Fall in Virginia is the best time to visit. The state bursts with natural color, events, and weather too good to be true. I’m lucky enough to take advantage of weekend getaways, but it’s worth the trip even if you fly in.
TRICK OR TREAT IN RICHMOND’S FAN
As a former resident of “The Fan” neighborhood in Richmond, I can attest that most area residents are college students or adults without children. You’d think that means Halloween trick or treating is a quiet event…and it is, for the most part. The exception is on Hanover Avenue and Strawberry Street where junior terrors and princesses are high on sugar. The haunted homes, fall harvest scenes, and other elaborate decorations are worth seeing. You’ll want hotels in Richmond in walking distance, like The Museum District Bed and Breakfast.
CHEER ON HARRISONBURG’S HOME TEAM
Football in Virginia is a thing. Until I moved here, I wasn’t aware that college football is so popular. Everyone is loyal to the local schools! JMU — that’s James Madison University, if you don’t follow sports — is in Harrisonburg and definitely a Virginia favorite. If you’re attending a game, be sure to book Harrisonburg hotels in advance. Not only do they sell out, but deals disappear quickly.
SIP YOUR WAY THROUGH SEPTEMBER
Head north to Arlington County, a part of Virginia that visitors can’t tell if it’s a home for D.C.-commuters or Virginia locals (don’t worry, you’re correct either way). With comfortable temperatures in September, it’s the perfect time of year for outdoor movies at the Crystal Screen. Show up at sundown on Tuesday evenings for movies like Bottle Shock, Chocolat, and Sideways. I’ve stayed at a handful of Arlington hotels, and the Hilton Crystal City is my favorite that’s still walking distance to the event.
WASHINGTON D.C. AMENITIES OUTSIDE THE CAPITAL
Reston is this weird part of Virginia that I haven’t figured out yet, but it’s a great base for visiting Fairfax County. Hotels in Reston put you in spitting distance of the Frying Pan Farm Park, for fall carnival weekends and Sunday evening bluegrass. Head east to Wolf Trap National Park for live performances or west to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Udvar-Hazy Center. If you’re the type of traveler who normally heads straight from Dulles airport to Washington D.C., it’s time to take the scenic route.
COME TO ALEXANDRIA WEEKEND AFTER WEEKEND
Old Town Alexandria is a treat to visit all year-long, but in fall, I can’t get enough. First there’s the King Street Art Festival (a shopping and decorating paradise for a new homeowner like me!). After that is Mount Vernon’s Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour and a chance to snoop around George Washington’s former home. By the time those weekends are over, you’ll be back for leaf peeping and bike riding the Mount Vernon Trail and ghost tours in Old Town Alexandria. Sounds like a good excuse to be a regular at hotels in Alexandria!
I always think Virginia’s worth a visit, but without a doubt, autumn is a great time to come.