March is women’s history month. We’re celebrating by shining the light on five famous women with connections to the Shenandoah Valley and the Front Royal area. Curious about our local women’s history? Read on to meet five women whose stories will make the Front Royal area come alive. Along with each woman, we’ve given a suggestion for a local outing you can take to honor her legacy and learn more about her.
Front Royal’s Civil War Spy: Belle Boyd (1844-1900)
Belle Boyd was a spy for the confederates during the Civil War. During the Battle of Front Royal, she was staying with relatives in the town of Front Royal. She overheard Union soldiers discussing their plans to withdraw from the town, destroying strategic bridges behind them. When she was unable to find a man willing to bring the intelligence to Stonewall Jackson, she made the perilous journey through the army lines herself. On the basis of Boyd’s information, Jackson advanced, and saved the bridges from destruction.
Today in Front Royal, you can still visit the building where Boyd was staying we she overheard the plans of the Union soldiers. The “Belle Boyd Cottage” is one of the oldest buildings on Front Royal. Call today to schedule your free, self-guided tours.
Staunton’s Suffragette: Fannie Stratton Bayly King (1864-1951)
In the early 1900s, the movement to give women the vote was alive and well in the Shenandoah Valley. Fannie King was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement in Staunton, around an hour and a half drive down the valley from Front Royal. She organized the distribution of pamphlets, arranged for public debates, and corresponded with lawmakers, all in the cause of winning the vote for women. King even lectured publicly herself on several occasions . . . leading to some raised eyebrows, as public speaking was considered improper for women at the time.
In addition to her work in the women’s suffrage movement, King was active in improving her local community. She gained recognition for her work with Staunton’s Community Welfare League, dedicated to helping the poor and caring for neglected children. In 1940, King gave her own house over to the use of the Staunton Public Library.
If you’d like to walk in this amazing woman’s footsteps, consider making a day trip to Staunton. You can enjoy a lovely drive down the valley, followed by a relaxing day in this quaint, historic town. The Staunton Public Library has now outgrown Fannie King’s house, but if you visit the library in its new location, you can still see her portrait prominently displayed.
The Shenandoah Valley’s Inspirational Artist: “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961)
If you’re thinking you’ve reached a time in life when it’s too late to learn a new skill, spending some time with Grandma Moses will make you think again! Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses took up painting at the ripe age of 78. She is famous for her paintings of everyday farm life, set in New York and Virginia. Her work gained great popularity, and she continued to paint until a few months before her death at the age of 101.
Grandma Moses spent much of her life in the Shenandoah Valley. Even though she lived in New York when she took up painting, the Shenandoah Valley remained one of her favorite painting subjects. Visit Winchester’s Museum of the Shenandoah Valley to see some of Grandma Moses’s work in person.
This woman also made history later in life and is also affectionately called “Grandma” by her many fans. Emma “Grandma” Gatewood was the first woman to thru-hike the entire 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail solo. She performed this feat in 1955, at the age of 68. Before her death, she made Appalachian Trail history again when she became the first person ever to thru-hike the trial three times.
Grandma Gatewood is credited with inspiring major improvements to the Appalachian Trail. As her record-breaking journey drew media attention, her loudly voiced complaints about the condition of the Appalachian Trail led to significant work on the trail.
The Appalachian Trail’s Grandma Pioneer: Emma Gatewood (1887-1973)
You may not be ready for the full 2,200 miles, but it’s easy to celebrate Grandma Gatewood’s legacy in the Front Royal area by hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail yourself. One option is to head to the Shenandoah National Park, which contains 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. See here for a list of popular hikes in the park that include stretches of the trail. Or head south on 522 just four miles from Front Royal and you’ll arrive at the Front Royal Junction Appalachian Trail crossing.
Front Royal’s Advocate for the Appalachian Trail: Sonja Carlborg
Speaking of the Appalachian Trail, did you know that Front Royal was one of the first towns to be designated an official Appalachian Trail Community? Our town won this designation in 2012, thanks in large part to the work of Sonja Carlborg. Sonja first came across the town of Front Royal while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail herself in 2000! Now a local resident, she was the founding chair of the Front Royal/ Warren County Appalachian Trail Community program.
