Last Updated August 24, 2015.
The colors of fall fade so quickly. Make it a point to enjoy the season every moment you can. Take your drink and dinner on the patio, porch or veranda for stunning foliage views. A seat at one of these beautifully located establishments should have your name on it this fall.
Each of these places were chosen, in part, thanks to their views of rolling mountains, pastoral countryside, or because they’re a waterside relaxation point. Take a deep breath and enjoy fall in Virginia.
— MOUNTAINS & VALLEYS —
Jefferson’s Restaurant and Bar is one of many Omni Homestead Resort dining options. Expect to find a farm-to-table approach to the modern American menu, including regional meat options. The terrace overlooks Casino Lawn — there simply isn’t a bad view when you’re sitting in the Allegheny Mountains. Note: Casual dress is acceptable for lunch (no tank tops, hats, cut-offs or pool attire), but dinner attire should be collared shirts and slacks or denim. (lunch | dinner)
Jefferson Restaurant & Bar
Chateau Morrisette sits just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Meadows of Dan. The patio offers sweeping views! The hours change seasonally; fall welcomes you for lunch Wednesday through Saturday, dinner on Saturday until 9 p.m., and brunch on Sunday. Children’s menu available. Reservations are suggested.
Rhododendron Restaurant at Breaks Interstate Park in Breaks sits on the edge of the gorge, so imagine the view! The restaurant is open daily through November 2 (minus Mondays and Tuesdays), so go while the foliage is at it’s best!
Robins Tea House at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond doesn’t offer a mountain or valley view, but it is tucked away in the trees of the Asian Valley Garden to envelope you in beautiful fall colors. The deck seating is perfect for enjoying the seasonal menu. Note: Admission to Lewis Ginter is required to reach Robins Tea House. Children’s menu available.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in North Garden (just outside of Charlottesville) designs their menu specifically to complement their wines. Take it all outside to the veranda; the Blue Ridge Mountains will captivate you. That being said, the inside is just as breathtaking. This is a popular wedding venue, if you find yourself in need of one. *wink* (menus)
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Skyland Restaurant in Shenandoah National Park has a view that is worth every dime of the National Park entrance fee. Their website phrased it perfectly, stating, “… considering the elevation of Skyland, it’s only natural that Mile-High Blackberry Ice Cream Pie is a house specialty!” No doubt. The view down is as immense as the view across to the Alleghenies and beyond. West Virginia is easily in sight from this vantage point. *Note: Visit on Fee-Free Dates
Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton sits against the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains but looks out across Central Virginia. As the colors creep down atop the brewery, the scenery from the brewery becomes a beautiful quilt of orange, red and yellow, too. Take a camera with you! On the menu at Blue Mountain are sandwiches crafted with local, fresh-baked breads, homemade pizzas, and other dishes that include local mushrooms and gluten-free options. (kids menu)
Blue Mountain Brewery
Damascus Old Mill Inn Restaurant has decks overlooking Laurel Creek Waterfall. It’s just off the Virginia Creeper Trail and awaiting your arrival after a day of fall explorations. The menu includes southern favorites like fried green tomatoes, smothered filet, barbecue chicken, and even local trout and beer.
— WATERSIDE —
Boar’s Head in Charlottesville has several dining options, but go for the water views from the veranda of Bistro 1834. The menu includes sandwiches, salads and entrees. Seasonal hand-crafted cocktails like Autumn Sunset probably taste as good as they sound (fall cocktail menu).
Conch Republic overlooks the James River just below the fall line in Richmond. From their patio, the Richmond skyline twinkles to your right and the sunset takes your breath away. The vibe, as well as the menu, is Key West inspired. Expect to find fresh seafood, Cajun flavors, tasty gumbos, and more. Plan your date night around one of the live music talents for a special treat.
Smithfield Station sits on the Pagan River in Smithfield. Ask for a table outside and watch the boats come and go and the waterfowl fly over. The menu offers local seafood, and of course, famous Smithfield ham. Check out the Station Burger, too. It was one of the top dishes in our Culinary Madness Challenge! (lunch | dinner)
From Water Street Grille in Yorktown, you’re perfectly positioned to watch the boats come and go on the York River. Just across the water is tree-lined Gloucester Point. The colors of fall will reflect beautifully with the sunset. On the menu are items like lobster mac ‘n cheese, local Virginia oysters, a variety of tapas, salads, sandwiches and pizzas, and Virginia craft beer.
Mallards at the Wharf in Onancock is another great place to enjoy the marina life and have a great meal. Casual lunches and upscale dinners mean there’s something for everyone at this dock dining destination. If you love crab, you can’t skip the all crab crabcakes. No fillers here!
Mallards at the Wharf
Paradise Ocean Club is an unexpected delight in the Fort Monroe area of Hampton, complete with a private Chesapeake Bay beach and cabana boys! Sure, there’s a patio, but … Regarding the food, order up some fresh Littleneck clams, local oysters, or other great seafood fare. A large outdoor stage brings great musical acts, including national names. (menu)
Shady Shack Grill in Bracey has great waterfront dining on Lake Gaston. Live music, adult beverages, and a menu of burgers and salads make this a great place to hang out on a fall weekend.
— HONORABLE MENTIONS —
These neighborhood gems deserve recognition for either their people-watching possibilities or their seclusion. The food is great, the company you choose is even better, and the vibe of a thriving downtown is unbeatable. If that sounds more to your liking, try these.
Red Fox Inn and Tavern sits in the heart of Middleburg, a sweet Northern Virginia town surrounded by rolling meadows of horse farms. The garden terrace is a perfect place to enjoy the local flavors their menu offers. Virginia wine and craft beer are available, too.
Lemaire is the sweetheart dining experience of historic Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond. The patio faces Franklin Street, where the hardwoods are sure to add a pop of color to your fall feast. Outdoor heaters knock away any nip the cool evenings deliver.
Fork in the Alley Brick Oven Pub in Roanoke is, indeed, tucked into an alley. It’s an intimate place with a good mix of menu items, one, of which, is Brick Oven S’mores.
Village Square Restaurant sits in the heart of Winchester’s Old Town. The pedestrian-only area is perfect for a wide swath of fenced outdoor dining. The large trees provide great shade in the summer, but show off gloriously in fall. Chef Kalber’s menu includes fish, filet, ribs, chops, and more.
Village Square Restaurant
The restaurants of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall make seating available within the pedestrian area or on the roof. Sit under a canopy of foliage as you enjoy a meal and watch the passersby.
Consider: Commonwealth Skybar, Rapture, or Blue Light Grill & Raw Bar
Commowealth Skybar on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Roy VanDoorn photo.
Old Town Alexandria is stunning in all seasons and at all times of day or night. Sit along King Street and soak in the historic views.
Consider: 219 Restaurant, Daniel O’Connell’s, or Fish Market
Don’t Miss: Alexandria’s Top 5: Outdoor Dining
— MORE —
Patios are just one of those things I love. See some of the others that have caught my eye in the Related Posts below. Happy dining!