If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering whether this fall is quite the same as the last one, the answer is: probably not. Every fall is different – and while all of them are beautiful, it’s true that some are more splendid than others. Each year, several different factors influences the complex biological process of the changing of the leaves. Small differences in these factors can lead to variations in many aspects of the fall season, including the timing of the color change, the length of the season, and the intensity of the colors.
Wondering how you can plan you fall “leaf-peeping” when the season is so unpredictable? Read on to learn more about what factors influence the display of fall leaves, and what we’ll be doing to help you stay right up-to-date with the exciting developments of fall in the Shenandoah Valley. We’re keeping our finger on the pulse of the season from right here in Front Royal.
Cool temperatures, as well as shortening days, trigger the process by which the leaves on a tree begin to change color and die. While the length of the days stays constant from year to year, the temperatures can vary widely. You won’t really see leaves starting to turn until the cooler temperatures arrive. The onset of cooler weather is a major factor in determining the beginning of the leaf-peeping season.
Even once cooler temperatures come, the weather conditions of the fall can vary. You might see an unexpected warm spell, an early freeze, clear and sunny days, or pervasive cloudy weather and rain. Each of these weather conditions will result in differences in the fall foliage display. Generally, cool temperatures that remain above freezing tend to generate the most brilliant displays of fall colors. In addition, sunlight increases the production of anthyocins, the chemicals responsible for the red colors of the fall. A sunnier fall will result in more vibrant reds than an overcast and rainy season. An early freeze can dampen the display, and strong winds or rain can cause leaves to fall more quickly, shortening the season.
Well before the arrival of fall, spring and summer conditions will have set the stage for the foliage display. If the summer has been particularly hot and dry, the trees will be more stressed, and the splendor of the colors will be somewhat dimmed. A stressful summer may even cause some of the leaves to brown or fall prematurely. A late spring is often associated with a delay in the arrival of the vibrant colors of fall.
Introducing: Leaf Report 2021!
With so many factors affecting the condition of the fall leaves, it’s impossible to predict exactly how the season will develop. The good news is that we’re here to help. Discover Front Royal's Leaf Report 2021 is a super informational tool for all things fall in our area. It’s also an excellent as a tracking tool to help you check the condition of the leaves from far away. There’s even a 'Live Leaf Cam' so you can have a real-time view of the fall foliage before you leave home! We’ll be updating this page frequently with reports and images from the Front Royal area to help you stay up-to-date and plan your visit. Don’t forget to follow us for updates, and more fun fall information and tips.
It’s a simple, natural change that takes place in many places around the world every year. And yet it’s also one of nature’s greatest masterpieces. It’s the changing leaves of the fall. It’s not uncommon to hop on a plane and cross oceans to visit ancient monuments, great masterpieces, and famous landmarks. But some people are so captivated by the sights of fall, that their favorite kind of sightseeing is the chance to revel in the autumn splendor of reds, golds, and oranges. The word for these lovers of fall is “leaf-peepers.” The name of the pastime is “leaf-peeping.” And nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, Front Royal, Virginia is a leaf-peeper destination par-excellence.
Just one fall visit to the Shenandoah Valley will be enough to explain why the area is such a sought-after fall destination. The tree covered slopes of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains are like a canvas under the hands of a master craftsman; each year they come alive with a new, yet familiar, work of art. From Skyline Drive, atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can see mile after mile of trees ablaze with color. October remains Skyline Drive’s most visited month of the year, proof of the enduring popularity of these fall foliage vistas. Situated at the northern entrance of Skyline Drive, Front Royal makes a great home base for a Skyline Drive leaf-peeping trip.
Reds, Oranges, and Yellows – Where Do They Come From?
But trees can’t get their energy from just “raw sunlight.” That’s where the leaves come in. They’re the food factories of the tree. It’s their job to transform sunlight into usable energy. However, keeping the leaves alive also uses up some of the tree’s energy. In the winter, there’s not enough sunlight for the tree to keep growing and supporting the leaves. So each year, trees go into a kind of hibernation. They stop growing. They stop reproducing. They rely on food stores. And their leaves die and fall off.
So why the crazy colors? In order to transform sunlight into tree food, leaves use a chemical called chlorophyll. It’s the chlorophyll that gives leaves their green color. As the days grow cooler and shorter, chlorophyll decreases. And as chlorophyll disappears, the other pigments in the leaves to shine through: oranges and yellows. If it wasn’t for chlorophyll, we’d see those oranges and yellows all the time.
