Guest Post written by Warren Massey of Front Royal, VA.
Twitter @ijustwant2ride and https://ijustwant2ride.com/
I have ridden along many national parkways including the Natchez Trace (TN/MS), Great Lake Seaway Byway (NY), Blue Ridge Parkway (VA, NC) and, of course, the Skyline Drive Parkway (VA). I have also attended multiple motorcycle rallies along the east coast including Daytona.
Outside of rallies, I have never seen as many motorcycles in one location as I do in Front Royal, Virginia. During motorcycle riding season, it is not uncommon to see hundreds of motorcycles in Front Royal, either singular or riding in large groups daily. You can see these large numbers of motorcycles passing through almost every day but especially on weekends. In my opinion Front Royal could be the motorcycle destination of Virginia much like Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee.
Why are so many motorcycles passing through Front Royal? It is because the town is located at the northern terminus of Skyline Drive and about an hour from the nation’s capital. All these motorcycle riders are passing through the town on the way to Skyline Drive or to parts unknown as they leave the Parkway.
By just passing through Front Royal motorcyclists are missing out on opportunities for some great local rides and the great local flavor. For example, a rider can take a loop from Front Royal to Luray via Fort Valley Road. That ride would last about two+ hours, depending on stops, and would have you back in town by lunch time.
After lunch, mount the motorcycle and head south out of town to cross under Skyline Drive at it two gaps. But be careful, they are quite technical, and the northern gap is designated as a high crash area. Two+ hours later you will be back in town with enough time to get to dinner and a stroll along main street.
After dinner, riders could visit the Virginia Beer Museum for brew and live music or Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing for a unique activity or any of the many other venues in town. Front Royal has lots of hotels and restaurants and a main street that could be considered a throw-back to another era. Check out the movie theater that has a 1950’s vibe with a state-of-the-art projector and sound system.
Front Royal may be the gateway to Skyline Drive, but it should also be a destination at the start or end of your motorcycle ride. Stay a day or two, there are plenty of hotels and campgrounds, to explore both our local roads and our small-town atmosphere.
As gas prices continue to climb this summer, it’s a great time to appreciate all we have close at hand. Those in the Front Royal area have plenty of fun to enjoy without travelling too far, and in the summer there’s also lots of food being produced close to home. No need to buy in food from far away and pay for the costs of transporting it!
Here at Discover Front Royal, we’re providing a guide to some of the fantastic local food that’s produced right in our area. Today, we’ve rounded up three local favorites that all begin with a “P”: peaches, peanuts, and . . . pies! Read on to learn more about these classic local foods, and how to enjoy them in the Front Royal area.
Pick your Own Peaches in Front Royal
Biting into a delicious, juicy peach is one of the pleasures of summertime, and if you have a freshly picked, local peach in hand, it’s going to taste all the better. Virginia has a great climate for peach production, and has ranked as the fourteenth largest peach producer in the United States. In a rural area like Front Royal, it’s not too hard to find orchards with delicious fresh peaches ready to pick and eat! Peach season runs through July, August, and sometimes into early September, so most of the summer is a great time to eat fresh, local peaches.
To pick your own peaches, head to one of Front Royal’s nearby fruit farms. Hartland Orchard is a popular option, and conveniently close to I-66. To get a bit more off the beaten path, try Valley View Farm. After peach picking, you can enjoy wine and cider tasting as well as exploring the extensive “locavore farm market" filled with local products. Hollin Farms is another great peach-picking option, where you can also pick in-season fresh vegetables. Stock up on summer garden classics like corn, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, peppers, and more, including some you may never have heard of.
To ensure availability, always call ahead before heading out on a pick you own expedition.
Front Royal’s Virginia Peanuts
From peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to roasted peanuts and peanut butter cups, it’s safe to say peanuts are a favorite staple of the American diet. But did you know that Front Royal’s own state of Virginia was the first known U.S. location where peanuts were planted, and remains one of the nation’s top producers of peanuts? First arriving in Virginia in the early 1900s, peanut plants thrived in Virginia’s warm summers and sandy, loamy soil. Today, Virginia’s peanuts are an exciting and delicious local product.
If you’re thinking of peanuts as a nut growing on a tree, think again. Despite their nutty name, peanuts are actually legumes that grow beneath the soil. In the Front Royal area, you can enjoy a close encounter with a peanut plant at Hollin Farms, where dig-your-own peanuts are typically available in September and October. Bring the kids for a fun and unique outing, and make some homemade peanut butter when you get home!
