How to Have an Old Fashioned Picnic

Picnic paraphernalia

Picnic paraphernalia

My mind has been on picnics lately as I’m planning to attend the Annual Roaring Twenties Lawn Party at the Crane Estate in Ipswich Ma.   And who doesn’t love an old fashioned picnic? Blankets or tablecloths spread out on the grass, baskets and coolers  full of delicious delicacies, comforting comfort food, refreshing libations and delectable desserts. All to be savored while gazing up at the  bright blue sky, finding shapes in passing clouds, listening to the breeze rustling through the trees or the relaxing sounds of  a babbling brook.   Just typing this makes me want to take a nap!

1920s picnic

1920s picnic

Anyway, you definitely need the proper accoutrements to capture the spirit of the “old fashioned” style picnic. So here’s a list of suggestions.

  • Checkered or vintage floral print tablecloth or plaid blanket.
  • Large straw picnic basket, preferably with lid.
  • Retro style cooler. You can get a cool cherry red one like the one below at World Market.
Retro red cooler

Retro red cooler

  • Keep it classy by bringing cloth napkins, real glassware, metal utensils and plates, either china or heavy duty plastic.
  • A glass mason jar to use as a vase to  put the pretty flowers in that you’re bound to pick!
  • Wearing a pretty vintage sundress or playsuit/romper is a must.


1950s picnic

1950s picnic

Then there’s the food and beverage.  I personally like to pack items that don’t need a lot of preparation on site.  and are just as delicious served cold.  So here is my classic picnic dream menu.

  • Buttermilk fried chicken. Recipe here.
  • Red potato salad with mayo. I put chopped fresh dill and crispy crumbled bacon in mine. Yummy!
  • Deviled eggs.  For a twist on this old favorite, add wasabi, avocado or horseradish. More recipes here.
  • Grilled ham and swiss sandwiches with arugula and red onions. Recipe here.
  • Watermelon and summer fruit salad. Add mint, lime juice and honey. And a splash of vodka if desired!
  • Tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad with balsamic dressing.
  • An array of cheeses. My favs are St. Andre, goat gouda and horseradish cheddar.
  • Assorted breads and crackers for the cheese.
  • Chocolate cupcakes, double fudge brownies, chocolate chip cookies. Detect a chocolate addiction here?
  • Chilled champagne, lemonade, a couple of kinds of craft beer, San Pellegrino water.

An “old fashioned” picnic can be a fun outdoor event  for a group of friends or family, with everyone dressing in period attire.

Or a romantic outing  just for two!

Picnic romance

Picnic romance


Do you have any vintage picnic suggestions?  Please share.

And have a glamorous day!

By | 2014-07-25T14:12:04-04:00 July 25th, 2014|Food and Drink|2 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa
    Theresa July 29, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Thanks, Jessica! Totally agree. Pictures of vintage picnics have really inspired me for the upcoming event I’m attending. I’m so looking forward to recreating that vibe. I just recently found the most beautiful vintage plaid cotton picnic blanket. It will be perfect for our 20s style luncheon on the lawn!

  2. Avatar
    Jessica Cangiano July 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Splendidly fun post! Vintage picnics have been a reoccurring post theme for me over the years. Images of vintage picnics or present day ones that channel their spirit are so idyllic, fun and laid back, just like summer itself should be as often as possible.

    ♥ Jessica

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