It’s the scene of beautiful drives, exciting hikes, and stunning fall vistas. Its northern entrance station is located in Front Royal. It’s Shenandoah National Park. Views of the tree covered slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains are gorgeous from Shenandoah National Park in the fall. The leaf colors are slowly changing, putting on a fantastic display. All this beauty draws in the crowds, making October Shenandoah National Park’s busiest month. In honor of another beautiful fall in Shenandoah National Park, we’re taking a look at the history of this popular Virginia destination. Read on for five fun facts about the story of Shenandoah National Park.
1. Shenandoah National Park has a Different Story from the National Parks of the West
The earliest national parks sprung up on the federally owned lands of the west. They were based around preserving natural wonders for public enjoyment. Thus, the Grand Canyon, the geologic wonders and amazing wildlife of Yellowstone, and the towering rock faces of Yosemite were all obvious selections. In the 1920s, a committee was formedto select an area in the east so that those unable to travel to the west could still have a national park to enjoy. Thus, Shenandoah National Park and its sister park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park came to be.
2. Shenandoah National Park once had Human Inhabitants
Because Shenandoah National Park was created less organically than the parks of the west, the area chosen for the park already had private landholders and residents. One of the earliest stages in the process of building the park was purchasing privately owned land and evicting squatters who had lived on the land without owning it for generations. Some landowners and residents were happy to comply. Others resisted until they were forcibly evicted. In order to allay public uneasiness with this process, several reporters visited the area. They painted a picture of the mountain people as near-savages who would be better off resettled in more urban civilization. It now seems that these reports were exaggerated or even falsified. The U.S. government’s treatment of these mountain residents remains controversial to this day. Today, remains of the homes of these early inhabitants can still be seen at the park.
3. Many of Shenandoah National Park’s areas of Wilderness were Planted
Because Shenandoah National Park had been the site of human settlements, areas of the forests had been cleared for orchards, pastures, gardens, and human habitations. One of the jobs of the park’s builders was to destroy human habitations, orchards, and farmlands, and replant these areas with native species. A nursery was even established for this purpose at Big Meadows.
In 1933, President Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to provide work for young men and relieve the unemployment crisis of the Great Depression. The President established six CCC camps in Shenandoah National Park in 1933. These civilian workers completed much of the important work on the national park, including working on the park’s central roadway (Skyline Drive) as well as building trails, picnic sites, bathrooms, and more.
5. Skyline Drive was Meant to Give Travelers a Sense of Flying
When Shenandoah National Park was built, car travel was becoming popular, but airplane travel and skyscrapers were still uncommon. Driving along Skyline Drive, atop the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was the closest many residents of the Eastern United States ever got to flying. With sweeping panoramas on either side, it’s easy to see why taking a spin along Skyline Drive makes you feel on top of the world!
With its northern entrance station in the town of Front Royal, Shenandoah National Park is a great fall destination. Enjoy an amazing fall adventure at the park, and don’t forget to check out delicious dining and exciting shopping in Front Royal on your way in or out.
With school starting up in the fall, it’s important to keep making an effort to spend quality time with the whole family. Fortunately, fall is a great season to enjoy being together and exploring the outdoors. Cooler temperatures can be a relief from the heat of summer, but there are still plenty of days that are pleasantly warm. When those beautiful fall days hit, you’ll want to have a game plan in your back pocket so you can get straight out there and enjoy them. If you’re in or near the Front Royal area, there’s loads of classic country fall activities to explore. Don’t waste the warm weather while it’s still here! Read on to plan a Front Royal fall adventure for the whole family.
Apple Picking in Front Royal
Picking fruit is a great outdoor activity for all ages. You can enjoy some of nature’s sweetest treats while getting in some fresh air and exercise together. Near Front Royal, head to Stribling Orchard for apple picking fun. You can pick you own apples, check out the farm animals, and visit the store for more yummy local products. Find live music and favorite Front Royal vendors here on the weekends.
Hartland Orchard is another great local option for apple picking. You’ll find it conveniently located near I-66. Or head a little further from the interstate to explore the apple orchards at Hollin Farms and Valley View Farm.
Fall Farm Fun
Fall is a great season to enjoy local farms, with many putting together extra family fun attractions. Head towards Winchester to find a few. Wayside Farm Fun has the classic fall attractions you’d expect, and some you’ve maybe never heard of. Enjoy a corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin smashing, giant slides, and even giant jumping pillow. Don’t forget to pick a pumpkin before you go home.
