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!
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