May is finally here, the end of the school year is well in sight, and (if you haven’t already) it’s a great time to start making travel and tourism plans for the summer. In Front Royal, we love the many guests who pass through our small town. May 1-7 is Travel and Tourism Week, and we’re joining the celebration by recognizing the fantastic folks who find something to draw them to Front Royal. There are so many things to love about Front Royal, that tourists come into town for many different reasons. Read on for our handy guide to six kinds of tourists/travelers you’ll find passing through town!
1. Hiking Legends
The most legendary hike in the U.S.A. is unquestionably the Appalachian Trail. Large numbers of dedicated hikers taking on the daunting challenge of hiking the over-two-thousand mile trail every year. As the Appalachian Trail passes close by Front Royal, it’s not surprising that many of them drop by our town. In fact, with an affordable shuttle service from the trail to the town, a free locker, laundry, and shower service, a premium gear shop, and fantastic restaurants to fill hungry hikers, it’s not surprising that Front Royal is a favorite stop for Appalachian Trail hikers. There’s even lodging specifically provided by and for Appalachian Trail enthusiasts. An officially designated Appalachian Trail Community, Front Royal has become a model for many of the towns that host Appalachian Trail hikers every year.
If you enjoy hiking, you don’t have to be undertaking the Appalachian Trail to find some hiking to love around Front Royal. Shenandoah National Park is another favorite hiking location, with stunning scenery and hikes ranging from easy to challenging, including the beloved Old Rag.
2. River Relaxers
For those who enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, tubing, or anything that requires a river, Front Royal is a dream destination. With the North and South Forks of the scenic and lovely Shenandoah River meeting right in town, there are so many opportunities for river recreation that Front Royal is known as the Canoe Capital of Virginia. Bring your own gear, or work with one of our friendly outfitters. You’ll find an enthusiastic welcome, a beautiful river, and a boatload of memories waiting to be made! Check out Front Royal’s riverside campgrounds for even more time to enjoy the river.
“Leaf-Peepers” are the tourists known for pursuing the stunning sights of the changing leaves of fall throughout. Fall is a great time of year to visit Front Royal. With Shenandoah National Park one of the top leaf-peeping destinations in the country, October is a popular month for visitors. Head to Front Royal to access the park and enjoy the stunning vistas of vibrant fall colors spread across the Blue Ridge Mountains.
From to farm-to-table operations, pick-your-own farms, craft breweries and internationally acclaimed restaurants, the Front Royal area has plenty to keep a foodie happy for a long, long time. Plan a weekend or longer to explore the gourmet food options of the Front Royal area, and enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner Front Royal style!
5. Wine Lovers
With sensational sipping spaces, rolling vineyards, and stunning mountain views, Front Royals wineries are a special destination for all lovers of wine . . . from the casual to the connoisseur. Pack a picnic, enjoy a tasting, or buy a bottle. There are so many ways to enjoy the amazing Virginia wines and wineries of the Front Royal area. Don’t forget to stop by Front Royal Wines before you leave town and pick up some souvenirs to bring home.
6. Big City Escapees
Living and working in the big city takes its toll, and sometimes you just need a little WanderLOVE. For residents and commuters in the D.C. Metro area, Front Royal is the ideal destination to find that love and enjoy a country weekend. Less than a 90 minute drive from central Washington D.C., it’s convenient enough for a day or weekend trip, but still rural enough that you’ll feel like you’ve truly entered a different world. Break free of the city and head to Front Royal for fun, adventure, relaxation, and restoration.
Front Royal draws visitors for many reasons, and it’s a dream destination for a variety of tourists and travelers. Do you find yourself drawn to join one (or more!) of our groups of happy visitors? If so, make plans for your trip to Front Royal today! You’ll find yourself wanting to come back again and again!
We live in a world where it’s easy to swing by the grocery store and take your pick from a wide selection of foods shipped from all corners of the world. But some are choosing to limit or completely eliminate their consumption of foods from far off lands, and focus on foods produced closer at hand. The local food movement is growing, and with terms like “locavore” and “farm-to-table” popping up more and more often, you’ve probably heard of it at least once. But maybe you’re wondering what all the buzz is about? We’ve rounded up four reasons you might consider eating more local foods, as well as some great sources for local foods and farm fun in the Front Royal area. With spring well underway, a new season of fresh local produce is beginning, and it’s a great time to explore Front Royal’s local farms.
