As the calendar turns to February, thoughts of romance begin to warm the winter air. If you’re planning an evening with a special someone look no further than the Front Royal area! You’ll find that a small town Valentine’s Day is the perfect setting for your romance to blossom. Read on for five tips (plus a bonus!) on celebrating Valentine’s Day (or any romantic occasion) in the Front Royal area. With fine dining, fun activities for couples, special events with local businesses, and wineries aplenty, there’s a way for everyone to keep the romance going (and maybe fall in love with Front Royal, too!)
1. Sample Front Royal’s Fine Dining
Nothing says “I love you” quite like dinner at an elegant table for two. If you’re in search of a traditional dinner date Front Royal’s fine dining eateries are at your disposal. Don’t forget to make a reservation! With Valentine’s weekend being one of the busiest of the year in restaurants, you’ll want to make sure you secure your table well in advance.
Mark your calendar for Saturday February 12 to take advantage of the four course Valentine’s dinner at ViNoVA Mediterranean Bistro. Go here to make your reservation and enjoy four delicious courses, a bottle of wine, and a special dessert cocktail. Eat, drink, and fall in love!
For a local craft brewery in a modern setting with delicious pub food, plan your Valentine’s Dinner at Front Royal’s own Vibrissa Beer. You may even catch a glimpse of Cupid while you eat.
The Element on Main Street is Front Royal’s classic fine dining option. You’ll find gourmet food and the atmosphere to go with it. Or for another fine dining options, lovers of Asian cuisine, should visit Try Thai on Main Street.
2. Explore a Casual Dining Spot that Locals Love
If you’re not in the mood for formal dining, a fun, casual eatery can also be a setting for great date. Today, we’re featuring two old Front Royal favorites where locals have been making great memories for years!
If there’s one restaurant in Front Royal that pizza lovers shouldn’t miss, it’s The Melting Pot! This local favorite has been feeding pizza to Front Royal for over 50 years. Some locals have been making memories here for a lifetime!
For a fun twist on the traditional dinner date, why not try a breakfast date instead? The Apple House is an old Front Royal area favorite that gets you out of town, but doesn’t involve a long drive. Don’t forget to end your meal with one of their famous apple butter donuts! Or come back in the evening for a drink, appetizers, and a sandwich at the Apple House’s newly opened Bushel Pub. With a drink menu full of Virginia wines and Virginia Craft Beers, it’s a great date-spot for lovers of local products.
3. Take a Dance Class
What could be more romantic than enjoying a dance together? If you or your partner have two left feet, don’t worry! Jig ’N’ Jive Dance Studio offers private ballroom and swing dance classes for couples. Have fun together, learn a new skill, and listen to romantic music, all at the same time!
4. Enjoy Special Valentine’s Events with Local Businesses
It’s impossible to enjoy all the Valentine’s fun on one day! That’s why Front Royal’s favorite local businesses have banded together to plan some fun events leading up to the big fourteenth.
The week of February 7-14, take part in the second annual Warren County Chocolate Crawl. Explore Front Royal and receive a special treat or discount at participating businesses.
Bring five receipts from participating businesses to the Visitors Center to enter their I LOVE Main Street $250 Giveaway! The winner will receive $250 in gift cards to all your favorite main street businesses. Stop by the Visitors Center for details.
On February 12, enjoy extra fun on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the I LOVE Main Street event.
February 12th and 13th are also a great days to try out axe throwing with your date! Shenandoah Valley Axe Co. is offering a Valentine’s special that features 1.5 hours of axe throwing as well as coaching and refreshments. Make your reservation today!
If you’re coming into town a week early, no worries! Main Street’s local businesses also have some Valentines-themed fun planned for the “First Friday” weekend of February 4-6.
5. Sip on a Glass of Virginia Wine
There’s something about the experience of sharing a glass of wine that is both memorable and romantic. If you’re in search of a wine date, the Front Royal area has a wealth of amazing local wineries. Rappahannock Cellars, and Fox Meadow Winery are two nearby favorites that combine delectable wines with all the classy winery atmosphere you love.
6. Don’t Forget to Plan Something for the Kids
Not strictly a date idea, but all parents know that the babysitting is an essential aspect of date planning. If you’re planning your night out for Saturday February 12, you’re in luck! Entertain them and let them burn off some energy at Battlegrounds Fitness. They’ll enjoy a night of fun, games, and healthy exercise. Bonus: they should be tired enough to collapse into bed right when you get home, giving you even more quiet time together! All ages from “potty-trained” on up are welcome.
