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.
Fall seems to be a traditional time for thinking about death, the dead, and the afterlife. Maybe it’s that the beauty of the changing leaves inspires nostalgia and deep reflection. Or maybe it’s just a custom that’s been handed down for generations. Either way, it’s common in several cultures to pay some attention to death and the supernatural in the fall. Think the Hispanic Dia De Los Muertos the Polish Zaduszki, and, of course, Halloween.
Taking a stroll in a cemetery can be a perfect activity. You can visit Front Royal’s Prospect Hill Cemetery to find peace and quiet, graves dating back over two hundred years, fascinating Civil War History, and more.
In honor of that spooky feeling we all get in the fall, we’ve rounded up six facts about Prospect Hill Cemetery. Whether you’re a tourist visiting Front Royal for the fall leaves, a Civil War enthusiast, or simply a local in search of a graveyard stroll, you’ll find Prospect Hill Cemetery is a great place to take a walk.
1. Prospect Hill Cemetery has been a Burial Site for over Two Hundred Years
It’s fascinating to stroll through a cemetery and think about the lives of those who are buried all around you. In Prospect Hill Cemetery, you’ll find plenty of food for thought. With the oldest grave dating back to 1802, there’s over two hundred years of history here! And Prospect Hill remains an active cemetery today.
2. Confederate Soldiers are Buried Here
Soldiers Circle is a particularly noteworthy part of Prospect Hill Cemetery. Here you’ll find the graves of all the confederate soldiers who died in Warren County during the Civil War. In 1868, the Ladies Warren Memorial Society gathered these remains from across the county to have them all interred together. The ninety soldiers who were identifiable are buried in a circle with headstones, while 186 unidentified share a common grave in the middle. The soldiers are from all thirteen states of the confederacy.
3. You’ll Find Some Famous Graves
In addition to Soldiers Circle, Prospect Hill also contains the graves of two noteworthy Front Royal residents. Look for the grave of Lucy Buck, a Civil War diarist whose record of the Civil War has been a valuable source for historians. Captain Samuel J. Simpson is another famous person buried at Prospect Hill. He served as a captain in the confederate army and played an important role due to his knowledge of the Shenandoah Valley.
4. Prospect Hill is a Scenic Viewpoint
Prospect Hill probably gets its name from the view. This hilltop cemetery is a great place to enjoy stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley all around, as well as the town of Front Royal.
5. Prospect Hill was a Strategic Point in the Civil War
The view around Prospect Hill hasn’t always been observed just for pleasure. During the Civil War Battle of Front Royal, the cemetery became a point of strategic importance. From here, the Confederate commanders could watch the battle unfold beneath them. A Confederate artillery battery was also posted here at one point during the battle, but did not engage in combat because it was out of range of the Union guns.
6. Stonewall Jackson Probably Was Here
General Stonewall Jackson was one of the most celebrated of the Confederate generals during the Civil War. He remains a popular figure today for students of Civil War history. According to local tradition, General Stonewall Jackson himself observed part of the Battle of Front Royal from the excellent viewpoint of Prospect Hill.
Taking a stroll through a cemetery is a great way to reflect on the shortness of life, consider what’s truly worthwhile, and honor those who have gone before us. It’s not surprising that cemeteries hold a strong attraction. Explore Front Royal’s Prospect Hill Cemetery to enjoy a beautiful graveyard and a little bit of local history.
Have you ever wished you could host a party at a charming, Virginia Estate? Or dreamed of a getaway to a historic rural cabin? Walnut Hill Farm and Estate in Browntown Virginia may be the place where your dreams come true.
What Makes Walnut Hill Magical
Whether you’re planning a major event like a wedding, or looking for an intimate private getaway, Walnut Hill Farm and Estate might be just what you’re looking for. There’s lots of beautiful outdoor spaces, a large gazebo with an open stone fireplace, and plenty of room to add a tent. It all adds up to a fantastic location for a special events. Weddings, corporate retreats, family reunions and more, they’ve all happened here. You and your guests can roam through the meadows, relax by (or in!) the pond, or explore the wooded hiking trails. Don’t forget to go find the waterfall! Open up a bottle of wine and unwind around the fireplace or fire pit in the evening. Don’t forget to glance upwards; the stars here are unbelievable!
Don’t think you’ll be able to tear yourself away at the end of the day? Don’t worry! Small groups can stay overnight at Walnut Hill Farm and Estate. Book the historic John Pope Cabin for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for up to four people. The cabin, built just after the end of the Civil War, retains the historic charm of its log walls and all-wood interior, but is updated with all the modern amenities. A wood burning stove and large front porch swing add final touches to make you feel right at home.
With a quintessential farmland feel, historic buildings, and stunning vistas all around, this 500 acre piece of paradise is nothing short of magical. Read on to learn more about this special treasure, tucked away in the countryside of the Front Royal area.
