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!
It’s amazing how much of a difference the look and feel of a building can have for a business. . . and a for a town!
We take it for granted all too often, but a well-designed building with an enjoyable atmosphere is a key component of a successful business. The building can be the factor that determines:
A town that has the right spaces available will attract exciting and innovative businesses. On the other hand, a street that looks downtrodden, depressing, and out of date is likely to stay that way! Who wants to begin an exciting new venture on “sad street?”
The Vibe Properties story is the tale of how one property company is creating great business spaces to spark incredible growth in the town of Front Royal. In 2019, Vibe Properties received the Urban Catalyst Award from the American Institute of Architects. This prestigious award is a testimony to the major improvements taking place in downtown Front Royal.
Want to know the fascinating story of a small town, a historic street, and a couple with energy and vision? Read on!
The Story of Vibe Properties and Main Street Front Royal
When Vibe Properties’ co-owners, Kerry and Tim Barnhart retired to Warren County, they quickly fell in love with the town of Front Royal. They soon noticed the unfulfilled potential of the downtown Main Street area. The street was quaint and centrally located. But rent rates in that part of town were low, scaring away possible investors. The atmosphere was decidedly neglected. The Barnharts were ready to take on the challenge. They founded Vibe Properties with a simple but compelling mission: to acquire buildings in downtown Front Royal. To turn these buildings into spaces that would attract new businesses. To breathe new life into a historic part of Front Royal. After only two years, the American Institute of Architects’ Urban Catalyst Award recognized that they had done just that.
Vibe Properties began in 2017, with the acquisition of two of Main Street’s historic buildings, the Weaver Building and the Barnhart Building. Over the next year and a half, the company undertook extensive renovations to the buildings to give them an inviting and interesting look while honoring their rich history.
The Weaver Building was built as a department store in the early 1900s. When Vibe Properties acquired the building, it stood empty. It got a newly designed store front and entryway. In the back of the building, exposed steel and large windows replaced a brick wall. The new design allowed for a more open feel with views onto a dinning terrace in the back, and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.
Meanwhile, the Barnhart Building was a nondescript row of shops. Around a hundred years old, the building had seen many different uses over the years. Vibe Properties completely changed the façade, giving each business its own inviting and distinctive look. The company also made extensive changes to the interior of the building. Front Royal residents and visitors stopped walking straight past. It didn’t take long for the Barnhart Building to fill with exciting new businesses.
Vibe Properties: Catalyst for Change in Front Royal
The town of Front Royal is experiencing strong population growth. At the same time, thousands of visitors pass through every year. With its proximity to Shenandoah National Park, the George Washington National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, and the Shenandoah River, Front Royal is ideally situated to attract hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts. But until recently, the historic center of Front Royal had little to offer. Residents routinely turned to neighboring towns for dining and shopping options. Visitors had little reason to stop by Main Street after a long day on the trails or the river.
Now, Main Street hosts the kind of businesses that were drawing Front Royal’s residents and visitors to other towns. The Weaver Building is the home of Try Thai Restaurant, and Inklings gift shop, and Wildfire Yoga.
Inklings is a locally owned business that offers soaps, candles, clothing, art, and other gifts. Try Thai has taken advantage of the newly designed space to offer indoor and outdoor dining in a beautiful setting offering amazing Thai Cuisine. Wildfire Yoga offers private, group, and virtual sessions in a variety of yoga styles, designed to improve body mechanics and daily life.
Cross the street to the Barnhart Building and you’ll find Mountain Trails, Down Home Comfort Bakery, the Front Royal Brewing Company, and ViNoVA Wine and Tapas. Down Home Comfort Bakery was located in the Barnhart building before its acquisition by Vibe Properties. Now, the shop has a completely redesigned exterior and interior. It looks and feels like just the kind of place you’d want to pick up a delicious home-made cake, pie, or treat. Mountain Trails is a new branch of the Winchester-based outdoor equipment company. And the Front Royal Brewing Company extends into the back of the building, which has been redesigned to tastefully exhibit its origins as a turn-of-the-century parking garage. The feel is spacious, modern, and unique. Next door to the brewery, ViNoVA Wine and Tapas caters to wine lovers, and offers fun specials like the Midnight Snack, and Bottomless Paella Brunch.
Vibe Properties’ tenants have gone above and beyond to attract Front Royal’s “outdoorsy” visitors. Imagine arriving in Front Royal after several strenuous days (or weeks!) on the Appalachian Trail. Feel like cleaning up? The Barnhart building includes Basecamp Front Royal, a free service sponsored by Mountain Trails, the Front Royal Brewing Company, ViNoVA Wine and Tapas, and Down Home Comfort Bakery. Here, hikers can store gear in a secure locker, do laundry, and take a shower. After cleaning up, they can enjoy a craft beer and burger at the brewery. For those who prefer wine and tapas, ViNoVA is right next door. Desserts (or some treats to take on the trail) are at the Down Home Comfort Bakery. Any needed hiking gear can be found at Mountain Trails. Front Royal is no longer a neglected town to rush quickly past. It’s become the perfect haven for weary hikers.
A New Chapter for Front Royal
If you’ve been noticing that Front Royal has recently undergone significant improvement, it hasn’t just been your imagination. The achievements of Vibe Properties show what a creative vision and the courage to pursue it can accomplish in just a few short years. A new chapter has begun in Front Royal. And it couldn’t be more exciting.
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