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Spelunker’s Frozen Custard and Burgers
A chili cheese dog with a side of onion rings at Spelunker’s Frozen Custard and Burgers
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Where to Eat and Drink During a Quick Trip to the Shenandoah Valley

Burgers, breakfasts, and apple butter doughnuts to try while escaping the city

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A chili cheese dog with a side of onion rings at Spelunker’s Frozen Custard and Burgers
| Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

City dwellers searching for fresh mountain air, apple butter doughnuts, or a memorable meal in a rural setting seek out Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley for an escape within a few hours drive of D.C. The foothills around Shenandoah National Park are full of options for hungry and thirsty visitors who are observing social distancing protocols. From Sperryville to “little” Washington, Winchester to Front Royal, and everywhere in between, there are a number of dining and drinking destinations that pair perfectly with a day hike or country getaway.

This map focuses primarily on takeout and delivery. Virginia restaurants have resumed full-capacity dine-in service, but this should not be taken as an endorsement that eating indoors is completely safe. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. For updated information on coronavirus cases in Virginia, please visit here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

L'Auberge Provencale Bed and Breakfast

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This cozy B&B in Boyce, Virginia offers both a French bistro and a much more formal indoor-outdoor dining room setting. It’s a family-run joint, with an epic weekend brunch that includes fluffy omelets, razor-thin crepes, and Virginia-baked ham. If you’re looking to stay the night, rooms have outdoor entrances and new safety procedures for social distancing. A takeout and delivery menu includes quiche, buttermilk fried chicken, and key lime pie.

The Apple House

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This roadside restaurant serves barbecue, pit-beef sandwiches, and warm apple butter cinnamon doughnuts. A must-stop in Linden, it also has online ordering for pickups. It’s also located near several top-notch wineries like RdV, Linden Vineyards and Fox Meadow.

Apple butter cinnamon doughnuts from the Apple House
Apple butter cinnamon doughnuts from the Apple House
The Apple House [official]

Spelunker's

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This old-school drive-thru in Front Royal is the spot to load up with a smash burger and a milkshake combo before or after a day-long hike.

Spelunker’s Frozen Custard and Burgers
A Double Cavern burger with bacon and fries from Spelunker’s
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Griffin Tavern

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Griffin Tavern is where Rappahannock County locals gather for a pint, and the deck is the perfect perch to enjoy the outdoor scenery. Menu specials include soft shell crabs, a Southern burger with smoked pimento cheese, and British-style fish and chips. Online ordering is available for pub grub, Beyond Meat burgers, to-go cocktails, wine, beer, and groceries.

Red Truck Rural Bakery (multiple locations)

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Brian Noyes is the cake-maker extraordinaire at this charming bakery with locations in Marshall and Warrenton. Right now people are clamoring for his caramel bundt with pecan, which is based off a recipe that was recently featured on the cover of Garden & Gun magazine. Order online and pick it up at the bakery’s side window.

Foster Harris House

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Couples who can’t shell out $630 for a dinner for two at the Inn at Little Washington, the D.C. Michelin Guide’s only venue with three stars, should opt for this cozy B&B, where room rates range from the mid $200 to $300s. There’s plenty of outdoor space, and owner Klaus Peters runs the kitchen for breakfast (complimentary for guests) and dinner ($85). His ginger scones are the talk of “little” Washington too.

Narmada Winery

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Samosas and Cab Franc pair perfectly at this winery owned by a husband-wife duo, Pandit and Sudha Patil, who originally hail from Mumbai. Their Amissville winery is open Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday and Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for outdoor seating, which requires a reservation in advance.

Three Blacksmiths

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With just a handful of seats spaced around an open-hearth kitchen, Three Blacksmiths was practically practicing social distancing before the pandemic. Husband and wife team John and Diane MacPherson run the tasting menu experience from start to finish, featuring local, seasonal, and handcrafted food and beverages from Rappahannock County purveyors. Reservations are required and the tasting menu starts at $128 per person.

Before & After

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This espresso bar in Sperryville serves pastries and breakfast tacos and boasts a new gelato window for contactless pickup.

Pen Druid Brewing

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The three Carney brothers behind this wild-fermentation brewery are also alt-rock musicians who still occasionally tour in a band called Pontiak. At Pen Druid, they use wood-fired, spontaneous brewing methods and barrel-aging to capture flavors native to their hometown of Sperryville. Next door, visitors will find the Copper Fox distillery and an enormous antique warehouse, which means they’ll inevitably make a splurge purchase after a few too many beers. There’s outdoor seating from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and preorders available for Saturday pickups through the Rappahannock County farmers market.

