It shouldn’t be a surprise that Front Royal has a rich local history. The natural attractions of this location, from the Shenandoah River to the surrounding mountain beauty have brought a steady stream of settlers and visitors to the town throughout its varied history. Read on for nine fun facts about Front Royal’s local history, starting with the Native Americans and ending with Bing Crosby!
1. The Iroquois Once Hunted in Front Royal
The entire Shenandoah Valley, including the land that would become Front Royal, was rich in natural resources for Native Americans, and saw many tribes both pass through and build settlements. The Iroquois were the last Native American group really to take possession of the valley. Unlike some other tribes, their culture was based primarily on hunting, and they did not attempt to develop farms, but used the valley as hunting grounds. The Iroquois Confederation sold the land that included the future Front Royal to Colony of Virginia in 1744.
2. Front Royal was the Home of the Shenandoah Valley’s First Ferry
Front Royal sits at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. It was here that the Shenandoah Valley’s first ferry was established in the 1730s. The ferry helped the Valley’s many travelers cross the Shenandoah River.
3. Front Royal’s Original Name was LeHewtown
The town that would become Front Royal first came into existence as LeHewtown in 1754. The name came from Peter LeHew, an early settler who bought a tract of property in what would become the center of the town.
4. Front Royal was a Popular Stop for Travelers
Front Royal (or LeHewtown) saw many travelers coming through. The Shenandoah River, brought many boatmen into town. The Shenandoah Valley was also a natural route for livestock drivers. At the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, and the tip of Massanutten Mountain range, Front Royal was a natural meeting point for travelers. Due to the large numbers of taverns that popped up to serve the passers-through, Front Royal also gained the nickname “Helltown.”
5. We’re not sure where Front Royal Got its Name
In 1788, Front Royal officially received the name it has today. No one is exactly sure where this name came from, but there are several interesting theories. Our favorite dates back to the days of the Revolutionary war. A camp of British soldiers was located near Front Royal. Comers to the camp must respond with the password “Royal” to the sentry’s challenge of “Front.” Thus the name “Front Royal” came into common usage.
6. Front Royal was the Home of Virginia’s Second Subscription Library
Front Royal was on the forefront of literacy in Virginia. In 1799, Front Royal became the home of the second subscription library in the State. This library has grown and changed location several times over its more than two hundred years. Now it exists as Front Royal’s Samuels Public Library.
7. Over 200 Confederate Soldiers are Buried in Front Royal
Front Royal has a rich Civil War history, and was the location of the Battle of Front Royal during Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley campaign. After the war, the remains of the Confederate soldiers who had died in Warren County were gathered and buried together at Soldier’s Circle in Front Royal’s Prospect Hill Cemetery.
8. Skyline Drive Put Front Royal Even More on the Map
The 1920s were a time of exciting developments for Front Royal, as the Blue Ridge Mountains were selected as the location of a National Park for the Eastern United States. This park came into existence as Shenandoah National Park, and its northern entrance station is located right in Front Royal. The National Park draws outdoors lovers to the Front Royal all year round, especially in the fall. They find a warm, small-town welcome, great facilities, and gourmet dining, in addition to the natural wonders of the park that have delighted generations of visitors.
9. Bing Crosby was a Fan of Front Royal
Singing and acting star Bing Crosby visited Front Royal several times. In 1949 and 1950, he helped raise funds for a baseball stadium by appearing at several fundraising events, and donating personally to the stadium. Today, Front Royal’s Bing Crosby Stadium is the setting of baseball fun all summer long.
From Iroquois Hunters to Civil War soldiers, and from Early Traders to Stars of the Screen, Front Royal has seen it all. Plan a visit to Front Royal to explore even more of our history and find out what our exciting small town has in store for you!
As the calendar turns to February, thoughts of romance begin to warm the winter air. If you’re planning an evening with a special someone look no further than the Front Royal area! You’ll find that a small town Valentine’s Day is the perfect setting for your romance to blossom. Read on for five tips (plus a bonus!) on celebrating Valentine’s Day (or any romantic occasion) in the Front Royal area. With fine dining, fun activities for couples, special events with local businesses, and wineries aplenty, there’s a way for everyone to keep the romance going (and maybe fall in love with Front Royal, too!)
