With the long winter behind us, it’s time to get out of the gym and back outside. Exploring nature and the countryside becomes more comfortable and accessible. The new growth of buds and leaves enhance the area’s magnificent vistas. Enjoy the peacefulness of the woods and river at the Shenandoah River, “Andy R. Guest” State Park. The park is 1,604 acres with 5.6 miles of river frontage along the south fork of the Shenandoah River. The rolling, mountainous land features steep slopes and is mostly wooded. In addition to meandering river frontage, the park offers scenic vistas overlooking Massanutten Mountain to the west and Shenandoah National Park to the east.
The G. R. Thompson Wildlife management area offers nine hiking trails that include a segment of the Appalachian Trail. On your hike, enjoy dramatic views at several overlooks and a stop by a small lake. Campgrounds and picnic areas are available. Bird life is plentiful in this wildlife area and their springtime activities create a special opportunity for enjoyment.
Go biking in nearby George Washington Forest. There are thousands of miles of roads and trails that are available for mountain bike use. Visitors may use any of these routes. There are no permits, fees, or registration required for individuals and small groups. The forest offers many opportunities to enjoy other various recreation experiences — hunting, hiking, fishing, camping and picnicking
Front Royal is the northern gateway to the world famous Skyline Drive, the only public road through Shenandoah National Park, rides the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 105 miles through the park, then joins the Blue Ridge Parkway which connects Shenandoah to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC. Hike in the shade of oak trees along the Appalachian Trail, discover the stories from Shenandoah’s past, or just relax in the wonder of wilderness.
Finally, it’s time to get back on the river. The South Fork of the Shenandoah River affords water fun, scenic views and an opportunity to see turtles, frogs and varieties of wildlife.
Starting April 1st, visit the expert staff at Downriver Canoe Company or Front Royal Canoe Company where they can help plan the right trip for you, the weather and the water levels.
The die hard, or wanna be, golfer will not be disappointed when playing at one of our local golf clubs. Front Royal Golf Club, the perfect spot to warm up your swing, features a public parkland course located directly on the main fork of the Shenandoah River. The scenic course has two sets of tees with nine putting greens, for a total of 18 holes playing to par 70. Jackson’s Chase Golf Club is an 18-hole public course laid out over several knolls once roamed by the Confederate Army under General Thomas A. “Stonewall” Jackson. Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers a spectacular championship-caliber course that will challenge not only the most discriminating golfer, but with five sets of tee boxes ranging from 4,994 to 7301 yards, promises a pleasurable experience for all levels of play. Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club is currently ranked Third on Golfweek’s “Best Courses You Can Play” list for Virginia.
A warm welcome to Skyline Caverns is extended to you all year. The temperature in the Caverns is always a comfortable 54 degrees, no matter what the weather is like outside. A self-guided tour, with an MP-3 player, will allow you to tour the caverns at your own pace. Your visit will be exciting, entertaining and educational. Learn about the geological history and challenge your imagination as you view the formations, including the rare and unique Anthodites. You will witness Mother Nature continuing her meticulous work, even today, on the formation of the exquisite creation. The dripping of water you find throughout the caverns is a reminder of this constant growth, the beauty of which is shared with thousands of wide-eyed visitors each year.
Front Royal Welcomes Spring Events
Every Second Saturday Downtown Front Royal comes alive with specials, art, wine and fun. Enjoy seasonal themes and family fun.
Stroll through historic downtown Front Royal for our popular Third Thursday ArtWalks April - October. From 5 to 8 p.m. watch local artists at work and listen to live music at the Gazebo.
The 83rd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, April 23 – May 2, is held in Winchester, VA, a short drive from Front Royal, with more than 30 events including: band competitions, dances, parades, the Clyde Beatty - Cole Bros Circus, a 10K Race, the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah, Firefighters’ events, and celebrities. The Festival is an event the whole family can enjoy.