Photo: Pen Druid

Hopkins Ordinary Bed Breakfast Aleworks

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Beer nerds will want to sleep here. This is Sperryville’s only brewery and B&B, and there is plenty of outdoor space, including fire pits and a two-story porch great for people watching in the quaint town.

Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen (RPK)

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This is a popular pizza shop en route to Old Rag mountain. There’s also an attached general store and a watering hole, Bar Francis, known for its Negronis and Manhattans.

L'Auberge Provencale Bed and Breakfast

This cozy B&B in Boyce, Virginia offers both a French bistro and a much more formal indoor-outdoor dining room setting. It’s a family-run joint, with an epic weekend brunch that includes fluffy omelets, razor-thin crepes, and Virginia-baked ham. If you’re looking to stay the night, rooms have outdoor entrances and new safety procedures for social distancing. A takeout and delivery menu includes quiche, buttermilk fried chicken, and key lime pie.

The Apple House

Apple butter cinnamon doughnuts from the Apple House
Apple butter cinnamon doughnuts from the Apple House
The Apple House [official]

This roadside restaurant serves barbecue, pit-beef sandwiches, and warm apple butter cinnamon doughnuts. A must-stop in Linden, it also has online ordering for pickups. It’s also located near several top-notch wineries like RdV, Linden Vineyards and Fox Meadow.

Apple butter cinnamon doughnuts from the Apple House
Apple butter cinnamon doughnuts from the Apple House
The Apple House [official]

Spelunker's

Spelunker’s Frozen Custard and Burgers
A Double Cavern burger with bacon and fries from Spelunker’s
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

This old-school drive-thru in Front Royal is the spot to load up with a smash burger and a milkshake combo before or after a day-long hike.

Spelunker’s Frozen Custard and Burgers
A Double Cavern burger with bacon and fries from Spelunker’s
Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Griffin Tavern

Griffin Tavern is where Rappahannock County locals gather for a pint, and the deck is the perfect perch to enjoy the outdoor scenery. Menu specials include soft shell crabs, a Southern burger with smoked pimento cheese, and British-style fish and chips. Online ordering is available for pub grub, Beyond Meat burgers, to-go cocktails, wine, beer, and groceries.

Red Truck Rural Bakery (multiple locations)

Brian Noyes is the cake-maker extraordinaire at this charming bakery with locations in Marshall and Warrenton. Right now people are clamoring for his caramel bundt with pecan, which is based off a recipe that was recently featured on the cover of Garden & Gun magazine. Order online and pick it up at the bakery’s side window.

Foster Harris House

Couples who can’t shell out $630 for a dinner for two at the Inn at Little Washington, the D.C. Michelin Guide’s only venue with three stars, should opt for this cozy B&B, where room rates range from the mid $200 to $300s. There’s plenty of outdoor space, and owner Klaus Peters runs the kitchen for breakfast (complimentary for guests) and dinner ($85). His ginger scones are the talk of “little” Washington too.

Narmada Winery

Samosas and Cab Franc pair perfectly at this winery owned by a husband-wife duo, Pandit and Sudha Patil, who originally hail from Mumbai. Their Amissville winery is open Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday and Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for outdoor seating, which requires a reservation in advance.

Three Blacksmiths

With just a handful of seats spaced around an open-hearth kitchen, Three Blacksmiths was practically practicing social distancing before the pandemic. Husband and wife team John and Diane MacPherson run the tasting menu experience from start to finish, featuring local, seasonal, and handcrafted food and beverages from Rappahannock County purveyors. Reservations are required and the tasting menu starts at $128 per person.

Before & After

This espresso bar in Sperryville serves pastries and breakfast tacos and boasts a new gelato window for contactless pickup.

Pen Druid Brewing

Photo: Pen Druid

The three Carney brothers behind this wild-fermentation brewery are also alt-rock musicians who still occasionally tour in a band called Pontiak. At Pen Druid, they use wood-fired, spontaneous brewing methods and barrel-aging to capture flavors native to their hometown of Sperryville. Next door, visitors will find the Copper Fox distillery and an enormous antique warehouse, which means they’ll inevitably make a splurge purchase after a few too many beers. There’s outdoor seating from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and preorders available for Saturday pickups through the Rappahannock County farmers market.

Photo: Pen Druid

Hopkins Ordinary Bed Breakfast Aleworks

Beer nerds will want to sleep here. This is Sperryville’s only brewery and B&B, and there is plenty of outdoor space, including fire pits and a two-story porch great for people watching in the quaint town.

Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen (RPK)

This is a popular pizza shop en route to Old Rag mountain. There’s also an attached general store and a watering hole, Bar Francis, known for its Negronis and Manhattans.

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