1. Sample Front Royal’s Fine Dining
Nothing says “I love you” quite like dinner at an elegant table for two. If you’re in search of a traditional dinner date Front Royal’s fine dining eateries are at your disposal. Don’t forget to make a reservation! With Valentine’s weekend being one of the busiest of the year in restaurants, you’ll want to make sure you secure your table well in advance.
Mark your calendar for Saturday February 12 to take advantage of the four course Valentine’s dinner at ViNoVA Mediterranean Bistro. Go here to make your reservation and enjoy four delicious courses, a bottle of wine, and a special dessert cocktail. Eat, drink, and fall in love!
For a local craft brewery in a modern setting with delicious pub food, plan your Valentine’s Dinner at Front Royal’s own Vibrissa Beer. You may even catch a glimpse of Cupid while you eat.
The Element on Main Street is Front Royal’s classic fine dining option. You’ll find gourmet food and the atmosphere to go with it. Or for another fine dining options, lovers of Asian cuisine, should visit Try Thai on Main Street.
2. Explore a Casual Dining Spot that Locals Love
If you’re not in the mood for formal dining, a fun, casual eatery can also be a setting for great date. Today, we’re featuring two old Front Royal favorites where locals have been making great memories for years!
If there’s one restaurant in Front Royal that pizza lovers shouldn’t miss, it’s The Melting Pot! This local favorite has been feeding pizza to Front Royal for over 50 years. Some locals have been making memories here for a lifetime!
For a fun twist on the traditional dinner date, why not try a breakfast date instead? The Apple House is an old Front Royal area favorite that gets you out of town, but doesn’t involve a long drive. Don’t forget to end your meal with one of their famous apple butter donuts! Or come back in the evening for a drink, appetizers, and a sandwich at the Apple House’s newly opened Bushel Pub. With a drink menu full of Virginia wines and Virginia Craft Beers, it’s a great date-spot for lovers of local products.
3. Take a Dance Class
What could be more romantic than enjoying a dance together? If you or your partner have two left feet, don’t worry! Jig ’N’ Jive Dance Studio offers private ballroom and swing dance classes for couples. Have fun together, learn a new skill, and listen to romantic music, all at the same time!
4. Enjoy Special Valentine’s Events with Local Businesses
It’s impossible to enjoy all the Valentine’s fun on one day! That’s why Front Royal’s favorite local businesses have banded together to plan some fun events leading up to the big fourteenth.
The week of February 7-14, take part in the second annual Warren County Chocolate Crawl. Explore Front Royal and receive a special treat or discount at participating businesses.
Bring five receipts from participating businesses to the Visitors Center to enter their I LOVE Main Street $250 Giveaway! The winner will receive $250 in gift cards to all your favorite main street businesses. Stop by the Visitors Center for details.
On February 12, enjoy extra fun on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the I LOVE Main Street event.
February 12th and 13th are also a great days to try out axe throwing with your date! Shenandoah Valley Axe Co. is offering a Valentine’s special that features 1.5 hours of axe throwing as well as coaching and refreshments. Make your reservation today!
If you’re coming into town a week early, no worries! Main Street’s local businesses also have some Valentines-themed fun planned for the “First Friday” weekend of February 4-6.
5. Sip on a Glass of Virginia Wine
There’s something about the experience of sharing a glass of wine that is both memorable and romantic. If you’re in search of a wine date, the Front Royal area has a wealth of amazing local wineries. Rappahannock Cellars, and Fox Meadow Winery are two nearby favorites that combine delectable wines with all the classy winery atmosphere you love.
6. Don’t Forget to Plan Something for the Kids
Not strictly a date idea, but all parents know that the babysitting is an essential aspect of date planning. If you’re planning your night out for Saturday February 12, you’re in luck! Entertain them and let them burn off some energy at Battlegrounds Fitness. They’ll enjoy a night of fun, games, and healthy exercise. Bonus: they should be tired enough to collapse into bed right when you get home, giving you even more quiet time together! All ages from “potty-trained” on up are welcome.
You deserve a night on the town and it helps knowing your kids will be playing and having fun too! That's why Code Ninjas offers Parent's Night Out - definitely a win-win evening for entire families! Drop the kiddos off where they will play games, assemble puzzles, build robotics, and more! Code Ninjas is offering this service on Saturday, February 12th from 6 PM to 9 PM and on Valentine's Day, February 14th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
Once you've had a chance to unwind, swing by to pick them up (please) and hear about all the fun they've had!