Belle Grove’s 15th Annual “Of Ale and History” Microbrew and Imported Beer Tasting Festival, Sat. May 8, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., is one of Historic Belle Grove Plantation’s most popular events. Celebrate Belle Grove’s German and English heritage by sampling a great array of beers from the New and Old World, as well as delicious food by area restaurants. Beverages include a fine mix of European imports and innovative American microbrews, as well as a few domestic favorites. The historic house and landscape are open for touring throughout the festival, and the Potomac Rugby Union hosts a multi-club tournament on the front meadow. This year’s musicians are Cazhmiere and the Robbie Limon Band. Don’t miss it!
The streets are closed for the many wineries and artisans that participate in Front Royal’s 24th Annual Virginia Wine and Craft Festival May, 15, 10 am – 6 pm. Sample wine from over 20 Virginia wineries. Many styles of crafts will also be available — fine handmade jewelry, hand painted wine glasses, hand crafted musical instruments, pottery and ceramics. For Corvette fans come and see the cars on display courtesy of Shenandoah Corvettes. Come hungry, there will be a variety of festival food or you may wish to step inside to one of our many local restaurants located at the event site. There will be plenty for the children to do as well, including a Giant Slide, moon bounce, joust and face painting. Brought back by popular demand are Water Wars and the Acro-Spring!
Local musicians entertain at the Gazebo in Downtown for a family friendly outing every Friday evening in June, July and August.
The 2nd Annual Virginia Herb Festival, is held June 11-13, at the Sunflower Cottage. The annual festival will become your new favorite summertime event with herbal crafters and product vendors, thousands of herb plants, pick–your-own lavender, gardens, local artists, wine tasting, tea tasting, food, music, educational workshops and the chance to learn about the Shenandoah Herb Society. High Tea will be prepared from the garden and served all day.
The 2nd Annual Front Royal Celtic Festival and Highland Games is June 19 in Downtown Front Royal. The event will feature activities similar to those held at traditional Scottish highland games, such as fire juggling, hammer throwing, a tall man contest, and caber tossing. Authentic Celtic music and dancing also will be among the festivities.
Launch your exploration of the Civil War in Front Royal and the Shenandoah Valley. The Valley is rich with Civil War battlefields, re-enactments and museums.
During the Civil War, Front Royal was known as a “crossroads town” and hosted one of the only urban battles. The Battle of Front Royal is said to be the turning point of the Valley Campaign and enhanced the lore of many Confederate heroes such as Stonewall Jackson and Belle Boyd. The Battle of Front Royal Driving Tour offers a glimpse of what the soldiers and citizens experienced on that unseasonably warm Friday of May 23, 1862. You will feel what the Confederate Troops must have felt after having to march all morning and then ordered to make a torturous ascent of over 400 feet within one and one-half miles. You will visit historic homes of the area where the tide of the battle flowed. Please allow at least a couple of hours for the tour. Stop by the Visitors Center for information and guide books.
At the entrance to Prospect Hill Cemetery is the Mosby Monument. This monument, erected in 1899, commemorates the lives of seven John S. Mosby’s Rangers who were executed in Front Royal in September of 1864. General Grant, who was frustrated by the daring raids made by Mosby’s Rangers in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, issued the order to immediately hang any of Mosby’s men who were captured. The seven men commemorated on this monument died as a result of the order. On a circular lot at the top of the hill, known as Soldier’s Circle, lay the remains of 276 soldiers representing each of the 13 states of the Confederacy. From this hill, Stonewall Jackson directed his troops during the Battle of Front Royal on May 23, 1862.
Leave the Driving to the Valley Connector
Using the Valley Connector Regional Shuttle is a great way to get from Northern Virginia and Washington DC to the Northern Shenandoah Valley for a weekend visit or to attend our great festivals and events. Please contact the Valley Connector, www.shenvalleycommuters.com, or the Front Royal Visitors Center for more information on this public transportation option