Sonja works to make Front Royal a welcoming and helpful stop for hikers on the Appalachian Trail. With the town’s proximity to the trail, it makes sense that hikers would want to take a break here For just 50 cents, they can ride the Front Royal Trolley into town, where they can stock up on provisions, gear, and take a break for a night or even a few days. Celebrate Sonja this month, by giving a friendly welcome to any weary hikers you see on the streets of Front Royal!
The Front Royal Area is rich in women’s history. This March, celebrate women’s history month by planning an outing that celebrates one of these important local women.
March 1st is World Compliment Day. But while you may be preparing by thinking of something nice to say to your family member, boss, or coworker, we at Discover Front Royal are thinking of how many things in our great town go well together . . . or COMPLEMENT one another.
Read on for some COMPLEMENTARY outing ideas in Front Royal that will have you putting two local businesses together . . . and enjoying both more!
1. Wine and Cheese
We’ll start our list with this classic pairing. There’s nothing quite like sipping on a glass of wine, perfectly paired with high quality cheese. If you’re on a search for Virginia wine, you’ll find several delightful wineries in the Front Royal area. You can enjoy a wine tasting, or purchase a bottle (or a few) to bring home! For some local cheese to pair with your wine, check out Dusty’s Country Store on Main Street. Most wineries allow you to bring your own food, so you can pick some cheese up on your way. Or grab it on your way home if you’re planning a wine night in with your newest winery purchases.
2. Hiking and a Hearty Meal
The Front Royal area is surrounded by fantastic trails and scenic hiking country. In the town, you’ll find the perfect food to fill you up after a long day on the trails. There’s a unique sense of satisfaction in sinking your teeth into a juicy burger and sipping on a craft beer after a day in the great outdoors. Some soreness in your muscles is a welcome reminder that you’ve earned a good dinner.
If you’re looking for a hike in the Front Royal area, you’ll find an inexhaustible treasure trove. Choose among options ranging from the world famous Shenandoah National Park, to well-kept local secrets like the Shenandoah River State Park, and the George Washington National Forest. For that post-hike beer and burger, try the Front Royal Brewing Company, PaveMint Taphouse, or the Bushel Pub at the Apple House.
3. Treats and Arcade Games
For some fun and budget friendly entertainment, check out Main Street’s Fireball Arcade. Here you’ll find a range of classic and new arcade games. Pair your visit to the arcade with an ice cream or a baked treat. Down Home Comfort Bakery (cakes and pies) and C & C Frozen Treats (ice cream) are both within easy walking distance. Finish your outing with a sweet ending.
4. Dinner and a Movie
It’s a classic idea for a date, and generally a reliable recipe for a good time: dinner and a movie. You’ll find it’s easy to enjoy this well-loved pairing without leaving Front Royal’s Main Street. Enjoy a dinner to suit your style. There are plenty of choices: formal, Thai, brewery, wine bar, casual, even sea food! Then stroll over to Royal Cinemas to catch the evening’s feature film!
5. Coffee and a Good Book
Getting lost in a good book while sipping on a coffee is a great way to spend a Saturday morning for an introvert (or anyone who needs some quiet time!). Pick out a used book at Royal Oak Book Shop, or Page Master Books. Or head over to the Front Royal Library for a wide range of options to borrow. Then bring your newfound literary treasure with you to the Main Street area. Local coffee shop options include Happy Creek Coffee and Tea, DL Campus on Main, or the Daily Grind. Soak up all that coffee shop atmosphere while your reading takes you on a deep dive into another world.
6. A Picnic and the Park
Enjoying a picnic in the park is a great way to spend time with family, friends, or a romantic interest! Front Royal features both delightful parks, and eateries eager to pack your picnic for you. Blue Wing Frog specializes in delicious carry out food that’s prepared with picnics in mind! Stop by on your way out to grab a picnic that will delight your taste buds without stressing you out as you try to pack! For stunning vistas while you eat, head to the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center in the Shenandoah National Park, or find an overlook at Shenandoah River State Park. For a sheltered picnic area where you can relax while kids explore a playground, stay right in town and head to Lion’s Park, a local favorite.
There’s no reason to limit yourself to making just one stop when you plan an outing in Front Royal. Make your next excursion exciting with one of our complementary pairings. After all, two is better than one!