1. Eating Local Is Better For You
It might be hard to believe there’s any difference between eating spinach shipped from Peru versus eating spinach raised on a local farm (or in your own backyard!). But evidence suggests that locally grown food is better for you. It’s fresher, of course, and it’s been shown to contain more nutrients than food shipped over long distances. It only makes sense when you think about it. After all, eating local is part of nature’s design for humans! Most people through history have eaten primarily what could be produced or gathered from nearby, with goods from far off being more of an occasional treat or luxury (if available at all!).
2. Eating Local Improves Food Security
When you eat foods shipped from far away, you’re dependent on a long chain of people and machines all being able to do their jobs. When you eat local, it’s just between you and the farmer. There are many fewer possibilities for disrupting such a short supply chain.
3. Eating Local Supports Your Neighboring Farmers
Farmers do really important work! After all, food production has to come high on the list of human necessities. But as consumers turn more and more to grocery stores, it’s hard for the small famers to make a go of it. If a small farm can’t support itself by selling locally, the farmer will either quit or get swallowed up by big food corporations and become another link on a supply chain that’s too long! So support your local farmers today so they’ll still be there tomorrow when our world needs them!
4. Eating Local can be Fun and Convenient!
Eating local can be lots of fun. There’s something about taking a drive into the country and picking up your food right where it grew that a grocery store just can’t replace. Take it a step further by enjoying a “pick your own” outing, or planning a tour of the farm while you’re there.
Don’t have time for a trip to the farm? Many small scale farmers will meet at a designated pick up point or even deliver to your door, so eating local can be even more convenient than a trip to the grocery store!
Finding Local Food on Front Royal’s Farms
If you’re sold on incorporating more local foods into your diet, you’re probably wondering where to find them around Front Royal. If you want to buy directly from the farm, Front Royal has some great options. Check out Valley View Farm for a scenic and historic local farm where you can shop a “locavore farm market,” take a farm tour, and even enjoy a glass of locally produced cider, mead, or wine. Explore their CSA program for an affordable option that will bring a delicious stream of local produce your way all season long. If you’re looking for local grass fed beef, Cottonwood Ranch is a great place to start. Buy individual cuts, or choose the budget friendly options and fill your freezer with a whole, half, or quarter cow!
If you’re looking for more farm fun and pick-your-own options, Green Truck Farm and Hollins Farm are two more amazing local farms. Both are great destinations for fruit picking, starting as early as May. At Hollins Farm, you can come and harvest your own veggies as well as fruit.
To buy herb plants right from the farm, go to Sunflower Cottage farm. You’ll bring a little garden home with you. If you’re a lover of all things herbal, plan to attend the Virginia Herb Festival here (May 21-22 2022). Stop by the on-site Backroom Brewery to enjoy a beer from hops grown right there on the farm.
Most flowers aren’t edible, but bringing nature’s beauty into your home can feed the soul! For another fun, pick your own adventure, explore Clover Hill Farm, where you can pick your own flowers, as well as sign up for a gardening class. If you’re looking for a weekend of farm life, book a stay at Clover Hill’s Airbnb, and enjoy views of the farm’s Angus beef herd, as well as taking advantage of the flower operation.
Finding Local Food in Front Royal’s Stores
Sometimes, you just don’t have time to make it out to the farm for your food. The good news is that you can find farm fresh, local foods in Front Royal without having to head out to the countryside. Main Street’s Manor Line Market is a farm-to-table restaurant, alongside a local food market, all run by farmers from nearby Browntown. It’s a combination you’ll definitely want to check out. The Apple House, on the way out of town, is one of Front Royal’s favorite stops for ice cream, barbecue food, and apple cider donuts. Stop by the gift shop to find a range of Virginia products, raised and made by local farmers and artisans.
Super excited to share that on the first and third Saturdays of April through November, take your search for local foods to DL Community Market! This farmers market in Front Royal is a great place to find and support local farmers, cheesemakers, artisans, and more!
Take the time to explore Front Royal’s farms this growing season and you’ll find plenty of treasure are waiting for you. With a variety of local, healthy, and delicious food available from beautiful farms of the Shenandoah Valley, you may even find that shopping is as enjoyable as eating!
