Life’s a Picnic

written by COLLEEN ANN MCNALLY | styled and photographed by CYNTHIA HOYT

THIS YEAR’S SUMMER SOLSTICE OCCURS ON JUNE 21, and what better way to celebrate a day with extra sunlight than with a picnic?

For stylish inspiration, we sent Atlanta-based blogger Cynthia Hoyt of Darling Down South, with basket in tow, to Lucy’s Market in Buckhead to gather her ideal provisions for al fresco dining on the go.

Georgia Sourdough Co. Crackers, The Hungry Peach Chicken Salad, Ruza Rosé Canned Wine and Bobby Lee’s Cheese Dip sourced from Lucy’s Market in Buckhead

Hoyt’s verdict? Plenty of rosé wine — canned for easy packing – and satisfying finger foods. “Chicken salad is always a fan favorite. [When] paired with a cheese dip and delectable crackers, all of your friends will be glad you packed enough for the crowd,” she said. “Keep the dessert light by adding some fresh fruit to the mix. It’s okay to play ‘mom’ of the group with some cute cocktail napkins for sticky fingers!”

Whatever suits your fancy, Lucy’s is an eclectic one-stop shop for picnic-goers. Last year, Lucy’s moved from its origins in an abandoned gas station to an expanded retail shop in the East Andrews district. Inside, you’ll find a wide variety of ever-changing offerings, like fresh produce from local farmers, seasonal items and daily prepared meals, breads and sweets, jams and jellies. One could lose track of the hour simply browsing the curated wines.

If you’re short on time, let Lucy’s arrange a customizable gift basket for you. The “Lucy’s Classic,” for instance, is stuffed to the brim with ginger snap cookies, Virginia-salted peanuts, classic Southern cheese straws, decadent flourless chocolate cake, pimento cheese-flavored popcorn, pickled carrots and more.

The solstice may mark the beginning of summer, but we recommend keeping your favorite basket handy all season long. Whether you swing by Lucy’s to fill up on frills before a sunset show at Chastain Park Amphitheatre (Sheryl Crow takes the stage at 8 p.m. on June 25 followed by John Mellencamp at 7:30 p.m. on June 27), a family movie night under the stars or a fireworks show on the Fourth of July, the Northside is packed with plenty of good excuses for a picnic.