For more classic fall fun, check out High Hill Farm for a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and hayrides. The farm remains open after dark so you can enjoy a family friendly (not “haunted”) moonlit hayride too.
Great Country Farms is a local farm that’s open all year round. Families can enjoy meeting the animals, exploring u-pick fields, catch and release fishing, and an exciting play area. Attend the Pumpkin Festival this fall to find a great destination for all year round. The Pumpkin Festival includes pumpkin picking, pig races, cider pressing demos, and more, as well as access to the play area.
Pumpkin Baking and Carving
It wouldn’t be October without some pumpkin carving (and eating!) fun. Most fall farm adventures involve buying more pumpkins (in more unique colors and sizes!) than you may have originally intended. But once you get them home, pumpkins are the basis of some fun fall activities you can enjoy without leaving your house. Get everyone together for a pumpkin carving party. Stick with a simple jack-o-lantern face, or explore more intricate designs. Enjoy baking pumpkin flavored treats from pies to muffins and more. And don’t throw away those seeds! You can roast them for a tasty treat that’s full of health benefits.
Don’t waste the beautiful days of early fall in Front Royal. There’s so much to do outdoors as you enjoy mild temperatures for the last time in a few months. Pick (at least) one activity from this post and make a point of having seasonal fun with your kids in Front Royal this fall!
The fertile soils of the Shenandoah Valley have been farmland since the distant days of Native American settlements. Today, the Shenandoah Valley is still an area that produces plentiful delicious food. Earlier in the year we highlighted some locally produced Front Royal summer treats. But in this amazing area, nature’s bounty keeps on coming right through the fall. Today, we’re beginning a tour of Front Royal’s fall fare, and we’re starting with a classic fall fruit that everybody likes. This fruit…
Front Royal Apples
Virginia is the sixth highest apple-producing state in the U.S. With its location in the northern Shenandoah Valley, Front Royal sits squarely in Virginia apple country. It’s also one of the most conveniently located apple country towns for residents of the D.C. metro area. You’ll find loads of delicious apples in Front Royal’s orchards, where you can purchase pre-picked apples, or enjoy a family apple picking outing.
Stribling Orchard is one of our top picks for its secluded location and stunning mountain views. This historic farm has been producing fruit for 200 hundred years. Check out the farm store for local products and baked goods. Plan your visit for a weekend to find several of Front Royal’s favorite local vendors on site.
For another fantastic apple orchard experience, head to Valley View Farm’s pick your own orchard, or visit the locavore farm market on site to purchase local foods and apple products such as butters, jellies, and more.
Hollin Farms and Hartland Orchard are two other popular local apple picking options, both conveniently located near Interstate 66.
Front Royal Apple Cider
Wherever apples are growing, you’ll find apple cider brewing, and Front Royal is no exception. You’ll want to make sure you enjoy a glass (or two!) of this delicious, locally produced beverage on your visit to Front Royal. Of course, sweet cider is a favorite for kids, while hard cider is a great option for adults. Naturally gluten free, apple cider is a great alternative for those who can’t tolerate the gluten in beer.
If you’re on an apple cider hunt in Front Royal, Valley View Farm is a great place to start. Enjoy tasting their oak aged ciders made with 100% locally sourced apples. The tasting area is gorgeous, and it’s a great way to relax after some apple-picking.
For a full day’s adventure, head to Cobbler Mountain Cider, where you can explore the beautiful 90 acre property with hiking trails, creekside fun, fire pits, and more. Enjoy a huge variety of flavored ciders while you’re there. You’ll need to make plenty of visits before you discover your favorite!
Or if you’re looking for cider without heading out into the countryside, try stopping by PaveMint Taphouse in Front Royal. You’ll find a small selection of craft ciders at this fantastic micro-brewery.
Apples Every Way at Front Royal’s Apple House
From butters to jellies, pies, and more, there’s loads you can do with Virginia apples as an ingredient. A Front Royal top stop for apple-themed goods of all kinds is The Apple House. It’s conveniently located right off I-66, and it’s a great place to enjoy honest country fare. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and check out the gift shop for more Virginia products. Don’t miss the famous Apple Butter Cinnamon Donuts. You’ll want to enjoy one on the spot, and bring some with you for the road!