With jaw-dropping scenery, quaint towns, and outdoor attractions in all directions the Front Royal area is a great place to plan a relaxing day on the road. Skyline Drive, with its northern entrance located right in the town of Front Royal, is a quintessential driving experience that’s become an American tradition. But if you’re looking for a little variety in your driving, read on! We’ve put together three new scenic drives you’re sure to love. Below you’ll find three recommended routes, along with suggested stops to suit every taste. So fill your tank with gas, and head out on a Front Royal area drive that’ll take you to a new destination . . . with lots of fun along the way!
Scenic Drive 1: Front Royal to Luray (via 522 and 211)
Head south from Front Royal on 522, and you won’t even notice the minutes glide by as you gaze out at rolling pastures and gorgeous farmlands with mountains in the background. Once you get to Sperryville, head west on 211, and you’ll find yourself driving up into the Blue Ridge Mountains, passing Shenandoah National Park’s Thornton Gap Entrance. On the other side of the mountain, you’ll come down into the town of Luray, a great destination for relaxation and family fun. To return to Front Royal, you can retrace the same route, or head back on 340 north for a shorter, but still beautiful, drive home.
For the Foodie
As you head out of Front Royal, you’ll pass two fantastic wineries, Rappahannock Cellars, and Chester Gap Cellars. If it’s too early in the day for wine, save them for the drive home.
522 takes you through Flint Hill, which is the home of some great foodie favorites for a bite to eat. Try The Blue Door Kitchen or Griffin Tavern here. Or go a little further and stop at The Inn at Little Washington for the ultimate fine dining experience.
For the Outdoor Adventurer
If you’re a love of the great outdoors, this drive will bring you to some great hiking. The Appalachian Trail crosses 522 just south of Front Royal. It’s a great place to pull off and take a hike on this iconic trail. Or use the Thornton Gap Entrance Station to enter Shenandoah National Park: the home of almost unlimited outdoor adventure.
For the Family
Families enjoying a day together will want to visit Luray Caverns and enjoy a tour of the largest caverns in the Eastern United States. From there, head to Lake Arrowhead beach to enjoy swimming, relaxing, or even a boat rental.
Scenic Drive 2: Front Royal to Middleburg (via Sky Meadows State Park)
If you’re looking to explore another small town of Northern Virginia, Middleburg is a great destination. Instead of using I-66 for most of the drive, enjoy some country roads by taking exit 18 and heading north on VA-688. You’ll pass some great stops (more on those below!) before hitting US 50. Head East on US 50, and it’ll bring you right into Middleburg, where you can explore all this historic town has to offer.
For the Foodie
Foodies will love a stop at Valley View Farm off VA-688. Pick your own fruit, taste local honey or wine, and shop the on-site farm store for delicious, farm-fresh goodies.
For dinner, stop at Hunters Head Tavern for a farm-to-table tavern experience.
For the Outdoor Adventurer
Take a hike at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane.
For the Family
The Apple House is Front Royal’s favorite “on the way out” stop, and you’ll pass right by it on this trip. Grab a quick breakfast, or stock up on some crowd-pleasing donuts for later on. Not hungry yet? Save it for an ice cream stop on your way home.
Kids will enjoy checking out the pick-your-own options along 688. In addition to Valley View Farm, check out Hollin Farms, and Hartland Orchard. Or explore the Children’s Discovery Area at Sky Meadows State Park.
Scenic Drive 3: Front Royal to Harper’s Ferry
Located at the meeting of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, Harper’s Ferry is a great road trip destination from Front Royal. Whether you’re a lover of hiking, history, the scenic outdoors, or delicious foods, you can find it here. Enjoy the scenic stretch of 522 north of Front Royal, and then connect with US-340 to take you the rest of the way.
For the Foodie:
On your way in or out of Front Royal, visit Region’s 117 in Lake Frederick to enjoy locally sourced, gourmet food.
For the Outdoor Adventurer
There’s a lot for an outdoor lover to enjoy in Harper’s Ferry, but if you’re looking for a stop along the way take a break at the Virginia State Arboretum. Here you’ll find educational programs, walking trails, and gardens.
For the Family
Check out River Rider’s Family Adventure Resort for an exciting family adventure near Harpers Ferry, or stop by Dinosaur Land on your way out of Front Royal to check out this retro attraction featuring massive model dinosaurs. Who doesn’t want to fit in a photo op with a triceratops?
