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.
Guest Post by Taylor Jones.
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, it is all upon us this holiday season. Despite all things 2020 - Front Royal has leveled up this year! In years prior it may not have been as easy to holiday shop locally but this year things are different. Local business is thriving! I’ve gathered a list of local spots that can make all your holiday present dreams come true.
First up is Inklings on Main Street. If you haven’t been through to visit this brand new spot you are missing out! They have great gifts from local vendors, vintage clothing, and all things Shenandoah related. This is a great place to shop for the person in your life who loves and takes pride in the Shenandoah Valley - as they have tons of mugs, posters, and puzzles that are Shenandoah themed. You can also find artisanal soaps, candles, and lotions! This place is chock full of things you probably didn’t know existed but are the perfect gifts for your family and friends.
It wouldn’t be a local gift guide without a shoutout for The Apple House - whether you’re looking for a fun hot sauce, cool socks, a funny tea towel, or some beautiful jewelry you’re looking for The Apple House. You may know them for their donuts and great barbecue but they are so much more. This place is quintessential to our town and they will not disappoint you or your gift receiving loved ones. P.S. - They offer holiday catering too!
Stokes…. I truly believe Stokes General Store is the most slept on spot in Front Royal. Stokes has so many great gift options and not just the ones you would think. They sell guns, and knives, and all things adventure related for that person in your life. But they also sell Carhart jackets, Minnetonka footwear, cast iron skillets, all kinds of boots and shoes; they’ve got it all. My favorite Denim jackets will never go out of style and Stokes offers them at a fair price and the chance to support a local shop!
Another great option for your adventure loving friends is Mountain Trails on Main Street! Mountain Trails is a real gem. They sell Patagonia outerwear and Blundstone boots and all the beanies you could ever wish for. They also sell sleeping bags, the fancy and coveted HydroFlasks and all sorts of warm flannels. Mountain Trails isn’t just an obvious choice for your adventuring loved ones, they have gifts for the whole family! They also have a store in Winchester!
A new spot with lots of great new options is Turnmeyer Galleries on South Street! They sell fun Front Royal Christmas puzzles, beautiful ornaments, and Shenandoah-themed mugs! Turnmeyer Galleries also sells beautiful images of the local scenery, in a number of different mediums. It is also a great spot to buy Yankee Candles locally!
Mystic Mountain Trading Company has lots of great options for your hippy friends! They have all the colored tapered candles, crystals, wind-chimes, and warm blankets you could desire. Mystic Mountain has gifts you may not have thought of but are sure to be crowd pleasers!
And last but not least, Royal Oak Bookshop! Royal Oak Bookshop is a representation of all the best things in our town. Packed to the brim with all sorts of books (local or otherwise) this shop is undervalued. This Holiday season you can call to place an order for any book, they’ll wrap it, and send it anywhere in the world! They also have a bunch of great books about our local history that would interest anyone who has lived in our town for long. The staff are friendly and helpful, including the shop cat.
There are so many other great shops in Front Royal but these are just a select few. Remember to shop local if you can this year. It is more important than ever for our local businesses to be able to stay afloat and support their families throughout 2020 and beyond!
Have a Happy Holiday!
When you’re enjoying Christmas at home, the Christmas tree is a central part of the celebration. You pile up gifts under its branches. You gather around it with family and friends to share the joys of the season. And there’s nothing like “that Christmas tree smell” for really making it feel like Christmas has arrived!
If you’re searching the Front Royal area for a real Christmas tree, read on. We’ve rounded up some recommended local farms and businesses that can provide you with the perfect tree. Also below: tips for taking care of your tree when you get it home.
“Cut-Your-Own” Christmas Tree Farm
There’s nothing quite like picking your tree from the field and cutting it down yourself. If you have time and energy to cut your own Christmas tree, it can be a fun family outing that will become a beloved tradition. Make getting the Christmas tree as memorable as enjoying it at home!
Hartland Farm and Orchard is a popular local spot for “cut-your-own” Christmas trees. They offer complimentary hot chocolate to make your Christmas tree hunt complete, as well as a variety of tasty treats for purchase. Hartland tends to sell out quickly so check their Facebook page for updates before you head out.
If you’re up for a bit of a drive into the Shenandoah Valley, Valley Star Farm also offers cut-your-own” trees. A visit to this beautiful farm in its scenic location is a great way to kick off your Christmas celebration.
If you want to go to a Christmas tree farm, but aren’t up for cutting your own tree, don’t worry. Both Hartland and Valley Star Farm also offer precut Christmas trees for your convenience.
Precut Christmas Trees in Front Royal
For a wide selection of precut Christmas trees right in town, check out Springtime Garden Center, located at the heart of Front Royal. You’ll also find a variety of other Christmas plants and decorations here. In the spirit of the Christmas season, Springtime Garden Center is making it easy for you to make a charitable donation when you purchase your tree. Here you’ll find giving trees for seniors and veterans, and opportunities to donate to Toys for Tots or the Warren County Humane Society. Bring non-perishable food items, and they’ll deliver them to C-CAP for you.
The Giving Tree is another local option for precut trees and seasonal decorations. This family business also offers gourmet local foods so you can stock up for your Christmas celebration while you shop for your tree. The unique gifts you can find here make it a one-stop-shop for all things Christmas.
Taking Care of your Christmas Tree
If you’ve ever had a Christmas tree shed pine needles all over your carpet (and spent the next few months stepping on the ones you didn’t get with the vacuum…), you’ll know why it’s important to take good care of your tree...even though it’s only in your home for a few weeks. The following tree care practices should help you avoid the dreaded “pine needle drop.”
For optimal health, Christmas trees, like people, need to stay hydrated. But it’s important to make sure that your Christmas tree is able to absorb the water that you’re giving it. After a Christmas tree is cut, its sap can harden in the bottom of the trunk, sealing it off from the water it’s standing in. That’s why it’s important to cut a few inches from the base of the trunk immediately before placing it in water. A fresh cut absorbs water much better than an old one. Keep the cut hydrated, and you won’t have to worry about it sealing up.
Even if you’re not bringing your tree inside right away, it’s best to make the cut when you get it home, and then stand it in a bucket of water. Replenish the water frequently to ensure that the tree has no chance to dry out. Some suggest watering with very hot (almost boiling) water when you first bring the Christmas tree into your house. This technique also helps to ensure that no hardened sap prevents your Christmas tree from getting the water it needs.
The benefits of Christmas trees are numerous. They bring people together. They provide a sense of beauty and peace. It’s even been suggested that the scent of evergreen trees decreases stress and anxiety. Don’t miss out all the good things that a Christmas tree can bring to your home this year!
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!
Discover Front Royal