It shouldn’t be a surprise that Front Royal has a rich local history. The natural attractions of this location, from the Shenandoah River to the surrounding mountain beauty have brought a steady stream of settlers and visitors to the town throughout its varied history. Read on for nine fun facts about Front Royal’s local history, starting with the Native Americans and ending with Bing Crosby!
1. The Iroquois Once Hunted in Front Royal
The entire Shenandoah Valley, including the land that would become Front Royal, was rich in natural resources for Native Americans, and saw many tribes both pass through and build settlements. The Iroquois were the last Native American group really to take possession of the valley. Unlike some other tribes, their culture was based primarily on hunting, and they did not attempt to develop farms, but used the valley as hunting grounds. The Iroquois Confederation sold the land that included the future Front Royal to Colony of Virginia in 1744.
2. Front Royal was the Home of the Shenandoah Valley’s First Ferry
Front Royal sits at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. It was here that the Shenandoah Valley’s first ferry was established in the 1730s. The ferry helped the Valley’s many travelers cross the Shenandoah River.
3. Front Royal’s Original Name was LeHewtown
The town that would become Front Royal first came into existence as LeHewtown in 1754. The name came from Peter LeHew, an early settler who bought a tract of property in what would become the center of the town.
4. Front Royal was a Popular Stop for Travelers
Front Royal (or LeHewtown) saw many travelers coming through. The Shenandoah River, brought many boatmen into town. The Shenandoah Valley was also a natural route for livestock drivers. At the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, and the tip of Massanutten Mountain range, Front Royal was a natural meeting point for travelers. Due to the large numbers of taverns that popped up to serve the passers-through, Front Royal also gained the nickname “Helltown.”
5. We’re not sure where Front Royal Got its Name
In 1788, Front Royal officially received the name it has today. No one is exactly sure where this name came from, but there are several interesting theories. Our favorite dates back to the days of the Revolutionary war. A camp of British soldiers was located near Front Royal. Comers to the camp must respond with the password “Royal” to the sentry’s challenge of “Front.” Thus the name “Front Royal” came into common usage.
6. Front Royal was the Home of Virginia’s Second Subscription Library
Front Royal was on the forefront of literacy in Virginia. In 1799, Front Royal became the home of the second subscription library in the State. This library has grown and changed location several times over its more than two hundred years. Now it exists as Front Royal’s Samuels Public Library.
7. Over 200 Confederate Soldiers are Buried in Front Royal
Front Royal has a rich Civil War history, and was the location of the Battle of Front Royal during Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley campaign. After the war, the remains of the Confederate soldiers who had died in Warren County were gathered and buried together at Soldier’s Circle in Front Royal’s Prospect Hill Cemetery.
8. Skyline Drive Put Front Royal Even More on the Map
The 1920s were a time of exciting developments for Front Royal, as the Blue Ridge Mountains were selected as the location of a National Park for the Eastern United States. This park came into existence as Shenandoah National Park, and its northern entrance station is located right in Front Royal. The National Park draws outdoors lovers to the Front Royal all year round, especially in the fall. They find a warm, small-town welcome, great facilities, and gourmet dining, in addition to the natural wonders of the park that have delighted generations of visitors.
9. Bing Crosby was a Fan of Front Royal
Singing and acting star Bing Crosby visited Front Royal several times. In 1949 and 1950, he helped raise funds for a baseball stadium by appearing at several fundraising events, and donating personally to the stadium. Today, Front Royal’s Bing Crosby Stadium is the setting of baseball fun all summer long.
From Iroquois Hunters to Civil War soldiers, and from Early Traders to Stars of the Screen, Front Royal has seen it all. Plan a visit to Front Royal to explore even more of our history and find out what our exciting small town has in store for you!
Did you know that various studies like the “bridge study” seem to indicate that experiencing a rush of adrenaline with someone special can help you fall more in love? This phenomenon may be related to the fact that adrenaline is one of the primary hormones that surges through your body in the early stages of falling in love. Adrenaline also peaks during moments of excitement or risk. Enjoy a different kind of Valentine’s Day this year, by planning adventure and excitement with your significant other. Going on an adventure together can help you fall in love, stay in love, and rekindle the spark. And there’s no better place to do it than Front Royal!
Pair a fun outdoor adventure with the beautiful scenery surrounding the Front Royal area (and a gourmet dinner to finish the day off!), and you have the perfect recipe for romance. Read on for eight ideas on introducing adventure into your relationship in the Front Royal area.
1. Take a Romantic Hike
A hike is a classic way to adventure in the great outdoors and share great conversations. If you’re looking for a romantic hiking adventure, the Front Royal area is a great place to be. Check out one of the many fun hikes surrounding the Front Royal area. To make your hike extra adventurous, try one that’s not familiar. Or head to a scenic outlook such as Buzzard Rock or Old Rag (starting March 1st you’ll need to reserve tickets in advance) and experience the thrill of the mountain top together.
