The Durham Picnic Guide: Wine Lover's Edition
Photo by alabasterfox
With the wine feed

The Durham Picnic Guide: Wine Lover's Edition

By Avivah Furman
Friday, May 04 2018

’Tis the season for picnicking! So here it is, your quintessential guide to picnics, Bull City-style: we’ve got your picturesque picnic spots and staple take-out spots all taken care of. And here at Offline, we’re strong believers in Parisian-style picnicking (ie: Wine is MUST), so we reached out to the coolest new wine spot in town, The Wine Feed, for expert-level vino recommendations that’ll take your picnic from plain, to perfect.

Picture-Perfect Picnic Spots

Explore the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Photo by @estlinhaiss

Sarah P. Duke Gardens +196 fire icon

Often spoken of as "the crown jewel of Duke University," Duke Gardens are pure, natural bliss. Be sure to stroll through the gardens before you settle on spot to put down your basket. You’ll find Japanese-inspired sections, lush floral terraces, towering trees and wide, green fields—it’s pretty obvious why Duke Gardens has been recognized as one of the nation’s premier public gardens.

Explore the Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Free   .  Sarah P. Duke Gardens   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Local Escape: Bask in the Glory of the Eno at Eno River State Park
Photo by @art_sick_labs

Eno River State Park +318 fire icon

Minutes from downtown Durham and Chapel Hill, the Eno River State Park offers secluded spots, made extra serene with the sounds of the rushing river in the background. Specifically, West Point on the Eno, a smaller park located inside Eno’s natural area, is ideal for picnicking. There, you’ll find lush lawns, easy access to the river, a gorgeous dam, even an old-timey mill. Sit back, relax and bask in the glory of the Eno.

Local Escape: Bask in the Glory of the Eno
Free   .  Eno River State Park   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Take a Stroll Through the American Tobacco Campus at American Tobacco Campus
Photo by @twellesnc

American Tobacco Campus

This Durham architectural gem brings together history and modern design, creating a unique environment for lounging, strolling, and going on a photo snapping binge. There’s a large lawn in front of the infamous Lucky Strike tower that’s perfect for setting up shop and spending a few hours.

In the summer, they host an uber-popular monthly-ish music series, “On the Lawn”. Boogie down to a rotating roster of free, kickass shows. Just be sure to get there early for a prime seat—the lawn fills up fast!

Take a Stroll Through the American Tobacco Campus
Free   .  American Tobacco Campus   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Explore the Beauty of Jordan Lake at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
Photo by @terry_shore_photographer_usa

Jordan Lake

The beautiful Lake Jordan, located just south of downtown Durham, offers plenty of spots to picnic, be it by land, or sea—or, lake in this case. It's the perfect day trip with stunning natural views and activities for all, from hiking to swimming to fishing and more. Ditch the shore and rent a boat to take your picnic out onto the water—just be sure not to rock the boat too much! Soggy sandwiches and spilt wine would be a huge bummer.

Explore the Beauty of Jordan Lake
Free   .  Jordan Lake State Recreation Area   .  Apex
Favorite icon

Grab 'n Go

Savor a Lazy Sunday at Foster's Market at Foster's Market
Photo by @fostersmarket

Foster's Market

Start picking up quaint picnic vibes before you even lay out your blanket. Foster’s is an adorable shop and general store with made-to-order sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, baked goods and more. If you’re feeling brunch-y, know that they serve breakfast all day (using locally-sourced eggs!)—grab some OJ and a bottle of Champs and you’re set. And one last pro-tip: that homemade Seven Pepper Jelly they slather onto sandwiches? Dangerously addicting.

Raise a glass with a Cotes du Rhone red, Rosé, or Beaujolais

Savor a Lazy Sunday at Foster's Market
$$   .  Foster's Market   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Binge on Blissful BBQ at the Q Shack at The Original Q Shack
Photo by @theoriginalqshack

The Original Q Shack

Looking for a backyard BBQ, without all the hassle? Head to The Q Shack where the pros produce NC's O.G. meal of choice—scrumptious barbecue at its finest, with your hushpuppies, collards, coleslaw, sauced up meats (brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, burgers, et al.), mac n cheese and corn on the cob, seasonal specials and much much more.

Bottoms up with a bottle of Zinfandel, Rosé, or Riesling

Binge on Blissful BBQ at the Q Shack
$   .  The Original Q Shack   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Chomp Down Poké at ZenFish at ZenFish
Photo by @gabslab


Head to Zenfish for fully-customizable poké bowls and burritos (yes, poké burritos!). Inspired by Hawaiian cuisines, Zenfish is focused on locally-sourced ingredients, posi-vibes and healthy bowls of filling fish with all the fixins.