It’s wisely been said: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. With numerous health benefits and delicious flavor, apples are yet another gift that Mother Nature has to offer residents and visitors of Front Royal. Whether you plan a full day of apple fun with picking and cider tasting, or make a quick stop off I-66 to pick up donuts at The Apple House, make sure you find a way to enjoy Front Royal apples this fall.
The town of Front Royal may be small, but it’s anything but sleepy! With a full calendar of fantastic events, there’s always something exciting to do. Mark your calendar and make your plans to attend a fun-filled event in Front Royal this fall, starting this weekend! There’s something for everyone, from relaxing at a vineyard to throwing axes and stargazing. Check out Front Royal’s events calendar and see what’s in store for the glorious season of fall.
September 2022 in Front Royal: Cars, Music, Axes, and History
Front Royal’s fall events get started this weekend, with a jam-packed schedule of fun, education, music, and more.
First up, and lasting the whole weekend, the NCMTFC Tour is planned for the Front Royal area. If you happen to own an antique car, you’ll want to jump right in on this one. Imagine exploring the stunning Front Royal countryside by road, and taking your vehicle on the iconic Skyline Drive. With stops planned at fantastic Front Royal restaurants you’ll get to enjoy so much of what our town has to offer. This event is a great one for all car enthusiasts. If you’re not driving, check the itinerary and figure out where you can enjoy watching a parade of antique cars pass by!
On the afternoon of September 24, history lovers should head to Bel Air house at 2 p.m.. Enjoy a tour of this local historic home, along with readings from the diary of Civil War era resident, Lucy Buck.
In honor of Public Lands Day, National Parks are offering free admission on Saturday, September 24. Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. Take a hike, pack a picnic, go for a drive, and enjoy the day!
Find out more details here.
If Blues Music is your jam, make sure to be in the Front Royal area on September 24th. You can head to nearby Woodville and explore the John Jackson Piedmont Blues Music Festival. Spend the whole afternoon/evening relaxing with live music, book signings, food trucks, and more.
September 24th is also the date of the Shenandoah Valley Axe Company’s grand opening celebration. Axe throwing is a fresh new entertainment trend that we’re so excited to see in Front Royal. Help Shenandoah Valley Axe Company celebrate making a fresh beginning in a new Front Royal location. There’ll be live music, mud trucks, a knife throwing demonstration, and more. And, of course, you can try your own hand at axe throwing.
Wine lovers won’t want to miss with Sunset in the Vineyard event at Fox Meadow Winery on September 24th. Sip on into the evening until 9 pm at this gorgeous vineyard, and enjoy live music.
September is truly going out with a bang in Front Royal this year. After a weekend of fun, Front Royal residents should mark their calendars for the Civic Pride Workshop on September 27th. Noted speaker Jeff Siegler will help residents learn how to give the local community a boost.
October 2022 in Front Royal
October is a month when the crowds head to Front Royal to see the leaves change. Whether you live in Front Royal or are one of many planning a fall Front Royal trip this October, check out our events calendar to get the most from your time in Front Royal.
The annual Homesteaders of America Conference takes place at Warren County Fairgrouds October 7 and 8. Noted homesteading speakers such as Joel Salatin, Justin Rhodes, and Shawn and Beth Dougherty will teach attendees how to take more steps to raise, preserve, and prepare their own food. Homesteading is a fast growing movement, and you’ll find plenty to interest you whether your efforts at food production are confined to your kitchen or include a few acres and some livestock.
For thrills and fun, head to the Warren County airport for the Wings and Wheels event on the morning of October 8th. With planes, skydiving, cars, and more the Wings and Wheels event is a fun one for the whole family. Call 540-635-3570 for more information.
Front Royal has plenty of small-town festival fun in store this October, too. Head our way October 14th and 15th for the fiftieth annual Festival of Leaves. The excitement kicks off with a Friday night block party in Front Royal’s historic downtown. Come back any time on Saturday for fall festival fun, with craft vendors, live music, food drink, and family friendly activities.
Round your October out Front Royal’s Hometown Halloween celebration on October 29th. Enjoy an afternoon and evening of Halloween fun, with pumpkin painting, costumes, and more. Head back to Fox Meadow Winery in the evening for another Sunset in the Vineyard event.
With changing leaves, glorious fall colors, and fun events, fall is an exciting season in Front Royal. Mark your calendar so you don’t miss a moment in our favorite Shenandoah Valley small town!
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