Situated amidst the glorious splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains, yet within comfortable driving distance from Washington D.C., Front Royal may be best known as the most convenient place for city-dwellers to enjoy a countryside getaway. To outdoors enthusiasts its greatest claim to fame might be its location at the northern entrance of the renowned Shenandoah National Park. But with a rich and accessible history, awesome natural wonders, and the Shenandoah River in the backyard, there’s even more to Front Royal than first meets the eye. Below you’ll find five fun facts about our small town that can make your visit to Front Royal educational and inspiring, as well as relaxing.
Whether you’re a resident, a frequent visitor, or a city-dweller looking to take a break and explore a new town of rural America, read on to discover some lesser known facts about Front Royal that could make your next outing fun for all the family.
1. Front Royal is a Great Place to take a Walk through History
With a history beginning as early as 1788, Front Royal is a town that’s seen a lot of history. As residents and businesses through the ages have left their mark, you’ll find plenty of historic sites to enjoy with just a quick walk around town. Follow the directions on the Front Royal Walking Tour to enjoy an informed look at the many fascinating residences and businesses that surround Front Royal’s charming Main Street. Don’t forget to pick up a coffee to sip on as you stroll around.
2. Front Royal is a Great Place to Explore Inside Historic Buildings
Your adventure through Front Royal’s history doesn’t have to stop on the streets! Two of Front Royal’s most fascinating historic buildings are open to the public. Plan a visit to the Belle Boyd Cottage, the scene of the fascinating story of confederate spy Belle Boyd. Or check out the Balthis House, the oldest surviving structure on Front Royal’s oldest street. For a historic home that doubles as a museum, don’t miss the Ivy Lodge.
3. Front Royal was the Site of a Civil War Battle
With its long history and strategic location on the river and among the mountains, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that Front Royal saw some action during the Civil War. The Battle of Front Royal took place in 1862, and was a significant victory for Stonewall Jackson. Today, history enthusiasts can relive the most exciting moments of this battle, and explore the actual locations where the fighting took place. Follow the Battle of Front Royal Driving Tour to discover the key sites of this moment in history.
4. Front Royal is a Great Place to See Rare Geological Formations
It’s not just about the history. Front Royal’s Skyline Caverns boasts the distinction of being the closest national wonder to the nation’s capital. Plan your tour today and explore the underground marvels of this awesome cavern complex. With a mirror maze and miniature train on site too, it can be a day of fun and inspiration for the whole family.
5. Front Royal is the Canoe Capital of Virginia
This one’s to keep in your back pocket for the warmer months. While Front Royal is most famous for its proximity to Shenandoah National Park, it’s also the home of another natural wonder that’s less talked about, but can be just as fun: the historic Shenandoah River. With a range of easily accessible public boat landings, and several friendly outfitters to help you plan your trip, Front Royal definitely deserves the title: Canoe Capital of Virginia. Come back in the summer for an unforgettable day on the stunning Shenandoah River.
If the winter months ahead are bringing you down, why not plan a family visit to Front Royal? There’s history waiting to be uncovered, caverns ready to be explored, and our fantastic hotels and eateries are eager to keep you well fed and comfortable. There’s never been a better time to discover Front Royal!
With the holidays over and a brand New Year getting started, there can be something refreshing about getting back into the normal routine of life. But after the whirlwind and excitement of the holidays, January can also feel a bit… dull… There’s no need to get down in the dumps in Front Royal, though. Of course, Front Royal is a great location for enjoying the great outdoors even in winter. But if the thought of going outside in the cold just makes you more depressed, fear not! There’s lots of indoor fun to be found in our town too.
Today we’ve rounded up our top ten fun activities you can enjoy in Front Royal, all without venturing into winter’s cold! So read on for some ideas for keeping life interesting this winter. You could even ward of the January blues by picking four and planning a fun outing for each week of the month. That way you’ll still have plenty to look forward to.
1. Get your Gaming Fix at Fireball Arcade
Head to Front Royal’s Main Street and immerse yourself in the world of a retro arcade at Fireball Arcade. There’s no more counting quarters here! All games are on freeplay, so pay your entry fee and enjoy them all for as long as you want. It’s a great way to plan a change of scene that the whole family can enjoy!
2. Go to the Movies
Cross Main Street and lift your spirits with some classic entertainment at Front Royal’s Royal Cinemas. Find friendly service, great movies, and everything you’d expect at a small town movie theater. Popcorn is a must!
3. Sculpt and Paint Your Own Pottery
Whether you’re a practiced sculptor or someone who rarely looks at a paintbrush, using the creative side of your brain is always a refreshing change of pace. At Front Royal’s Explore Art and Clay, you get all of the fun and none of the clean up! Drop in alone or with friends to purchase and paint one of their wide selection of unfinished clay pieces such as plates, mugs, and statuettes. They’ll give your masterpiece a professional finish in their kiln. Or attend a clay workshop if pottery is more up your alley.
