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.
In the Northern Hemisphere, December is the darkest month of the year. The good news is that there are thousands of tiny, twinkling lights around to keep all of our spirits up during this season of long nights and short days. The holiday light displays across the U.S. are one of the most magical sights of the holiday season. Whether you enjoy holiday lights simply by taking a walk around your neighborhood, or think it’s worth jumping in the car to check out local lights near you, holiday light viewing is a great way to enjoy the magic of the season. Bring some hot chocolate to sip on, and enjoy a Christmassy adventure for all the family!
There are several fantastic holiday light displays within driving distance from Front Royal. Read on for help planning your light-viewing outing this season.
1. Have a Wonderful Walk at Clearbrook Park
Head north of Front Royal to Clearbrook Park to enjoy Walking in a Winter Wonderland! The 0.5 mile trail is surrounded by stunning light displays with just the right holiday tunes playing to surround you in a magical experience. It’s a fun outing for all the family. Be sure to plan ahead as advance ticket purchase is required.
2. Enjoy Gardens Transformed into a Winter Wonderland
You’ll need to venture closer to the big city for this one, but if you want to see one of Northern Virginia’s Botanical Gardens transformed into a magical winter wonderland, it’s worth the trip. The Meadowlark Botanical Garden’s Winter Walk of Lights includes displays of flowers, animals, and trees, as well as seasonal holiday themes. If you need to warm up, hot chocolate and coffee are available for purchase, as well as snacks, and even cold drinks if you’re in the mood! Tickets are required: plan ahead and reserve your tickets now to avoid disappointment!
3. Cruise through Miles of Magic at the Bull Run Festival of Lights
If you want to enjoy some holiday lights from the comfort (and warmth!) of your car, the Bull Run Festival of Lights in the nearby town of Manassas is for you! Turn off your headlights and enjoy the magic of this 2.5 mile display. There’s even a special radio station you can tune to so you can enjoy seasonal music while you drive. After enjoying the light display, stop by the Holiday Village and Carnival. Here you can enjoy bonfires, s’mores, camel rides, carnival rides, and much more! Buy your tickets here.
4. Enjoy Lighting Small-town Style on Main Street, Front Royal
Though perhaps not as grand as some of the displays around, don’t forget that Front Royal’s own Main Street is picturesque during the holiday season! Take a stroll one evening and enjoy wreaths and lights on the lampposts, and a lit up tree at the gazebo.
There's also 'Front Royal Light Fight', a first for Front Royal! This is a friendly Christmas light competition promoting fellowship, fun, and community. Organized by Lori Oaks, a local real estate agent whose mission is to bring value to the communities she serves. Monetary prizes will be awarded to six winners! Check out the competitors here and mark your map to get out and view them!
Being local, you can even fit in some Christmas shopping while you’re out, or take a break and treat yourself at one of Main Street’s many fantastic eateries.
5. Get Away from it All and Gaze up at a Star-filled Sky
If you’re a lover of nature, and also looking to escape some of the crowds and hustle and bustle, why not switch out a holiday light viewing outing for a removed stargazing adventure. Mother Nature’s display of thousands of twinkling lights is more magnificent than any other! The night skies around Front Royal are dark and free of light pollution, and with Shenandoah Nation Park on our doorstep, it’s a great place to plan holiday stargazing trip for yourself or your whole family. Don’t forget to pack hot chocolate and blankets! See here for more of our tips on stargazing in the Front Royal area.
So if you’re in the Front Royal area this holiday season, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the magic of holiday lights. Whether you’re looking for a magical walk, an enchanted car ride, a stroll in a pretty village, or the silence and majesty of a starry night sky, you’ll find it around here. Guaranteed to lift your spirits, and delight children and adults alike, an outing to see the lights could be the next staple tradition for your holiday season!
Enjoying the sights and smells of a real Christmas tree in the house room is an essential part of celebrating the holidays for many. But going to pick out your tree can be an experience all its own. If you’ve gone out into the fields and cut your own Christmas tree at a tree farm, you may be missing out on a new family favorite holiday tradition. Let this year be the year you give it a try! Wrap up warmly, and bring the whole family!
With its rural location, Front Royal is a great starting point from which to access a number of rustic Christmas Tree farms where you can pick out your tree from right where it grew! If you’re interested in enjoying the outdoors, supporting local farms, and knowing exactly where your Christmas tree came from, heading to a cut-your-own farm should be on your Christmas list this year.
Read on to discover the Christmas tree farms of the Front Royal area!
1. Hartland Farm and Orchard is Front Royal’s closest tree farm option. A summer-time favorite for fruit picking, Hartland transforms into a winter wonderland in the month of December. Saws are provided as well as assistance with tree wrapping and loading. Enjoy some free hot chocolate, and don’t forget to check out the wreaths and other decorations on sale. Hartland is conveniently located right off I-66 so it’s easy to get to, but has a less “tucked away” feel than some other local options.
2. For a more rustic option, head south to Valley Star Farm and enjoy scenic views of the Shenandoah Valley on all sides from this “down-in-the-valley” tree farm. It’s the same deal: explore the fields, cut your tree, and they’ll help you with wrapping and loading. Precut trees area also available here, for those who would enjoy a visit to a farm, but aren’t up for tramping out into the fields.
3. Concerned about bringing pesticides into your home on your Christmas Tree? Oak Shade Tree Farm is a great option! This family owned and operated tree farm raises all their trees without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. Enjoy cutting your tree, and don’t forget to check out the fantastic farm store after they help you load. Here you’ll find a wide selection of farm foods and hand crafted items, many of them provided by extended family members. There’s even a fire pit to warm up at on a cold day!
4. Glengary Tree Farm is another option for a simple cut-your-own operation in a stunning location. Explore the hillsides of this farm in search of your perfect tree, and enjoy gorgeous mountain views.
5. If you have a cathedral ceiling or a large space for your Christmas tree, consider stopping by Tranco Farms to find the grand tree that matches your space. All of their trees are over ten foot, so this isn’t a good option if you don’t have a big enough space. Tree cutting is by appointment only, so call ahead to make your plans!
6. Snickers Gap Farm is the celebrity of the Front Royal area’s Christmas tree farms. It was selected as MSN’s best tree farm in Virginia, and has been featured in several prestigious magazines (including Martha Stewart Living). It’s easy to see why. Beautifully kept rows of trees, a wagon ride out to the field, and a snack shack serving hot cider, warm soft pretzels, and more combine for a magical experience. The fame of Snickers Gap farm can draw larger crowds, so if you’re looking for a more secluded option, it may not be your best bet.
Remember most cut-your-own farms expect you to haul your own tree in from the field. So make sure you’re ready for the challenge, and bring extra hands to help if you think you’ll need them. Having a rope or a tarp to help drag the tree can also be helpful. Some farms may be willing to offer assistance, but if you’re counting on it, it’s best to call ahead and make sure you’ll have the help you need.
It’s also a good idea to call the farm you plan on visiting or check their social media before driving. You’ll want to ensure they still have trees available before making the trip.
The Front Royal area is a great place to visit a tree farm and take your Christmas tree shopping experience to a whole new level. Here’s to a memorable family adventure and a beautiful tree to enjoy all season long!
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