For a more complete list of picnic spots, visit the Charleston Parks Conservancy website.
We love to see people enjoying their time in Charleston. Share photos of your picnic by using the hashtag #Charlestonly when posting to social media.
In 1950, the Junior League of Charleston compiled hundreds of family recipes for Charleston Receipts, a spiral-bound cookbook that, as a testament to its timeless appeal, is still in print today. The storied collection of local flavors starts with a dozen festive party punch recipes— Charleston Light Dragoon Punch, Cotillion Club Punch, St. Cecilia Punch, and so forth.
We salute the ladies and gentlemen who invented the Legaré Street Punch, “a very palatable drink with plenty of authority,” and the Champagne Punch recipe, which yields a whopping 650 servings.
How is that for a hint at the enthusiasm with which Charlestonians like to entertain?
Cheese straws, shrimp canapés, pickled okra—all of our favorite cocktail party bites are also found within Charleston Receipts. What you won’t discover in the tradition-steeped cookbook is our favorite tip for a modern twist on cheese straws. Here it is:
Earlier this week, we packed up our lunch, threw a cheerful linen over a card table, borrowed a few curios from the bookshelf, and carried chairs into the garden for an impromptu party. We had such a delightful time that we did it again the following day with tea and dessert! And as we make plans to dine outdoors with a whimsical theme for the third time in one week, we wholeheartedly agree… a Charleston Garden Party is always a good idea!