Bonus: Take your picture by the LOVE Sign
While you’re out and about town on your date, don’t forget that Front Royal has a great spot for a fun photo shoot. Stop by Front Royal’s LOVE sign (located by the downtown gazebo and Commerce Street by Pavement). It’s the perfect background for taking a memorable picture together. While you’re there, stop by the Visitor Center to claim a special treat just for visitors to the area.
There really are almost unlimited options for romantic outings in the Front Royal area. After all, anything can be romantic when you’re with the love of your life on Valentine’s Day! To get more ideas for a fun activity that you’ll both enjoy, see our posts here and here. It’s easy to fall in love in Front Royal!
Raising food has been a normal part of life for people everywhere for hundreds of years. In our society, with grocery stores full of food readily available, most people don’t experience a strict need to raise food. Yet there’s a growing movement of people who are choosing to raise food themselves. From growing herbs in pots on an apartment windowsill, to keeping chickens, goats, or even a cow, homesteaders come in all shapes and sizes.
But while raising food is simple enough that almost anyone can do it, it’s also an endeavor that becomes much easier and more successful when you connect with a like-minded community. In times past, people looked to their parents, grandparents, or neighbors to hand on these skills, which had been practiced for generations. Today, many of us are cut off from such traditional wisdom. But the good news is that if you’re in search of a community to support your homesteading efforts, Homesteaders of America is there for you. Head to Front Royal this October 8-9 for the Homesteaders of America Conference. You can have the chance to trade tips and advice, and connect with fellow homesteaders from all walks of life.
Homesteaders of America Conference: What to Expect
The Homesteaders of America Conference is primarily an educational event, and you’ll find a wealth of information to help you take your food raising efforts to the next level. Expect two days packed with talks from leading educators of the homesteading world, such as Joel Salatin and Justin Rhodes. You’ll also have a chance to discover lesser-known speakers who are guaranteed to become your new favorites. Saturday evening brings an opportunity to relax with a traditional music and story-telling performance from singer Rory Feek.
When you need to take a break from the talks, wander the Warren County Fairgrounds, and enjoy delicious food from food trucks and the chance to connect with hundreds of other homesteaders just like you. Don’t forget to visit the vendors, who can help you stock up on all your homesteading needs.
Get Your Hands Dirty at Thursday’s Homesteading Workshops
If you’re more of a hands on learner, come a day early to enjoy a homesteading workshop on Thursday, October 7. With topics ranging from building a homesteading business plan to hands-on animal butchering, you’ll be sure to find a chance to refine your skills and maybe try something new. And you can do it all under the direction of experts with many years’ experience.
Attending the Homesteaders of America Conference: Reserve Tickets or Volunteer
Conference tickets will not be sold at the gate, so make sure to purchase tickets online in advance. If you want to save money and help this great organization at the same time, consider volunteering for the conference instead. You’ll be put to work for one morning or afternoon shift, and get to enjoy the rest of the conference completely free!
Spend the Whole Weekend: Lodging and Outdoor Attractions in the Front Royal Area
Homesteaders of America have chosen a fantastic location for their conference! The Front Royal area is full of attractions for lovers of the great outdoors, including the nationally renowned Shenandoah National Park. Fall is a favorite time of year to visit the park and see the stunning displays of fall leaves on the mountainsides. Check out other outdoor adventuring opportunities here. Why not spend a full weekend in Front Royal, and plan a gorgeous Sunday hike before heading home?
If you’re looking for local accommodation, you’ll find loads of lodging and camping options to choose from. Make your reservations today, and look forward to an unforgettable and educational weekend in Front Royal, Virginia.
Whether you’re a veteran homesteader, or just starting to raise your own food, you’ll find plenty of great information and helpful networking at the Homesteaders of America Conference in Front Royal, Virginia. There are so many benefits to raising your own food. It’s healthier, cheaper, more sustainable, and uniquely satisfying. And there’s a lot about the process that’s just plain fun. Make your plans today to attend the Homesteaders of America Conference, and you’ll come home full of new ideas and enthusiasm for the essential task of raising food.
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