4. Throw an Axe
Get your blood pumping and the fun flowing by throwing some axes at Shenandoah Valley Axe Co. Enjoy this brand new trendy sport, hone your aim, and enjoy a fun menu of drinks and snacks.
5. Mac’s Roller Rink
Roller skating is another great way to get moving without getting cold in the winter! If you want to break a sweat roller skating, look no further than Mac’s Roller Rink. Stop in on the weekend to enjoy everything you’d expect to find at a small-town America roller skating rink! Round out the outing with Melting Pot Pizza before or after!
6. Winter Wine Tasting
When you think of wine tasting, you might imagine a vineyard in summer, but winter is a great season for wine tasting too. Get cozy at one of Front Royal’s wineries and enjoy some delicious Virginia Wines.
7. Discover (and make!) Beer History
While we’re on the subject of alcoholic beverages, we mustn’t forget another indoor Front Royal favorite, the Virginia Beer Museum. There’s plenty to see and drink here! Explore the history of Virginia Beer, and then relax with a drink yourself. You can add to your own personal beer history!
8. Get Cozy at the Library
Winter is a great time to curl up with a book, and Front Royal’s Samuels Public Library is a local treasure that can be a wonderful change of scene and a place to expand your horizons. Spend a morning in the cozy reading areas, sign up for the winter reading challenge, or check out the range of fun events planned.
9. Get your Kids into Coding
Coding is a skill that will help kids get ahead in today’s tech-driven world. And in Front Royal, they can have fun and learn about it at the same time. If your kids are getting cabin fever, bring them to Code Ninjas after school or on a weekend and let them take off! Be sure to check out the Parent’s Night Out. You can drop the kids off and go on to find some fun of your own!
10. Buy and Play Games and Toys!
Play Favorites is a toy shop like no other, and great addition to Front Royal’s shopping scene. This exciting toy shop stocks a wide range of toys, games and puzzles, and features a fun arcade/game room where you can try out a variety of their most fun products. Come by to shop or play! It’s another great option for indoor fun in Front Royal.
With games to play, wine to sip, axes to throw, and much more, there’s plenty of indoor fun to help keep the cold months going by in Front Royal. Make your plans today and see how much fun winter can be in a friendly, happening town!
The holidays are a great time of year to eat out. Whether you’re out running errands and need to grab a quick bite, taking a break from the craziness for a quiet date night with someone special, or enjoying a holiday celebration with friends and family, taking time for a meal out can reduce your stress and add to the fun of the holidays. In Front Royal, it’s easy to eat out while staying in the spirit of the season! Front Royal has a stellar selection of fantastic eateries, but today we’ve put together a list of the ones with the best holiday atmosphere. Read on to pick out the perfect venue for your holiday meal, and find a few suggestions for fun activities to round out the outing.
1. The Element on Main
If you want to stay in Front Royal and enjoy fine dining, The Element is an obvious choice at any time of year. But during the holidays it’s truly something special. Settle into the cozy atmosphere and relish the great view of Front Royal’s Christmas tree and lights. Meanwhile Element’s rotating menu of seasonally appropriate gourmet food will let your tastebuds know it’s the holidays too!
2. Pavemint Taphouse
Think micro-brewery and farm-to-table in a renovated gas station. Pavemint Taphouse has a far different feel from the Element, but it’s a great place for atmosphere and delicious food. Fun holiday specials like the bright green Grinch Mimosa bring a festive touch to a delicious meal.
3. Vibrissa Beer
Another great option for locally-brewed craft beer is Vibrissa Beer (formerly Front Royal Brewing Company). Stop by for a great atmosphere, seasonal craft beer specials, and delicious food. The host of Front Royal’s Holiday Market, Vibrissa has been doing all they can to help make the holidays great in Front Royal this year.
4. Osteria 510 Italian Kitchen
There’s something warm and comforting about Italian food that you can’t find anywhere else in the world! Find it in Front Royal at Osteria 510 Italian Kitchen. Locally sourced food, gourmet offerings, and Italian vibes – lovers of all things Italian will have a great time celebrating here.
5. Griffin Tavern
Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere! Griffin Tavern is an English pub, located in a beautifully renovated 1800s Victorian home. It’s in Flint Hill, so just under 20 minutes from Front Royal, but if you’re looking for a cozy dinner in a comfy pub setting, this is the place for you. Stop in for classic pub fare, such as fish and chips, burgers, steak, or shepherd’s pie. If you don’t have time for a full meal, you can still enjoy the atmosphere. Why not come in for a delicious holiday drink like their sticky toffee hot cocoa? Mmmmmmm.
