In winter, a cozy fireplace can become the beating heart of your home. It’s a place the family can gather to bask in the warm glow of the fire. If you’re stuck at home this winter, try dedicating some screen-free evenings to spending time by the fire as a family. We’ve rounded up some innovative ideas for fireside activities. Even if you’ve been enjoying your fireplace for years, read on! You may discover a new way to relax by the fire on a winter’s evening.
1. Cook on the fire – it’s not just for summer!
You may have spent many evenings by your fire, but have you ever thought of making dinner on it? Just like a campfire, the fire in your hearth can be used for cooking. Gather around the fireplace on a winter’s night for a fun dinner that will remind you of those summer campfire cookouts. For some ideas to get you started, see here and here. Bonus: cooking as a family in the living room gives mom a break!
If you’re not in the mood for cooking a full dinner, you can still enjoy your fireplace and some delicious fire-roasted snacks or deserts. S’mores can be made indoors, just as they can on an outdoor campfire. Or for a Christmassy option that will remind you of a popular song, try some chestnuts “roasted on an open fire.” Make sure you have butter and cinnamon ready to dip them in! Baked apples are another great option for a fun and easy fireside desert.
2. Enjoy the Mood Lighting!
If you can turn off the lights while you’re gathered around the fire, you’ll notice how quickly the mood changes. Distractions melt away, and stresses seem to disappear, as the warmth and light of the fire comfort body and spirit. Skeptical . . . just give it a try one night: we promise, you’ll love it. Bonus points if you have Christmas lights up at the same time.
3. Have a Fireside Chat
There’s something about sitting by a fire together that can get people to open up and engage in great conversations that would not happen so easily otherwise. Need some help getting a conversation going? Consider keeping a pack of “conversation starter” cards near the fire. You never know, you might learn something you never knew before about a family member or guest.
4. Try a Fireside Game
There’s nothing like a family game night for involving everyone in some fun. Do it around the fire, and you’ll find it’s an unbeatable combination. If you’re going to play a family game around the fire, it’s ideal if it doesn’t involve too much moving around, and doesn’t require bright lighting. You’ll find some ideas here.
5. Read a Story Together
When the whole family is gathered around the fire is a great time to crack open a book and start reading aloud. If you can find a collection of short stories, that’s a great place to start. They’re short enough that you can get through a whole story – or two – in an evening. The short stories of Edgar Allan Poe will give your family a lot to think and talk about. They’re not a great option for younger audiences though. Or dig through a second hand bookstore, such as Front Royal’s own Royal Oak Bookshop and see what treasures you can find for yourself.
When the weather outside is frightful, the fire can be delightful. Take the time to enjoy your fire and your family this winter. Here’s to memories made around the fireside that will last a lifetime.
With Christmas 2020 fast approaching, COVID-19 restrictions continue to fill our lives with uncertainty and disappointment. It’s tough wondering which beloved Christmas traditions we’ll miss out on this year. We could all use some festive cheer! That’s why the Front Royal Chamber of Commerce has decided to go ahead with its annual Christmas Parade. With a few modifications, this outdoor event can go ahead safely, bringing some Christmas spirit to our favorite small town.
Read on for details of the 2020 Front Royal Christmas Parade, including COVID-19 safety measures. You’ll also find some ideas for making a day of it. Come out and be a part of giving the town of Front Royal a Christmas boost!
The Front Royal Christmas Parade
The Front Royal Christmas Parade will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 5. This year, to allow for social distancing, the parade will proceed down N. Commerce Avenue, beginning at E Stonewall Drive, and disbanding at Bing Crosby Stadium. With many of Front Royal’s favorite businesses and organizations participating in the parade, it’s a great way to celebrate everything Front Royal has to offer. With the extra space along the 2020 parade route, you’ll be able to comply with COVID-19 guidelines as well as enjoying this beloved Christmas tradition.
Shop and Dine - Support Front Royal’s Local Businesses
Although the parade will not go down Main Street this year, the route still allows participants easy access to the shops and restaurants of downtown Front Royal. It’s a great excuse to explore what the town of Front Royal has to offer.
Plan to visit Front Royal’s unique shops before the parade if you still have Christmas shopping on your to-do list. You’ll find unique gifts, antiques, used books, pottery, and outdoor gear, all within walking distance of the parade route. Downtown Front Royal is just the right place to find just the right gift for the trickiest people on your list.