You deserve a night on the town and it helps knowing your kids will be playing and having fun too! That's why Code Ninjas offers Parent's Night Out - definitely a win-win evening for entire families! Drop the kiddos off where they will play games, assemble puzzles, build robotics, and more! Code Ninjas is offering this service on Saturday, February 12th from 6 PM to 9 PM and on Valentine's Day, February 14th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
Once you've had a chance to unwind, swing by to pick them up (please) and hear about all the fun they've had!
Bonus: Take your picture by the LOVE Sign
While you’re out and about town on your date, don’t forget that Front Royal has a great spot for a fun photo shoot. Stop by Front Royal’s LOVE sign (located by the downtown gazebo and Commerce Street by Pavement). It’s the perfect background for taking a memorable picture together. While you’re there, stop by the Visitor Center to claim a special treat just for visitors to the area.
There really are almost unlimited options for romantic outings in the Front Royal area. After all, anything can be romantic when you’re with the love of your life on Valentine’s Day! To get more ideas for a fun activity that you’ll both enjoy, see our posts here and here. It’s easy to fall in love in Front Royal!
Getting off the beaten path means excitement, adventure, solitude. It means taking the road less traveled . . . and perhaps discovering a hidden treasure. That’s what’ll happen if you get away from it all and explore the small mountain town of Front Royal, the gateway to Shenandoah National Park. Get away from it all in Front Royal, and you’ll find a group of incredibly talented locals waiting to provide you with unique and memorable shopping, dining, and crafting experiences. Read on for a run-down of some of hidden treasures you’ll want to find as you explore Front Royal!
Pick Out the Perfect Gift at Inklings
If you’re in search of a gift that’s lovingly crafted, high-quality, and unique, you’ll hit the jackpot when you stop by Inklings on Main Street. From organic baby swaddles to herbal teas, handmade candles and soaps, and loads of other goodies, you’ll find a wide array of unique gifts to please the pickiest person on your list (or yourself!). Inklings sources their products from small businesses and artisans across the country, and there are always new items coming in. Imagine browsing Etsy, but in person!
Enjoy Genuine Country Food at the Apple House
The Apple House is about a ten minute drive from downtown Front Royal, and here you can find genuine country food and products in a genuine country setting! Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and explore the gift shop for a wide range of tempting items, including locally produced jellies, jams, and condiments. Don’t forget to grab some of the famous Apple Butter Cinnamon Donuts for the road!
Explore Fine Art at Turnmeyer Galleries
If you’re exploring Main Street, you’ll want to be sure to stop at Turnmeyer Galleries. It’s a unique blend of boutique gift shop and art gallery. Browse the fine art photography and metal work on display, or check out the incredibly wide range of gifts and luxury items. Plan ahead and you can even participate in a photography workshop or schedule an indoor or outdoor portrait session.
Complete Your Own Work of Art at The Studio
If you want to make your Front Royal souvenir even more unique, why not paint it yourself? Sign up for a class or workshop at The Studio on Main Street, and complete a painting or craft project under the expert direction of local artist Kelly Walker. You’ll walk away with a piece you can be proud of!
Take on a Pottery Project at Explore Art and Clay
Pining after pottery? Stop by Explore Art and Clay and check out all this full service pottery studio has to offer. You can participate in a pottery workshop, paint your pre-made pottery piece (they’ll fire it for you!), or even schedule time to use their equipment if you have your own supplies. Whether you’re an experienced potter or you’ve never tried it before, stop in for a fun date, family outing, or solo creative outlet! You’ll bring home a souvenir that you made yourself!
Sometimes you just need to get away from it all: the crowds, the hustle and bustle, the pace of the city. If you’re looking to take a break from the busy-ness of modern life, come and explore the unique shops and special treasures of the town of Front Royal. You’ll come away with fond memories, and a souvenir that’s just as unique as our town.
Every fall sees large numbers of visitors heading to the Front Royal area in pursuit of the breathtaking fall foliage vistas. But if you’re seeking nature’s glory splendor in Front Royal this year, make sure you catch the whole show! Mother Nature isn’t done after a day of drinking in the splendor of fall. There’s an equally glorious display about to come: the star-filled night sky.
There’s something about stargazing that’s good for the soul. The sight of thousands of sparkling lights coming from worlds away is one that never gets old. It’s a good reminder of how big the universe is. And how small we are.
And maybe it’s something we’re meant to see. After all, for most of human history, people everywhere enjoyed star filled skies on a regular basis. Today, light pollution has made stargazing difficult for those living in highly populated areas. That’s yet another reason to escape to the Front Royal area this fall so you can enjoy the night sky the way it’s supposed to be.
Stargazing Spots in the Front Royal Area
For those in search of the thrill of gazing at a starlit sky, there are two parks in the Front Royal area that offer particularly outstanding displays.
