Before “I do!” comes “Will you?,” and Charlottesville is full of beautiful spots to pop the question.
For outdoorsy types, there’s always Carter Mountain, which overlooks the city; Humpback Rock at sunrise (or any time—that view can’t be beat); or White Rock Falls in the Blue Ridge Parkway in Lovingston, complete with wading pool and, yes, a waterfall.
Propose among the boxwoods or in the whimsical ginkgo grove of Blandy Experimental Farm, the State Arboretum in Virginia located in Boyce. It’s a two-hour drive north, but what’s a couple of hours in the car for a breathtaking proposal setting (especially in the fall when the leaves turn gold) when you’ll be spending the rest of your lives together?
For something closer to home, any one of UVA’s Pavilion gardens will do—each one has its own personality contained inside the serpentine walls, and they offer a fair amount of privacy for those who seek a little more seclusion in their big moment. The gardens, nestled between the Lawn and the Range, are beautiful any time of year, especially during the golden hour.
Morven Farm, about 15 minutes outside of town, has gardens galore, too, including a tranquil Japanese garden and teahouse built using ancient techniques and planted with dozens of trees, flowers and shrubs indigenous to Japan and America.
Can’t choose a single scenic view? Take one of the Boar’s Head Ballooning hot air balloon rides over Charlottesville for all the views (just make sure your honey isn’t an acrophobe; hopefully you know that if you’re ready to propose).
There are also plenty of romantic restaurants in town—get a corner table for two at the softly lit C&O Restaurant, or sink into a semicircle booth at Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar—and ask your server to have champagne ready for the big moment.
Don’t forget to consider your own spaces, too—front porches, living room couches, kitchen tables and backyards. Just make sure it means something to you. No matter where you ask, though, it’ll be your special spot for the rest of your lives together, and that’s the best view of all.