If you’re looking for a beautiful drive with a fun destination and exciting roadside stops, the Front Royal area is a great place to be! Buckle up this weekend and enjoy a memorable highway adventure in a stunningly beautiful area.
Have you ever thought of the food you eat as an adventure? It’s not a connection we make every day, but food has numerous ties to excitement and uncharted territory. Maybe your food adventure is trying something new, savoring a dish from a distant land, or sampling artisanal food that doesn’t taste quite the same anywhere else. Or perhaps the adventure is more simply in the fact that the food you eat is the fuel for your next hike, bike ride, swim, or rock climb. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two!
Whether you’re looking for a uniquely delicious dining experience, or for food that will carry you for miles in the great outdoors, you can find it in Front Royal. Try out some adventurous eats in our welcoming small town, and you’ll discover why Front Royal is the foodie’s choice in the Shenandoah Valley.
Front Royal’s Unique Restaurants
Front Royal’s diverse selection of gourmet eateries make the town a great destination for foodie of all tastes. If you’re after a classic fine dining experience, you can’t go wrong with the Element. It’s fine dining the Front Royal way!
For a unique and delicious micro-brewery experience try Pavemint Taphouse. Pavemint has all the character you’d expect to find in a micro-brewery located in a renovated gas station. The smoker in the parking lot will tempt you inside, to enjoy delicious, locally sourced food alongside your craft brew.
If wine sounds better than beer, another great option in town is ViNoVa tapas and wine bar. Pair your wine with gourmet tapas from a fresh and exciting rotating menu. The small plate format is meant to encourage guests to share and try something of everything!
If you enjoy cuisines from distant lands visit Royal Spice to experience authentic Nepalese and Indian Cuisine. Family owned and operated, Royal Spice specializes in bringing exotic flavors from the foothills of the Himalayas all the way to Front Royal, Virginia. It’s hard to imagine a more adventurous eat!
And the adventure doesn’t end in Front Royal! Get off the beaten by a bit by heading to the neighboring town of Flint Hill, and expand your options even further. At Flint Hill’s Griffin Tavern you’ll find pub food in a renovated 1850s Victorian Manse. Or check out The Blue Door Kitchen and Inn for gourmet offerings in the setting of a delightful four acre estate.
Food (and Caffeine!) to Fuel Your Adventure
If it’s the desire to adventure in the great outdoors that brings you to the Front Royal area, you’ll still want to make food a part of your adventure. You’ll find that Front Royal’s business owners are ready and willing to help fuel your journey. Blue Wing Frog is a favorite hiker stop for healthy, homemade food. Better yet, they’ll even pack a picnic for you, so you can enjoy gourmet food out on the trails.
For some of us, when we think of the fuel that gets us going, we only think of caffeine. If coffee is an adventure necessity for you, Front Royal’s coffee shops will keep you supplied. DL Campus on Main, Happy Creek Coffee and Tea, and the Daily Grind are all located in Front Royal’s historic downtown. For an adventurous order at Happy Creek, try the Valencian. It’s coffee with chocolate and orange zest. An unexpected combination, but a great one!
Planning a Front Royal Foodie Getaway
There are too many great places to eat in the Front Royal area for just one dinner out. If you’re a lover of gourmet food, why not treat yourself to a getaway, and spend several days in Front Royal? If you want to know exactly what to expect, Front Royal has accommodation available at several classic chain hotels including Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, and Townplace Suites.
If you want to carry your adventure into your accommodations, there are also more unique options. Stumble Inn is specifically geared to the many Appalachian Trail hikers who come through our town. With shuttle service and resupply run provided, it’s a great stay for these great adventurers.
For a historic local Airbnb try John Pope Cabin in Browntown. Built in 1865 at the end of the Civil War, this historic cabin was the home of a soldier along with his wife and eleven children. Now it’s a cozy, welcoming, and totally unique accommodation option for a stay you won’t forget!
With gourmet restaurants, outstanding breweries, delightful coffee shops, and hospitality for hikers, Front Royal is fast becoming THE foodie destination of the Shenandoah Valley. When you’re planning your next adventure, don’t forget to plan for some adventurous eats in Front Royal, Virginia!
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