To find Virginia Peanuts that you don’t have to dig up in Front Royal, check out the gift shop at the Apple House, where you’ll find shelves full of local products, including peanuts and lots more. Or explore Dusty’s Country Store where you’ll find delicious, small-batch made peanut butter made with peanuts from the great state of Virginia.
Enjoy a Local Pie in Front Royal
“As American as Apple Pie” is how the saying goes, and it’s true that pies are a classic favorite American dessert. During the summer and fall, using in-season fruit for a pie is a great way to make an easy, crowd-pleasing dessert, and give a fresh, local touch to your table. To make pie-making a snap, try this easy “no-roll” pie crust recipe. Make the crust right in your pie dish, add your filling, and you’ll be cooking up a delicious pie before you know it.
Want the pie without the work? Find delicious local-made pies in Front Royal at Down Home Comfort Bakery. Freshly made with all-natural ingredients, Down Home Comfort Bakery’s baked goods are sure to put a smile on your face and leave your guests asking for more.
There’s so much delicious local bounty to enjoy around Front Royal in the summer. Explore the “P’s” of local produce this summer and celebrate all that the great state of Virginia has to offer.
Finding a way to get into (or close to!) the water is a great way for everyone to relax in the summer. For kids, a day of swimming or playing by the water can be an adventure like no other. If you’re looking for an opportunity to let your kids cool off and have fun this summer, read on! You’ll find our top five ways to get kids in enjoying the water in Front Royal. Discover swimming lessons, kayaking, fishing, and more, and plan some fun outings to make this summer memorable.
1. Head to the Pool
Swimming pools are a classic summer favorite for kids and their parents alike! With lifeguards on hand and controlled water conditions, swimming pools are among the safest places for kids of all ages to swim. Parents can enjoy relaxing in the sun or jump in and cool off themselves!
There are two fantastic outdoor pools to explore in the Front Royal area. Claude A. Stokes Community Pool is located right in town, and open every afternoon through the summer months. With a water slide, diving board, and zip line, as well as wading and fountain pools, there’s something here for kids of all ages to enjoy. Let the games of Marco Polo begin!
Another great option for a summery outdoor pool in a rural setting is the Northern Virginia 4-H Center. The pool opens to the public Thursdays-Sundays in June and July.
Both pools offer swimming lessons, so if your little swimmers need some coaching they can find it in Front Royal, too!
2. Relax at the Splash Pad
If you have small kids or limited time, you may not feel the need to go all in with a pool day to satisfy your family’s need for refreshing water fun. For these situations, Front Royal’s Splash Pad is a great fit. Head to the Dr. Seide Memorial Botanical Gardens to explore this fun, kid-friendly water attraction. You'll leave with a wet, happy, and refreshed crew.
3. Take a River Trip
Bigger kids will love the adventure of taking on the Shenandoah River in a kayak or canoe. Bring some fun snacks, load up with water, and plan your outdoor adventure with one of Front Royal’s fun and helpful river outfitters. It’s a great way to get everyone outside and enjoying the fantastic natural beauty around Front Royal without undertaking a more strenuous activity like a hike. Bonus: with the outfitter doing all the planning, parents can relax too, without having to sweat the logistics!
4. Wade in the Shenandoah River
Getting outdoors together is a great way to enjoy family time in the summer, and kids will love it if you can plan your next outdoor time somewhere they can enjoy the water. In Front Royal, an evening on the banks of the Shenandoah River is easy to plan and fun for everyone. Head to one of Front Royal’s many river access points. Adults can enjoy the scenic beauty, while kids explore the banks of the river, and maybe even get their feet wet. Our top picks: Eastham Park and Shenandoah River State Park.
Don’t forget that a flowing river can be much more dangerous for children than a pool. Children should explore parts of the river where they can easily walk on the bottom, and should be closely supervised at all times. Sharp items can end up of a river bottom, so shoes are a must too!
5. Explore Happy Creek
Much smaller than the Shenandoah River, but overflowing with fun for kids, Happy Creek flows right through Front Royal. Head to the Lions Park/Gertrude E. Miller Park complex for access to the creek that is perfect for a family adventure. Kids can enjoy exploring the water, and even try their hand at fishing. If the stocking truck’s been by lately, they may just get lucky. Happy Creek is also a great place to observe other water wildlife. Maybe you’ll come home with some tadpoles to raise. When they’re ready for a break from the river, there are playgrounds aplenty to choose from right there in the park!
From the pool to the river, with a lot in between, Front Royal has it all when it comes to finding a place for kids to enjoy getting wet in the summer! Get outdoors in Front Royal with your kids this summer, and enjoy cooling off, making memories, and experiencing water adventure in lots of different ways!
Discover Front Royal