The first is Shenandoah National Park. Driving on Skyline Drive already makes you feel a bit closer to the sky. But for stargazers there’s still some light pollution from the towns in the valley below. To maximize your night sky viewing, head to one of the park’s top stargazing areas. The Big Meadows area is a sought-after stargazing spot, and the location of Shenandoah National Park’s formal astronomy program, which takes place on select Friday nights through the month of October. The Skyland Amphitheater is another top stargazing spot in the park. Making arrangements for a campsite,cabin, or hotel room in Shenandoah National Park is a great way to enjoy some stargazing without having to make a long trip home at night.
For more tips, see this guide to stargazing in Shenandoah National Park. The guide includes including a list of the top overlooks in the park for stargazing (with the least light pollution interference).
On the other side of Front Royal, another great option is Sky Meadows State Park. Sky Meadows offers such great night sky views, that it’s recently become an officially designated Dark Sky Park. The park typically closes at dusk, but check their schedule of events for the popular Astronomy for Everyone program. For these family friendly events, the park stays open after dark, and you can enjoy a guided stargazing experience. Or if you want a real stargazing adventure, plan on using their primitive hike-in tent camping site and spending a memorable night under the stars.
Five Stargazing Tips
If you’re sold on making stargazing part of your next Front Royal adventure, read on for a few more tips that will help make your experience great!
1.Plan with the moon in mind. The brighter the moon, the less you’ll see of the stars, as the light of the moon can drown out these smaller nights. Stargazing will be best with a new or crescent moon above you.
1.Wait for clear skies. You’ll also want to make sure that there’s minimal cloud coverage blocking your views of the stars. Choose a crisp, clear fall night (and maybe bring a mug of hot chocolate!).
1.Let your eyes get used to the dark. You may not be used to being outside after dark, but your eyes will get there quicker than you think. While it takes several hours for your eyes to completely adjust to darker conditions, major changes take place in your eyes after just ten minutes of darkness, allowing you to see better. To help your eyes adjust, avoid using flashlights or other artificial lights as possible. It’s also helpful to avoid looking at phone screens. If you must use a light, try using one that’s tinted red.
1.Stay safe. If you’re an adventurous spirit in the park after dark, you might be tempted by the idea of a stargazing hike. While hiking at night can be a fun and memorable adventure, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll want to take added safety precautions. Don’t stray from trails at night. You may find it impossible to retrace your steps without light. Also, avoid trails with hazards such as steep drops that could be particularly dangerous in the dark. Be particularly alert for wildlife. And as always, make sure someone knows where you are going, and when you expect to return.
For more stargazing tips, see this article on stargazing in Shenandoah National Park.
There are few sights as captivating as a night sky filled with stars, or as stunning as the Blue Ridge mountains lit up with the colors of fall. Plan to enjoy both this year. A combination leaf-peeping star-gazing trip will leave you filled with awe at nature’s wonders.
Photography means opening a window to let others in on your perspective. It means artfully capturing a small part through a tiny lens, and revealing something about the whole. It can mean planning meticulously and waiting patiently for the perfect shot. Or it can mean seizing the moment at a second’s notice so you don’t let the perfect image slip away.
This year, Discover Front Royal is in search of photographers who can work their magic in the Front Royal and Warren County area. Front Royal is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. But we want to see the Shenandoah Valley through the eyes of those who love it. Whether you’re a visitor to the Front Royal area, or a long time resident, we’ve love to see what YOU think makes this area so special.
Read on for more details about submitting entries to our photo contest. You can share what most captivates you about Front Royal, Warren County, and the Shenandoah Valley, and have a chance to win one of several great prizes!
1. Capture what you think are the best images in the Front Royal area.
With a wide range of categories including seasonal photography, Front Royal’s Downtown, and even drone/aerial footage, you’ll find a chance to share your own unique angle on our area.
In the Front Royal area, photography can be coupled with loads of other fun activities. Think hiking, camping, canoeing (with a waterproof camera!), wine-tasting, and loads more. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re in search of those winning entries!
2. Submit your photo to the photo contest here.
Be sure to fill out all the required information. Any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Submit any more fantastic images you capture through the year.
With the contest running for a full year (all the way to September 1, 2022), you have time to make sure that none of the “Best Views from the Valley” pass you by.
Contest winners will hear directly from us at the end of the contest, as well as seeing their work featured on Discover Front Royal’s website and social media. They’ll also be receiving some great prizes!
Enter for Best Drone/Aerial Footage
If you love photography and the Front Royal/Shenandoah Valley area, this one’s for you! Have fun capturing a spectacular image of the valley, share what you love with countless others, and have a chance to win one of several fantastic prizes. It’s an exciting and fun-filled opportunity you won’t want to miss.
Let others DISCOVER Front Royal through your lens!
Discover Front Royal