2. Scale a Rock Face
If you’ve ever tried rock climbing, you’ll know it’s a great way to bond with friends and experience an adrenaline rush. For a special date, book a rock climbing class in the Front Royal area, or if you’re an experienced climber, plan an expedition of your own. For indoor climbing, check out the bouldering wall at Front Royal’s BattleGrounds Fitness.
3. Watch the Sunset
Watching the sunset together is a classic way to enjoy being with someone you love. Front Royal’s Skyline Drive has some great overlooks for watching the sunset from the gorgeous crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s best to pick a roadside overlook (on the west side!) so you don’t have the unplanned adventure of trying to hike back to your car in the dark. But lingering in the outdoors as darkness settles over the landscape can be a great opportunity to enjoy some beautiful moments together. Head back to town after the sunset for a delicious dinner date. Or for a more extended adventure, pack a picnic and stay at the overlook for some stargazing.
4. Stare up at the stars
The Front Royal area is a great place to stargaze, and enjoying a starry sky together is another classic way for lovers to bond over natural beauty and a sense of adventure. See here for some great tips on stargazing around Front Royal. For extra romance bring a camp stove to make hot chocolate and some blankets to keep cozy.
5. Throw Axes Together
For an adventurous activity that’s less “out there” and more conveniently close to Front Royal’s fantastic restaurants, check out Shenandoah Valley Axe Co. Offers super friendly atmosphere where you can bond over the thrill of trying out a new and unique activity that will make you feel like a Viking warrior. P.S. - They have some fabulous food and drinks too! Hint, hint!
6. Start Training for an Adventure Race
Taking on a challenging adventure race together as a couple can be a great way for lovers of each other and the outdoors to bond, get fit, and experience tons of adrenaline. The Front Royal area is the host of two epic adventure races in the spring, the Shenandoah Epic and the Shenanduro. Both are stiff physical challenges and have a category for two person teams. You won’t be participating in either race on Valentine’s Day, but surprising your significant other with a race registration and joint training program could be a truly special gift.
7. Give the Gift of an Adventure to Look Forward to
With Valentine’s Day falling in winter time, it’s not the best time of year to experience all aspects of the outdoors. But surprising a loved one with tickets for an adventure in warmer weather can be a great way to make them feel loved. Skydiving might be the ultimate adrenaline rush experience for adventure seekers. For a more relaxing adventure, plan a river trip with a Front Royal outfitter.
8. End your Adventure with that Romantic Dinner in Front Royal
Whether you’re looking for a way to unwind after a day of adventure, or have simply decided that you’d prefer to keep it traditional this Valentine’s Day, Front Royal has loads of options for a less adventurous celebration, including gourmet dining, dance classes, art studios and more. See here for some great ways to get cozy and relax on Valentine’s Day (note that special events listed in this article may not be up to date – check directly with the individual businesses). Don’t miss Front Royal’s Chocolate Crawl leading up to Valentine’s Day to support and get to know our local businesses better and maybe even win some chocolate.
We don’t have anything against candle-lit dinners and bouquets of flowers, but if you’re looking to spark some extra excitement in your romance this Valentine’s Day, planning an adventure date may be just what you’re looking for. Feeling that adrenaline rush together can help stir up feelings of romance, love, and excitement. With scenic beauty, adventure awaiting, and cozy restaurants to unwind in, Front Royal might just have it all. Head to Front Royal for a truly memorable Valentine’s weekend.
Front Royal’s Cozy Eats
Winter is a season with its own special perks, and getting cozy and eating warm treats are two of them! Finding warm and delicious food in a cozy setting is a great strategy for enjoying the winter in Front Royal. Read on for a rundown of some of Front Royal’s coziest eateries. You’ll find suggestions for treats, casual dining, cozy pub-style restaurants, and more.
Cozy Treats for all Day Long
If you’re looking for a warming treat on a winter’s morning (or afternoon!), Front Royal’s cozy coffee shops are a great place to start. Between Manor Line’s Back 40, DL Campus Coffee on Main, and the Daily Grind, you can find ambiance, delicious coffee, yummy baked goods and more. With all this caffeinated goodness within Front Royal’s charming walkable downtown area, you can enjoy some crisp fresh air as well as a cozy mug of coffee to warm you from the inside out.
If you really want to zone in on the baked goods, Front Royal’s Down Home Comfort Bakery is the place to stop. Just the name evokes feelings of warmth, comfort, and delicious home-style food. Front Royal’s favorite bakery is a great place to stop for a freshly baked treat at any time of the day. Treat yourself to a slice of layer cake, a warm, fresh cinnamon roll, or one of a range of fantastic freshly baked treats that change with the seasons.