If you’re hoping to enjoy the parade with something warm and delicious in your hand, you can! Allow time to stop by the Down Home Comfort Bakery, or one of Frond Royal’s coffee shops on your way to the parade route. Happy Creek Coffee, the Daily Grind, and DL Campus Coffee on Main are all great options for delicious coffee or hot chocolate and a tasty treat.
Don’t forget the fun doesn’t end with the parade. Round out the afternoon by grabbing dinner at a local restaurant before you head home. Or check out one of Front Royal’s fantastic entertainment spots.
If you’re starting to worry that the Grinch will steal Christmas this year, an afternoon at the Front Royal Christmas Parade will lift your spirits. You can enjoy a day of family fun, celebrate everything about our amazing small town, AND support local business! We’ll see you there!
P.S. - The parade is a fantastic opportunity to take some great photos that you can enter for our "Staying Home for the Holidays" photo contest! We'll be featuring them on our Home for the Holidays page on our website too!
Late fall can be a bleak time of year. But for those who know what to look for, late fall has its own beauty. Among the mostly bare trees, you’ll still find a few that are holding on to their leaves. When the best of the fall foliage has passed, it’s a great time to look out for oaks and beeches. These two species typically hold onto their leaves for the longest. In fact brown leaves can remain on oak trees through the whole winter, until the new growth in spring replaces them.
But as the season of fall slowly winds, down, there’s still time for some fun in the town of Front Royal. Located at the northern entrance to Skyline Drive, Front Royal has even more to offer than just its natural beauty. In the town itself, you’ll discover a wide range of fun activities, together with delicious local food and drink. It’s small-town living at its best. Here’s our top ten ways to have fun in Front Royal. It’s a small town, but it can make your leaf-peeping day complete.
1. Throw an Axe!
The brand new sport of axe throwing appeared in the U.S. in 2006. It’s growing fast, and it’s come to Front Royal. To spend an hour throwing axes, visit Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co in the heart of Front Royal.
2020 has been a stressful and frustrating year. Axe throwing is a fun way to let off some steam!
2. Become Part of a Pizza Tradition
Melting Pot Pizza is a local favorite haunt. Visit once and you’ll know why. This Front Royal tradition has been serving up delicious East Coast thin-crust pizza since 1972. It’s a fun, family friendly environment. There are even gluten-free options, so all your friends and family can enjoy. With delicious pizza and a friendly vibe, it’s no surprise that this place has been around for almost forty years.
3. Sip on a Latte
If you’re looking to unwind with a book and a cup of something warm, look no further than Happy Creek Coffee and Tea. This cozy coffee shop has delicious beverages and plenty of character. In addition to hot drinks, they’re famous for their cold brew coffee on draft. If you’re there around breakfast time, you can enjoy a fun yogurt and oatmeal bar. Gluten free baked goods are available throughout the day.
4. Feel the LOVE
Outsize letters spelling out the word LOVE have been popping up all over the state of Virginia in recent years. In turbulent times, they’re here to remind us that our beautiful state is all about love. It’s become a statewide tradition to hunt down the LOVE signs.
If you’re on a LOVE sign hunt, you’ll want to stop by Front Royal. If you’re new to the idea, Front Royal is a great place to start. Front Royal’s LOVE letters were made right here in town at AG Laser Technology. Stop by the Front Royal Visitor Center and Main Street Gazebo area to check out Front Royal’s very own LOVE letters.
Don’t forget to snap a picture and share on social media using the hashtag #LoveVA.
5. Enjoy a Craft Beer
Front Royal is a great destination for lovers of craft beer. The Front Royal Brewing Company offers award-winning craft beer brewed on site (as well as delicious food). The names of the different beers honor the local area.
Pavemint Taphouse is a conveniently located micro-brewery, housed in a creatively renovated gas station. Pavemint offers a wide range of craft beers. Drive by most days, and you’ll see the smoker outside with wood piled up next to it. Delicious meat is on the way for lucky diners.
Tap into history and the beer at the one and only Virginia Beer Museum! With Virginia having over two hundred craft breweries, this unique stop allows you to experience Virginia beer while appreciating the history of its growth in our state! Don't miss it!
6. Sample Kale Ice Cream (or Another Flavor You’ve Never Tried Before!)
C & C’s Frozen Treats is a fun ice cream shop with a retro vibe, located on Front Royal’s Main Street. The shop specializes in unique flavors of ice cream. Recent offerings have included Tomato and Basil, and Kale. You’ll also find flavors to suit more traditional tastes such as brownie batter, peach, or salted caramel. The menu changes weekly, so fall tastes such as pumpkin pie will likely pop up. You shouldn’t count on a particular flavor, but you can count on being deliciously surprised.
