Roses and Paintings and Wine, oh my!


As soon as you cross the railroad tracks on North Davidson Street as you head towards 277 and Uptown, McGill Rose Garden is on your left (940 N Davidson). You have probably driven by it hundreds of times. Well now, you have even more reasons to stop and visit.

If you’ve never been to this park in the spring or summer, you are truly missing out. There are so many gorgeous flowering trees and bushes to remind you that the world is still a beautiful place. Even now, as we approach winter, a casual tour of the meandering paths and diverse art installations can still delight you.

But do you know what’s even better? Rosie’s Wine Garden has opened up in the small building on grounds, and after 4 pm on Tuesdays through Fridays, or from 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays, you can buy a delicious glass of wine and roam the garden like a French poet in the days before cellphones. (The park and wine garden are typically reserved on Saturdays for private events.)

I visited last month with my friend Mary Digby, and we had such a wonderful time that I can’t stop thinking about taking everyone I know there.

As soon as you enter, the décor provides a fun whimsical spirit with its brightly painted colors, eclectic artwork (some antiques, and some for sale), festive lights draped all across the ceiling, and an inviting chaise lounge (my favorite seating for drinking wine).

The wine and beer list isn’t intended to impress you with an overwhelming variety. Instead, it has been carefully curated by the shop owners Dan and Karisa Fulco. I especially appreciate that the wine list includes detailed descriptions of the wines to help me make up my mind. The bartender noted that many of the wines were chosen because of their floral notes, a nod to the rose garden.

I had a perfectly peppery pinot noir while Mary enjoyed a charmingly buttery chardonnay. We studied the artwork in the gallery and had a laid back time catching up with each other.

I’ve always wondered about the property. From the website, I learned that Helen McGill, wanting to bring some beauty to the industrial site, planted rose bushes around Avant Fuel & Ice Company which was owned by her husband Henry. By 1962, there were over five hundred rose bushes, and the garden was open to the public. When the fuel and ice business closed in 1975, the city of Charlotte bought the property as a public park.

Visit the website for more information about Rosie’s (which incidentally was named after a cat). Their calendar lists opening times and also when food trucks and live music can be expected.