As the calendar turns to February, thoughts of romance begin to warm the winter air. If you’re planning an evening with a special someone look no further than the Front Royal area! You’ll find that a small town Valentine’s Day is the perfect setting for your romance to blossom. Read on for five tips (plus a bonus!) on celebrating Valentine’s Day (or any romantic occasion) in the Front Royal area. With fine dining, fun activities for couples, and wineries aplenty, there’s enough ideas here to keep the romance going all year long.
1. Sample Front Royal’s Fine Dining
Nothing says “I love you” quite like dinner at an elegant table for two. If you’re in search of a traditional dinner date Front Royal’s fine dining eateries are at your disposal.
At The Element on Main Street, you’ll find gourmet food and the atmosphere to go with it. Valentine’s seating is limited. Go here to make your reservation for The Element’s February 13th Valentine’s Day celebration.
Is it just us, or is there something especially romantic about Italy? If you’re in search of pasta, pizza, and all things Italian, check out Front Royal’s Osteria 510 for farm-to-table gourmet Italian food.
For another fine dining options, lovers of Asian cuisine, should visit Try Thai on Main Street.
No one to watch the kiddos? No worries!
In these unique times, neighbors, friends, and businesses are stepping up and working together to support one another.
Battlefield Fitness is working in tandem with some restaurants and offering chid care services while couples can enjoy a Valentine's dinner out! Such a fabulous idea!
2. Casual Dining Spots that Locals Love
If you’re not in the mood for formal dining, a fun, casual eatery can also be a setting for great date. Today, we’re featuring two old Front Royal favorites where locals have been making great memories for years!
If there’s one restaurant in Front Royal that pizza lovers shouldn’t miss, it’s The Melting Pot! This local favorite has been feeding pizza to Front Royal for over 50 years. Some locals have been making memories here for a lifetime!
For a fun twist on the traditional dinner date, why not try a breakfast date instead? The Apple House is an old Front Royal area favorite that gets you out of town, but doesn’t involve a long drive. Don’t forget to end your meal with one of their famous apple butter donuts! Or come back in the evening for a drink, appetizers, and a sandwich at the Apple House’s newly opened Bushel Pub. With a drink menu full of Virginia wines and Virginia Craft Beers, it’s a great date-spot for lovers of local products.
3. Take a Dance Class
What could be more romantic than enjoying a dance together? If you or your partner have two left feet, don’t worry! Jig ’N’ Jive Dance Studio offers private ballroom and swing dance classes for couples. Have fun together, learn a new skill, and listen to romantic music, all at the same time!
4. Paint Your Own Memories!
Speaking of learning new skills, The Studio on Front Royal’s Main Street hosts frequent paint parties, where you’ll get step-by-step instructions on creating your own masterpiece. All supplies are provided, so you can relax and enjoy getting creative together. Paint party participants are welcome to bring their own beverages and snacks. Make it extra romantic with some wine and chocolate to enjoy while you work. At the end of the day, you’ll have something beautiful to hang on your wall that will remind of this special time spent together.
5. Enjoy a Glass of Virginia Wine
There’s something about the experience of sharing a glass of wine that is both memorable and romantic. If you’re in search of a wine date, the Front Royal area has a wealth of options. Enjoy a glass of wine and gourmet tapas at ViNoVA, right in town. Or drive out of the town to one of Front Royal’s local wineries. Rappahannock Cellars, and Fox Meadow Winery are two nearby favorites that combine delectable wines with all the classy winery atmosphere you love.
Bonus: Take your picture by the LOVE Sign
While you’re out and about town on your date, don’t forget that Front Royal has a great spot for a fun photo shoot. Stop by Front Royal’s LOVE sign (located by the downtown gazebo). It’s the perfect background for taking a memorable picture together.
And ... while you're out, take a stroll down Main Street and around town to enjoy Warren County's First Annual Chocolate Crawl! Sound deliciously enticing doesn't it? Be sure to check out the details and list of participants here!
These are our top picks, but there really are almost unlimited options for romantic outings in the Front Royal area. Anything can be romantic when you’re with the love of your life on Valentine’s Day! To get more ideas for a fun activity that you’ll both enjoy, see our posts here and here. Take it from someone who got engaged, and married in the Front Royal area: it’s easy to fall in love in Front Royal!