Meanwhile, the combination of bright sunlight and cool air triggers the production of another chemical called anthocyanin in many trees. Scientists still aren’t exactly sure what the purpose of anthocyanin is. One theory is that it helps the trees to extract all the possible nutrients from the leaves before they die and fall off. However, we do know that anthocyanin is responsible for the shades of red that combine so beautifully with the oranges and yellows of fall.
Planning a Fall Trip to Front Royal
So this year, when you’re out leaf-peeping and enjoying those stunning fall scenes, you’ll have a better an idea of exactly what’s going on in nature. Discover Front Royal is here to help you make the most out of your trip to the Shenandoah Valley this fall. Use the resources on our Leaf Report 2021 page to help you follow the change of seasons and plan your trip to the fall trip Front Royal area.
Fall. It’s sipping a cup of tea or coffee, the weather finally cool enough to savor the feeling of hands wrapped around a warm and steaming mug. It’s getting cozy in a favorite sweater or jacket. It’s taking a walk in the crisp air, crunching the fallen leaves beneath your feet. It’s the feeling of fresh breezes, the sound of crackling fires, the scent of apple pie. In the Shenandoah Valley, fall means sweeping vistas of hillsides set ablaze with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. Maybe it’s fall that we should be calling “the most wonderful time of the year!”
It’s no wonder that Front Royal sees hundreds of visitors every fall. Situated at the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park (home of the iconic Skyline Drive), this charming small town is the perfect destination for lovers of fall. Cresting the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive is a coveted vantage point from which to soak in all the glory of the Shenandoah Valley in the fall. And when you’ve drunk your fill of the natural beauty, Front Royal offers a variety of quintessential fall activities. There’s apple picking, cozy coffee shops, exciting small town events, pumpkin patches, craft beer, and more.
Consider this page to your guide to all things fall in Front Royal. Explore the resources here to find tips, ideas, and information so you don’t miss a moment of this glorious season. Follow us for frequent updates on the foliage, fun facts about the fall, and suggestions for outings that will delight every member of the family.
First on the list is lodging. If you’re planning a fall trip to the Front Royal area, you’ll want to lock in your lodging well in advance. Here’s our guide to Front Royal fall lodging. You’ll find there’s something for everyone.
Fall Lodging in the Front Royal Area
If you really want to immerse yourself in nature, consider a camping trip to the Shenandoah Valley this fall. Mild temperatures can make fall camp-outs more comfortable than summer ones. It’s a great season for stargazing and stories around the campfire.
For convenient access to Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park features four campgrounds, and even back country camping for the most adventurous. Other options in the area include Elizabeth Furnace Family Campground in the George Washington National Forest, or the Shenandoah River State Park, where you’ll find a range of cabin and camping accommodations. The park is located just a few miles down the road from the entrance to Skyline Drive. It’s home to its own array of outdoor adventures and scenic viewpoints.
The Front Royal area also has plenty of lodging options for those who prefer more luxurious accommodations. In addition to camping, Shenandoah National Park offers resort style hotels and cabins. In Front Royal, there are several Bed and Breakfast options, as well as a range of hotels, including national chains, and one-of-a-kind local businesses. If you’re looking for lodging in Front Royal this fall, you’re bound to find something that suits you perfectly.
Experience the Perfect Fall in the Shenandoah Valley
We typically associate vacations with summer. But if you restrict your traveling to the warmest months of the year, you’ll be missing out. Explore Front Royal and the Shenandoah Valley this fall. We’ll be with you every step of the way. Don’t forget to stay tuned for frequent updates and tips to make this fall the best one ever.
It’s amazing how much of a difference the look and feel of a building can have for a business. . . and a for a town!
We take it for granted all too often, but a well-designed building with an enjoyable atmosphere is a key component of a successful business. The building can be the factor that determines:
A town that has the right spaces available will attract exciting and innovative businesses. On the other hand, a street that looks downtrodden, depressing, and out of date is likely to stay that way! Who wants to begin an exciting new venture on “sad street?”
The Vibe Properties story is the tale of how one property company is creating great business spaces to spark incredible growth in the town of Front Royal. In 2019, Vibe Properties received the Urban Catalyst Award from the American Institute of Architects. This prestigious award is a testimony to the major improvements taking place in downtown Front Royal.
Want to know the fascinating story of a small town, a historic street, and a couple with energy and vision? Read on!