6. Blue Door Kitchen
Also in Flint Hill, this upscale restaurant emphasizes fresh, local, seasonal produce. At Blue Door Kitchen you can enjoy festive fare that’s definitely good enough for “the most wonderful time of the year!” Special three course dinners available on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Make your reservations now to enjoy an unforgettable dinner on these special nights.
7. The Apple House
Classic Front Royal country fare, this local favorite includes local baked goods in the shop, a country style restaurant on one side, a pub style eatery featuring local beers and wines on the other, and unrepeatable atmosphere throughout! The Apple House is truly a one-stop-shop for all your holiday dining needs.
8. El Maguey
For an upbeat restaurant with everyone’s favorite Mexican dishes, stop by El Maguey. It’s tucked in the corner of a shopping plaza, but inside it’s like a whole different world. If Mexican comfort food is what puts you in a holiday mood, look no farther!
9. Enjoy Drinks with a Fun Front Royal Spin
If you want to relax with some drinks in Front Royal, we have two more great options to suggest. To enjoy wine tasting and wine shopping at the same time, stop by newly opened Front Royal Wines! Wine makes a great gift, so try before you buy from a wide selection of wines, and check some people off your gift list while you’re at it! It might be the most relaxing way to kill two birds with one stone!If you want to relax with some drinks in Front Royal, we have two more great options to suggest. To enjoy wine tasting and wine shopping at the same time, stop by newly opened Front Royal Wines! Wine makes a great gift, so try before you buy from a wide selection of wines, and check some people off your gift list while you’re at it! It might be the most relaxing way to kill two birds with one stone!
Another option for fun, relaxation, and some sipping is the Virginia Beer Museum. Enjoy a free tour, learn about the history of beer in Virginia, and then enjoy a drink at the bar!
So head to Front Royal for some fantastic holiday dining this year. You can enjoy delicious, holiday style food, and find lots more winter fun. For more great info, go here to check out our new page on all things winter in Front Royal.
Shopping is one of the major tasks of the holiday season for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be and exhausting trek through miles of products at your local big brand-name store. What if we rediscovered a way to shop where we can:
We’ve rounded up a list of three great reasons to shop local. Read on to learn more about why shopping local is a great way to cover your needs this holiday season . . . and the rest of the year too!
1. Shopping Local Helps the Local Community
It might seem that it doesn’t make much of a difference to the local area whether you shop at your nearest Walmart, or at a locally-owned small business. After all, both are providing jobs for people in the local community, right? While it’s true that the arrival of a big brand-name store can boost local economy, it’s been shown that small businesses generally reinvest more in the local community than large corporations.
It makes sense when you think about it. Spend money at a big brand store, and you’ll help fill the paycheck of local employees, but the top executives will also take their cut: and they most likely live hundreds of miles away. On the other hand, the money that your small business owner makes is what they use to cover their daily expenses. So instead of ending up in the hands of strangers across the world, your money will be going to your local doctor, your local soccer coach, and other local shops and restaurants. The message is simple: shop local if you want your money to stay around!
Small businesses have been shown to bring up the value of nearby real estate too, as a vibrant and exciting shopping area attracts new residents to a community. So shopping local could even help you sell your house one day!
2. Shopping Local Helps the World
Shopping local doesn’t just help the local community, it helps the whole world. The fuel and packaging used to transport food and goods for hundreds (often thousands) of miles, all have their impact on the global ecosystem. Think about all the amazon boxes piling up in your garage or your trash can! Buy from a local business and you can significantly cut down on the packaging in your life . . . and in the world!
Supporting local businesses is also an important step towards adding security to the supply chain. And that’s good for everyone. As we were all reminded in 2020, being completely dependent on goods shipped from thousands of miles away by a handful of big companies isn’t a good thing. The system is vulnerable to disruption, and disruption can mean being forced to do without what we need.
By contrast, local businesses are more secure. Because their products aren’t coming from far, far away, they can continue to provide them through a variety of crises. Support your local businesses today, so they’ll be here tomorrow when we all need them!
3. Shopping Local is More Fun for You!
Finally, shopping local can be a lot more fun. You’ll have the chance to meet and chat with business owners, peruse high quality merchandise, and even experience the thrill of uncovering a great find. Walk the streets, relax, and enjoy the satisfaction of shopping small and local!
Front Royal is a great place to begin your adventure in shopping local. With a wide variety of fantastic locally owned businesses, you’ll be able to meet many of your needs without leaving town! See here for our helpful list of Front Royal’s shops.
So while it may be easier to hop onto Amazon and find anything you want at the click of a button, why not do something different this year? Enjoy high-quality, locally produced goods, and help make the world a better place while you do it! This holiday season, give yourself and the world the gift of a brighter future; choose to shop local.
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