A Cozy Dinner to Suit your Style
With a range of locally owned restaurants all serving delicious food, the Front Royal area has a cozy place for you to eat whether you’re looking for a casual family pizza night or an upscale date night.
Pizza lovers, head to The Melting Pot. This casual pizza restaurant has been a Front Royal Tradition since the 1970s, and one bite will show you why. Fill up on thin crust pizza piled with all your favorite toppings.
The Main Street Mill is another Front Royal classic. Relax in a historic feed mill-turned restaurant. With wood floors, high wood-beamed ceilings, and murals, the Main Street Mill is a great place to get cozy. Pair the ambiance with a full service bar and a menu filled with comfort-food favorites. You’ll leave feeling satisfied and refreshed.
For a really rural vibe, head a bit out of town to The Apple House in Linden, and enjoy the Bushel Pub. With local wines and beers on tap, it’s a great place to enjoy a craft beverage with a burger or some pub style finger food. The atmosphere is casual and family friendly, and the open fireplace and taxidermy decor make it a great place to enjoy on a winter’s night.
Maybe it’s because it originated in the chilly British Isles. Pub food seems like a perfect fit for cooler weather. Formerly Griffin Tavern, now The Dark Horse Irish Pub, in nearby Flint Hill offers delish Irish fare in a renovated 1800s home. With three dining rooms to choose from, you can have cozy any way you like it here.
The Blue Door Kitchen and Inn in Flint Hill is an upscale dining experience, and a great option for a special day or date night. Find locally sourced and seasonal ingredients on a frequently changing menu, and enjoy some of the best flavors that winter has to offer. Be sure to make a reservation if you’re planning an evening here.
Whether it’s a hearty pub dinner or a warm cup of coffee that makes you feel like you’re celebrating winter, head to the Front Royal area. You can find warming eats any way you like them, and enjoy all the coziness that the colder weather calls for.
The Shenandoah Valley is probably most famous for its Civil War history. But to those who know and love the beauty and natural fertility of this area, it should come as no surprise that the Shenandoah Valley had human inhabitants well before Europeans arrived. In honor of these fascinating early peoples, we’ve rounded up six fun facts on the Native American History of the Shenandoah Valley.
1. There’s a Lot We Don’t Know about Native American History
This is more of a non-fact than a fact, but it’s important to keep in mind! Native Americans aren’t the easiest people to learn about. They lived quite a long time ago, and they left behind few remains for our historians to find. The Native Americans were often nomadic people whose relationship with the natural world seems to have been one of great respect. They made an effort to leave little impact on the natural systems of which they were a part. However, they did leave some traces of their presence, including pottery shards and burial mounds. Some of the more permanently settled Native American groups also left behind evidence of villages and food storage systems.
2. The Keyser People were among the more settled inhabitants of the Shenandoah Valley
The Keyser people were a group of Native Americans believed to have immigrated to the Shenandoah Valley from the Ohio valley. They seem to have enjoyed a more farm-based and stable culture than some of their hunter-gatherer counterparts, and left traces of large villages of up to 200 inhabitants. Artifacts of shellfish and quartz suggest that the Keyser people were also importing goods from coastal and other regions. It is believed that they exported deer hides from the Shenandoah Valley. Remains of a Keyser village have been discovered near Front Royal.
3. There were tensions between hunter/gatherer and farming tribes
It is believed that the Iroquois, whose culture was based primarily on hunting and gathering, may have been responsible for emptying the Shenandoah Valley of its Native American farmers and villages. These hunter-gatherers thrived in lands otherwise devoid of human settlers. They may have forcibly removed the villagers, whose settlements threatened their own way of life.
4. Native Americans blazed the trail for some modern day Shenandoah Valley roads
It was buffalo, and the Native Americans hunting them, who originally formed the trail that would become Virginia’s Route 11. Running north and south through the Shenandoah Valley, Route 11 closely parallels the busier and less scenic I-81. Whether on the highway or the byway, many modern travelers through the valley are following a Native American route more or less closely.
5. Native Americans formed a complex trail system in the Valley
Native Americans traveled the Shenandoah Valley for many purposes. Hunting, trade, warfare, and the search for the best seasonal forage areas were among their many reasons for travel. Their journeys eventually formed a system of trails known as the Great Warrior Path.
6. Visitors can see Native American Artifacts at the Strasburg Museum
The Strasburg Museum is found in Front Royal’s neighboring town of Strasburg. It’s a fascinating historic building, and a treasure trove of local history. You’ll find Virginia history since the time of the Colonial Era here. If you’re interested in finding out more about the first known human inhabitants of the Shenandoah Valley, you can see Native American artifacts too.
The story of the Native American inhabitants of the Shenandoah Valley is a fascinating, and often overlooked part of the Valley’s history. But exploring the Shenandoah Valley with these facts about its earliest human inhabitants in mind can provide a thrilling new perspective on one of Virginia’s most beautiful landscapes.
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