The Story of Vibe Properties and Main Street Front Royal
When Vibe Properties’ co-owners, Kerry and Tim Barnhart retired to Warren County, they quickly fell in love with the town of Front Royal. They soon noticed the unfulfilled potential of the downtown Main Street area. The street was quaint and centrally located. But rent rates in that part of town were low, scaring away possible investors. The atmosphere was decidedly neglected. The Barnharts were ready to take on the challenge. They founded Vibe Properties with a simple but compelling mission: to acquire buildings in downtown Front Royal. To turn these buildings into spaces that would attract new businesses. To breathe new life into a historic part of Front Royal. After only two years, the American Institute of Architects’ Urban Catalyst Award recognized that they had done just that.
Vibe Properties began in 2017, with the acquisition of two of Main Street’s historic buildings, the Weaver Building and the Barnhart Building. Over the next year and a half, the company undertook extensive renovations to the buildings to give them an inviting and interesting look while honoring their rich history.
The Weaver Building was built as a department store in the early 1900s. When Vibe Properties acquired the building, it stood empty. It got a newly designed store front and entryway. In the back of the building, exposed steel and large windows replaced a brick wall. The new design allowed for a more open feel with views onto a dinning terrace in the back, and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.
Meanwhile, the Barnhart Building was a nondescript row of shops. Around a hundred years old, the building had seen many different uses over the years. Vibe Properties completely changed the façade, giving each business its own inviting and distinctive look. The company also made extensive changes to the interior of the building. Front Royal residents and visitors stopped walking straight past. It didn’t take long for the Barnhart Building to fill with exciting new businesses.
Vibe Properties: Catalyst for Change in Front Royal
The town of Front Royal is experiencing strong population growth. At the same time, thousands of visitors pass through every year. With its proximity to Shenandoah National Park, the George Washington National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, and the Shenandoah River, Front Royal is ideally situated to attract hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts. But until recently, the historic center of Front Royal had little to offer. Residents routinely turned to neighboring towns for dining and shopping options. Visitors had little reason to stop by Main Street after a long day on the trails or the river.
Now, Main Street hosts the kind of businesses that were drawing Front Royal’s residents and visitors to other towns. The Weaver Building is the home of Try Thai Restaurant, and Inklings gift shop, and Wildfire Yoga.
Inklings is a locally owned business that offers soaps, candles, clothing, art, and other gifts. Try Thai has taken advantage of the newly designed space to offer indoor and outdoor dining in a beautiful setting offering amazing Thai Cuisine. Wildfire Yoga offers private, group, and virtual sessions in a variety of yoga styles, designed to improve body mechanics and daily life.
Cross the street to the Barnhart Building and you’ll find Mountain Trails, Down Home Comfort Bakery, the Front Royal Brewing Company, and ViNoVA Wine and Tapas. Down Home Comfort Bakery was located in the Barnhart building before its acquisition by Vibe Properties. Now, the shop has a completely redesigned exterior and interior. It looks and feels like just the kind of place you’d want to pick up a delicious home-made cake, pie, or treat. Mountain Trails is a new branch of the Winchester-based outdoor equipment company. And Vibrissa Beer (formerly Front Royal Brewing Company) extends into the back of the building, which has been redesigned to tastefully exhibit its origins as a turn-of-the-century parking garage. The feel is spacious, modern, and unique. Next door to the brewery, ViNoVA Wine and Tapas caters to wine lovers, and offers fun specials like the Midnight Snack, and Bottomless Paella Brunch.
Vibe Properties’ tenants have gone above and beyond to attract Front Royal’s “outdoorsy” visitors. Imagine arriving in Front Royal after several strenuous days (or weeks!) on the Appalachian Trail. Feel like cleaning up? The Barnhart building includes Basecamp Front Royal, a free service sponsored by Mountain Trails, the Front Royal Brewing Company, ViNoVA Wine and Tapas, and Down Home Comfort Bakery. Here, hikers can store gear in a secure locker, do laundry, and take a shower. After cleaning up, they can enjoy a craft beer and burger at the brewery. For those who prefer wine and tapas, ViNoVA is right next door. Desserts (or some treats to take on the trail) are at the Down Home Comfort Bakery. Any needed hiking gear can be found at Mountain Trails. Front Royal is no longer a neglected town to rush quickly past. It’s become the perfect haven for weary hikers.
A New Chapter for Front Royal
If you’ve been noticing that Front Royal has recently undergone significant improvement, it hasn’t just been your imagination. The achievements of Vibe Properties show what a creative vision and the courage to pursue it can accomplish in just a few short years. A new chapter has begun in Front Royal. And it couldn’t be more exciting.
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