Picnic Perfect

Picnic Perfect: Sweeten the experience with a recipe for portable hand pies
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A  picnic can be as simple as a blanket and a sandwich, but it can be so much more in the hands of a gifted hostess. Candler-based author Ashley English creates memorable experiences at her annual cookie party and spring gatherings, and she exalts life’s sweetest moments on her blog www.smallmeasure.com.

Her most recent book, Handmade Gatherings, is about entertaining at home and in the wild. A champion of collaboration, English suggests rallying friends around a theme, like a southern picnic or a hot dog picnic, to create an alfresco meal where everyone contributes their culinary specialties. But above all, “picnics are all about portability,” she adds. “While there’s absolutely a place for knives and forks, handheld foodstuffs add to the easy, carefree vibe.”

For your next outdoor feast, try English’s recipe for deliciously portable chocolate-cherry hand pies.

Place Matters
Lay down your blanket at one of these breathtaking picnic spots

Lake Santeetlah Bring hot dogs and hamburgers for a lakeside cookout at one of Lake Santeetlah’s abundant picnic areas near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Linville Falls Fill a lightweight pack with sandwiches and scramble down to the large flat rocks at the base of the waterfalls.

Cullasaja Gorge Pack a cooler and pull over on the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway between Highlands and Franklin for an easy riverside picnic.

Looking Glass Rock Unfurl your blanket on this majestic rock face after a challenging hike in Pisgah National Forest.

Pearson’s Falls Create an elegant tablescape at this botanical preserve surrounded by over 250 acres of rich cove forest in between Tryon and Saluda.

The Cascades Bring fresh chocolate-cherry hand pies to Cascades Parking Overlook for stunning waterfall views off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone.



Photographs From Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English © 2014 by Ashley English. Photographs © 2014 by Jen Altman. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com