There’s Plenty Going on All Around
There’s so much to do at Walnut Hill Farm that some guests may feel no need to leave. But for those who do want to get out, there’s easy access to attractions, restaurants, shopping, and more in the town of Front Royal. An easy and scenic twenty minute drive will bring you into town, where you can explore to your heart’s content. Other options: head to Shenandoah National Park, or check out one of several fantastic local wineries.
Due to icy conditions on the surrounding roads, Walnut Hill typically closes to guests each year in mid-December, reopening annually in March. So if you’re intrigued, consider this your reminder to start planning your 2022 getaway, event, or retreat. Reservations are sure to fill up quickly at this special destination. Start planning today to make sure you don’t miss out on the magic!
For special needs parents, it can be tough to find activities that whole family can enjoy together. But doing so is totally worth it. You don’t want your special needs child to be left out of those great memories that siblings share. Not to mention it’s more efficient if everyone can have fun at the same time! And that’s worth taking into consideration… After all, special needs parents are some of the busiest people in the world!
The good news is that the Front Royal area has plenty of opportunities for special needs family fun. We’ve done the research to round up a selection of accessible Front Royal destinations that will appeal to all different abilities and interests.
Whether you’re planning a trip to the Shenandoah Valley, or already live in the Front Royal area, this post is for you. Read on for a comprehensive list of accessible activities that parents and siblings will also enjoy. Everyone’s included!
Accessibility in Shenandoah National Park
No doubt about it, the top tourist attraction of the Front Royal area is Shenandoah National Park. With its stunning mountain views, the park attracts over one million visitors every year. It’s also one of the most accessible of America’s National Parks. In fact, this park was specifically designed with driving in mind. In an era when cars were first becoming widely available, the park’s designers planned that the central feature of the park should be Skyline Drive, a road leading all the way down the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can enjoy the park’s major attraction without ever having to leave your car! There are also plenty of accessible picnic spots with stunning views, conveniently located right by the road.
If you're not already aware, individuals with disabilities are entitled to a free lifetime pass to our National Park system! Learn more here!
With a variety of accessible facilities, including lodging and camping, Shenandoah National Park is a welcoming destination for the special needs family. For a fully accessible hike, check out the Limberlost Trail. Shenandoah National Park is beautiful all year long, but it’s a particularly popular destination in the fall.
Horseback Riding for the Whole Family
For special needs families in the local area, North Star Stables offers both able-bodied and therapeutic horseback riding lessons, for riders of all capabilities. You won’t find a more welcoming environment! Head instructor Teresa Pilegaard is a special needs mom herself. She’s seen the benefits of therapeutic riding in all areas of development: physical, mental, and emotional. North Star Stables is truly a treasure of the Front Royal area. There isn’t another PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor for hours around! The best part? Able-bodied siblings are welcome at North Star Stables too. All the kids can jump in and experience the benefits of horseback riding!
Note: due to medical clearance requirements, North Star Stables is unfortunately unable to offer one-off sessions for traveling families.
Summer Fun: Pools and Parks
If you’re thinking that water fun is an essential part of summer, we agree! And Warren County does too! Special needs families can enjoy the Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool, which features a lift to assist those with mobility challenges to into the pool. Or for splashing and sprinklers, visit the splash pad at the Dr. Saul Seide Memorial Gardens. You’ll find it’s fully accessible and fun for all the family. Within the same park, you’ll also find Free Wheeling Way, a wheelchair accessible playground structure, complete with accessible picnic tables. It’s a recipe for a day of summer fun at the park.
Several of Front Royal’s other parks also feature accessible walking trails. The beautiful Eastham Park walking trail is located right on the banks of the Shenandoah River. Other options are the Skyline Soccerplex trail and the Rockland Park walking trails. Enjoy in the summer, or any time of year!
Even More Accessible Activities in Front Royal
After a day at the pool, on Skyline Drive, or on horseback, there’s still more to enjoy in Front Royal!
Older children, or those with a special interest in history, may enjoy Front Royal’s Civil War Driving Tour. Did you know that Front Royal was the scene of a Civil War battle? The driving tour will take you to all the important spots, and bring the history to life.
Arts and craft lovers will want to check out Explore Art and Clay. The studio is wheelchair accessible and offers paint your own pottery sessions. Come make memories painting a mug, plate, or seasonal decoration. They’ll give your work of art a professional finish. Budding sculptors should check their event schedule for the Kids Clay Club sessions. Projects can be adapted to suit different ability levels.
Finally, bowling is an all-time favorite for family fun. Bring the whole family to Royal Family Bowling Center. The lanes that are fully wheelchair accessible, and bowling ball ramps are available. Kids and adults of all abilities can play.
When the whole family’s together, you’ll make memories you’ll cherish for years to come. Start your adventure in Front Royal, Virginia. It might be as simple as a day at the park, or as exciting as a series of horseback riding lessons. Whether you’re coming for a visit or here to stay, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the unique opportunities you’ll find in the Front Royal area.
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