7. Paint Your Own Pottery
For a fun fall craft project with no clean-up, visit the Kiln Doctor to paint a piece of pottery in store. You can choose from a range of unpainted pottery pieces, including plates and mugs, or seasonal ornaments such as jack-o-lanterns and garden gnomes. Get to work and enjoy yourself. They’ll take care of the clean-up, and they’ll give your piece of art a professional finish.
8. Ride the Trolley
For a retro adventure, take a ride on the Front Royal Trolley. The fare is only fifty cents each way. Relax and enjoy the scenic town of Front Royal in a whole new way.
9. Discover a Classic or a New Favorite
Royal Oak Bookshop is the perfect place to hunt for a treasure in a used book. It’s the rambling used bookstore you’ve been looking for, complete with friendly cats!
10. Go for a Riverside Walk
The Shenandoah River runs right through Front Royal. Visit Eastham Park for a scenic stroll on an easy walking trail by the side of the river. The trail is lined with trees, so you can enjoy fall foliage here too.
Front Royal may be small, but it certainly isn’t boring! If you’re looking for a “just for fun” outing, there are plenty of to choose from! We’ve rounded up our eleven great ideas for entertainment in Front Royal. If a family fun day is in your future, you don’t want to scroll past this post. Front Royal has classic favorites like bowling and roller skating and new trends like axe throwing and rock climbing, as well as a totally unique Dinosaur Land! You’ll find there’s something for everyone!
1. Get Your Wheels On
For roller skating fun, look no further than Mac’s Roller Rink. It’s a classic indoor roller skating rink, offering open skate times, events, and private parties.
2. Scale a Rock Wall
Battlegrounds Fitness is a great new addition to Front Royal’s entertainment and fitness sector. The CrossFit gym includes a rock wall, which is accessible to members and to guests with day passes. You’ll build your muscles, balance, and coordination while having so much fun you’ll forget that you’re exercising! Battlegrounds Fitness is also a great option for a birthday party that will leave your kids (or you!) fitter and stronger.
3. Go to the Movies
You can watch a movie at Royal Cinemas on Front Royal’s historic main street. The theater shows all the latest releases. Popcorn and candy available!
4. Explore an Arcade
Across the street from Royal Cinemas, you’ll find another classic attraction. Fireball Arcade is a retro arcade with pinball and all your favorite video games. For a two-in-one outing, plan some arcade time before or after your movie showing.
5. Go Beyond the Caverns at Skyline Caverns
Most visitors come to Skyline Caverns to take a tour of the fascinating caves. But don’t forget, there are other attractions here too! Visit the mirror maze for a fun family challenge. Or bring kids for a ride on the miniature train. You can make the caverns a part of your visit, or save them for another day.
6. Challenge Your Kids to Bowling
Fun family competition. . . and hopefully some spares and strikes . . . are in your future at the Royal Family Bowling Center! This classic bowling venue has everything you’d expect. Including the pizza!
7. Throw an Axe
For another kind of target practice, check out Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co. Haven’t you always had a secret urge to hurl an axe against a wooden target? This activity is recommended for ages 12 and up, although younger children are allowed at parents’ discretion.
8. Paint (or crochet!) a Masterpiece
Visit The Studio in downtown Front Royal for art instruction and workshops. Check out their schedule of events here. You’ll find crochet and sewing options as well as painting.
9. Get Into All Things Pottery
If you’re more of a sculptor than a painter, check out Front Royal’s Explore Art and Clay. You’ll find options to paint your own pottery, enjoy a clay workshop, or use a potter’s wheel.
10. Let the River Take You on an Adventure
If your family is itching to get outside, the Shenandoah River will provide fun, exercise, and scenic beauty. Front Royal Outdoors and Skyline Canoe Company are two local outfitters that offer various river trips. For more Front Royal river trip options go here.
11. Travel to the Age of Dinosaurs
Dinosaur Land is a roadside attraction that has been delighting visitors to the Front Royal area for sixty years! The open-air attraction boasts over forty life size dinosaur models in a park-like setting. Bring your imagination, and enjoy a walk into prehistory! You’ll find tons of great photo opportunities, and maybe even learn something new about dinosaurs.
If you’re planning a special occasion celebration, a vacation, or just a day of fun in the Front Royal area, there are plenty of entertainment options that the whole family will love! Use this list to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun that the Front Royal area has to offer!
Discover Front Royal