In the summer, there’s a keen awareness that the heat and blue skies are impermanent and therefore, we try to spend as much time soaking up the sun as possible. In the fall, there’s a change in attitude, a sadness that another summer has passed and what lies ahead are grey days and long nights. But there are amazing things about this season, especially on Vancouver Island! With the changing leaves and the crispness in the air comes the harvest and a time of plenty where markets are full, menus all across Vancouver Island start to reflect the changing seasons and cozy pubs hold a magic that can only be found when the weather gets cool. Crisp ciders and aromatic beers are for more than quenching thirst and taking the time to tour a brewery doesn’t feel like a day wasted indoors. We know it’s tough to say goodbye to summer but we’ve rounded up our favourite ways to enjoy the taste of fall and celebrate the season!
Restaurants & Pubs
With French-inspired, contemporary, seasonal dining, Saveur is a great way to spend a cool fall evening downtown Victoria steps away from The Corazon. The casual atmosphere and tasting menu made of local, seasonal sustainable ingredients will put you at ease and allow you to taste the flavours of fall. This is a fine dining experience you won’t want to miss!
Guests at Beach Drive Manor who have a hankering for a classic English pub experience, the Penny Farthing on Oak Bay Avenue will satisfy the staunchest Anglophile and it’s within walking distance! With a vine covered facade, rich, dark wood interior, Victorian stained glass and crackling fireplaces, you’ll be transported to Old Blighty as you step through the door. There may not be a better way to get cozy on a cool fall evening.
For incredible seafood with a view, you won’t find a better place to go than Seaglass Waterfront Grill on the Van Isle Marina just a stone’s throw away from Miraloma 209. Along with the incredibly fresh seafood dishes, you’ll find an excellent selection of classic comfort food dishes, a solid wine list and great cocktails. Here, you can cheers the upcoming fall while you watch the sunset over the water.
Just south of Nanaimo, in the middle of the Cedar countryside, you’ll find the charming Crow & Gate Pub, the best English-style pub north of Victoria. From the Tudor style building with it’s low ceilings and wood beams to the classic English pub fare and cracking fire in the hearth, everything about the Crow & Gate is the perfect place for guests staying at Hammond Bay Executive Stay and Nanoose Bay Country Home to spend a crisp fall afternoon.
Breweries, Cideries and Distilleries
Tucked away in the wilds of beautiful Sooke, Sheringham Distillery uses time-honoured methods combined forward -thinking sustainability practices to bring traditional distilling into the 21st century. Just a short drive from Pacific Coast Beach House, a visit to this cozy distillery is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in the fall!
Three and a half years of hard work from owners Jorden Foss and James Garbutt and Herald St. Brew Works was opened in Victoria’s old town. A labour of love and an homage to collaborations, this funky and passionate brewery is a great place to try some incredible local beer, have a snack and enjoy the golds and reds in your glass as well as on the trees. There are many more amazing breweries in Victoria that are a treat for a cool fall day. You can find our comprehensive list here.
This incredible brewery right near Prospect Lake Country Cottage on the Saanich Peninsula is home to some of the most lip-smackingly good beers on the Island. Their bright, funky tasting room is a perfect place to be on a grey, fall day where you can order a flight and sample multiple beers and order some great eats.
With over 60 certified organic varietals of both cider and heritage apples, award winning ciders, a stunning farm to walk around and a beautiful tasting room and restaurant, it’s no wonder that Sea Cider Farm is one of the most popular cideries on Vancouver Island. On a sunny fall day, the orchard makes for an idyllic stroll and when it’s raining, the tasting room is a cozy place to watch the rain and sip some seasonal flavours. Whether you’re on the Peninsula at Oceanfront Escape or right in Rockland at Manor Suite off Rockland, this is a cidery worth visiting.
In autumn, the Cowichan Valley is a stunning place to visit and nestled right in the heart of this beautiful place is Valley Cider. With a gorgeous orchard and busy cidery, you can find thoughtfully crafted cider and friendly, knowledgeable staff to answer all your questions.
To say that Ampersand Distillery is a family affair is an understatement. With two generations at the helm and all four members of the Schacht family are deeply involved and committed to creating incredible spirits. While their tasting room is by appointment only, a little preparation will allow you to spend a gorgeous fall day with the Schachts, learning all about their farm, the process and tasting some incredible, local spirits.
Farmer’s Markets and Home Cooking
Right in the heart of beautiful Fairfield, not far from town you’ll find the always bustling Moss Street Market. Every year since its inception 30 years ago, this market has returned and every year it grows. Today, you can find over 50 farm vendors, artisans and food producers at this little community market and it’s a perfect fall walk for guests staying at Manor Suite Off Rockland and Craigdarroch Executive.
May – October 10am – 2pm, November – April 10am – 1pm every Saturday
The Esquimalt Farmers Market is one of the fastest growing and well planned markets in the Victoria area. With a focus on local suppliers, including backyard farmers, this innovative market has been a game-changer for solidifying, growing and supporting the Esquimalt community. Guests at The Corazon are just a short cycle away!
April 1st – September 16th every Thursday 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Just outside of Victoria you’ll find the long-standing, large-scale Peninsula Country Market. This community staple has been running since 1991 and hosts over 50 vendors each year. It’s the perfect market to load up on incredible, local, seasonal produce and products. Just a short drive from Prospect lake Country Cottage and Dalmeny Farm Estate, this market is a great way to get the best of harvest time on the Island.
June 5th – October 9th every Saturday 9am – 1pm
If you’re in the Cowichan Valley at Lake Cowichan Escape and Marble Bay Lakefront House, you’ll want to make a trip to the Old Farm Market. Here, you’ll find top-quality locally grown, fresh produce and deli items and lots of organic options. This little roadside market has forged relationships with local farmers, suppliers and communities and made it their priority to purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables from as many local island growers as possible.
Year ‘round, daily 8am – 7pm
If there’s one thing that we love to do in the fall is cook. Whether it’s your favourite comfort meal or a new recipe, being cozy in the kitchen on a moody fall day with a glass of wine, your favourite music and some incredible food is an autumnal afternoon well-spent. Plus, with all of the incredible harvest produce you can find at the local farm markets, you have access to incredibly fresh, local ingredients. One of our favourite dishes is a simple pasta al pomodoro fresco! A delicious dish any time of year but with the late tomato harvest, you’ll be able to find amazing tomatoes perfect for making it. Try your own homemade pasta too! It’s surprisingly easy and makes the dish even more authentic! For a great meal after a fall walk to see the changing leaves, you can whip up a super easy, healthy and delicious minestrone soup with fresh local produce and for dessert try an incredible apple brown betty – the perfect meal to get you excited for autumn!