Healthy Life, Happy Life
It’s easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle during the winter. The cold weather makes the great outdoors less inviting, and you may feel that all you want to do is cuddle up on the couch after work. However, keeping active during the winter is important for your mental and physical health. If exercise has been sporadic so far this winter, now is a great time to reset! Figure out a form of exercise that you enjoy, and that will be achievable for you to keep up with through rest of the winter.
Need some fresh ideas? The Front Royal area has some great options for indoor and winter-friendly activities that will get you up and moving. Read on for tips for staying active through the winter in Front Royal.
1. Join a Gym
With unpredictable weather conditions making it difficult to maintain an outdoor exercise routine, winter is a good time to join a gym. Going to a fresh new place to work out can help with motivation. So can working with a trainer, or signing up for an exercise class. Paying a gym membership gives you an additional motivational boost. If you’re money’s going towards your membership every month, you’re more likely to get out the door and use it.
You’ll find several fitness gyms in Front Royal. If you’re interested in CrossFit, try Battlegrounds Fitness or Rugged Terrain CrossFit. Both are conveniently located right in Front Royal, and offer the camaraderie and exceptional training that have made CrossFit popular across America.
Fitness Evolution and Anytime Fitness are traditional gyms with a range of standard gym equipment. Classes and individual training are available at both.
If you can’t fit in frequent trips to the gym, a membership could still be a good fit. Front Royal’s gyms offer virtual training. On the days you can’t make it to the gym, you can have the convenience of working out at home with the accountability and expertise of a professional coach. The best of both worlds!
2. Play an Indoor Sport
Some people find that working out is just . . . too boring! If playing a sport is more up your alley, winter can be a great time to explore indoor sports. Front Royal’s Dominion Health & Fitness Center is worth checking out. In addition to standard gym facilities, the center has an indoor pool, racquetball, and indoor tennis courts, as well as wallyball and basketball. Get involved in a sport you can play all year round!
3. Add Exercise into Your Normal Routine
If you’re not interested in structured gym workouts or sports, it’s still important to make some exercise a part of your life. For winter exercise success, look for ways to weave exercise into your normal activities. For example, when shopping, you might park at the far end of the parking lot. This article has some great tips for incorporating more exercise – even if you don’t have much time and money to dedicate to it.
One advantage of a small town like Front Royal is that many stores and restaurants are within walking distance of each other, especially in the historic downtown area. Next time you’re planning to run errands, see if you can’t figure out a route that minimizes driving, and increases walking. Getting outside and moving, even for a short time, can improve your health and your mood! In inclement weather, even walking around an indoor location such as a grocery store can be helpful.
4. Calm Your Mind and Improve Your Health - Try Yoga
"Functional Yoga can improve your daily life" - Wildfire Yoga. You can become calm, centered, and rejuvenated with yoga. Don't worry if you've never tried it, it's good for all levels of fitness and ages. It can improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. This practice can also improve pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms and more! The increase in energy and relaxation might be just what you need after a stressful 2020.
Wildfire Yoga offers in studio classes, private lessons, and online classes.
5. Reward yourself!
For some of us, the enjoyment that we get from exercising combined with the health benefits, is enough of an incentive to keep us going through a long winter. For others, getting motivated in winter is just . . . hard. If you fall into this second category, why not give yourself some kind of a reward to help make it through those tough days.
Set your own standards to challenge yourself and enjoy a sense of accomplishment. For example, you could treat yourself to a coffee on Main Street on Fridays if you have completed three workouts during the week. Or promise yourself a fun movie night at home if you’ve met your exercise goals.
For home bakers, consider patting yourself on the back by trying out a recipe for a healthy treat. You can indulge a little bit without undoing all of your hard work! Front Royal’s own Rugged Terrain Crossfit has a page with recipe ideas that you can enjoy without bringing on a sugar crash!
With the holidays over, and long winter months ahead, it’s easy to hit a slump in January. But the New Year can also be a great time for setting goals and establishing healthy habits. Try out one of these ideas for keeping active this winter. Your body (and your mood!) will thank you!
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