Pop a bottle of sparkling Cava, Gewurztraminer, or Chenin Blanc

Chomp Down Poké at ZenFish
$   .  ZenFish   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Enjoy Sweet and Savory Slices at The Pie Hole at The Pie Hole
Photo by @pieholedurham

The Pie Hole

Go all in on a pie picnic. At The Pie Hole, you can score creative slices of sweet and savory pie (think Strawberry Lavender, Veggie Kale and Cereal Killer Cheesecake). With so many options, you can basically have pie for your main dish and for your dessert. Have enough slices of each, and it’s a totally well-rounded meal.

Cheers with a glass of Bugey, Sparkling Rosé, Loupiac, or any sweet red

Enjoy Sweet and Savory Slices at The Pie Hole
$   .  The Pie Hole   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Abduct an Outta-this-World Burrito at Cosmic Cantina
Photo by @joshbousel

Cosmic Cantina

At Cosmic Cantina, you'll find burritos so good, they transcend their late-night reputation. You'll dine like royalty on these super delicious, super affordable eats. Feast on freshly made, authentic tacos, guac and queso. And try washing it down with a glass of crisp rosé. It's a surprisingly perfect pairing—you'll thank us later. Cheers!

Wash it all down with Rosé, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Godello, or Viura

Abduct an Outta-this-World Burrito
$   .  Cosmic Cantina   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Crisp Salads & Fresh Smoothies at Happy + Hale Durham at Happy + Hale Durham
Photo by @happyandhale

Happy + Hale

Keep it healthy with scrumptious salads and hearty bowls from Happy+Hale. DIY your own concoction or choose from their expertly-crafted menu full of things like the Chimichurri Steak Bowl, Thai Chicken Crunch or Ensa-lot-a. Everything’s so good, you’ll almost forget it’s good for you.

Toast to your health with Sauvignon Blanc, Cotes de Gascogne, Pecorino, or Pinot Grigio

Crisp Salads & Fresh Smoothies at Happy + Hale Durham
$   .  Happy + Hale Durham   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Experience Fresh, Neapolitan Pizza at Pompieri at Pompieri Pizza
Photo by @pompieripizza

Pompieri Pizza

Fired at 800 degrees and featuring local ingredients, Pompieri’s Neapolitan-style pies are pure perfection. Snag a few specialty pies to share—the ‘Drunken Horse’ is always a fan favorite, as is their DIY option—toss in a salad, and some red wine and you’re good to go.

Fill your cup with Nero d'Avola, Red Lambrusco or Primitivo

Experience Fresh, Neapolitan Pizza at Pompieri
$   .  Pompieri Pizza   .  Durham
Favorite icon

A Word About Wine

Cheers at The Wine Feed Durham at The Wine Feed Durham
Photo by @@vitaviteraleigh

The Wine Feed Durham

Awesome reccs, right? Who knew rosé and tacos were a match made in heaven?

It's all thanks to Raleigh's coolest wine shop and bar, The Wine Feed, which has officially expanded to Bull City. Beyond savant-level knowledge about wine, their new space includes a kickass bar, shockingly affordable retail section (ie: avg bottle will run you about $15) and comfy lounge. They also offer small plates, special events (keep an eye out for their ever-popular 'Corks + Cakes' tasting), wine clubs and classes galore. No shame in sticking around for a quick tasting flight when you swing by to pick up that perfectly paired bottle—bartenders this in-the-know are just the kind of people you want to hang with.

Cheers at The Wine Feed Durham
$$   .  The Wine Feed Durham   .  Durham
Favorite icon

Past Experiences

Listen to Stories at Audio Under The Stars at Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Photo by @audiounderthestars

Center for Documentary Studies

CDS’ beloved Audio Under the Stars series is back with a summer-long festival full of fascinating local stories. Grab a snack and some vino, and head over to their lush garden downtown for the perfect date night. Just lie back, gaze up at the stars above, and enjoy this one-of-a-kind, al fresco show.

Listen to Stories at Audio Under The Stars
Free   .  Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University   .  Durham
Favorite icon
Shop Local at the Durham Farmers' Market at The Durham Farmers' Market
Photo by @durhamfarmersmarket

Durham Farmers' Market

Open in Durham Central Park on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Farmers’ Market is the perfect spot to build your own rustic-style picnic, full of local goodies. Peruse the stalls, snag a fresh loaf of bread here, some in-season fruit there, a bit of local cheese and boom—picnic accomplished. Be a little extra and grab a handcrafted bouquet to up the romance and make your picnic insta-worthy.

Clink for the camera with sparkling wine, Rosé, Pinot Noir, or Tempranillo 

Shop Local at the Durham Farmers' Market
$   .  The Durham Farmers' Market   .  Durham
Favorite icon
The Durham Picnic Guide: Wine Lover's Edition
The Durham Picnic Guide: Wine Lover's Edition