Details: Front Royal, Va.
GETTING THERE: From the Beltway, take Interstate 66 to Exit 13, then right on Route 55 about five miles to South Royal Avenue. Main Street, which, like Royal Avenue, is home to several eateries, is a right turn off South Royal.
STAYING THERE: Killahevlin B&B Inn (1401 N. Royal Ave., 540-636-7335) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; $155 to $255 per night per room; two-night minimum on weekends and holidays. Woodward House (413 S. Royal Ave., 540-635-7010) has a hilltop location; $105 to $149, $220 for the Sunrise Cottage; two-night minimum April-June, September-October and holidays. Lackawanna B&B (236 Riverside Dr., 540-636-7945) is at the north end of town; $139 to $169; one-night stays allowed. Numerous motels are in that part of Front Royal, including a 75-room Hampton Inn (9800 Winchester Ave., 540-635-1882); $124 to $134. Near the entrance to Skyline Drive, at 533 S. Royal Ave., is the Scottish Inn,540-636-6168; $59.
MORE RESTAURANTS: Soul Mountain BBQ Shack (510 S. Royal Ave.) offers ribs, pulled chicken and pork, and other Southern favorites. Samurai Steakhouse (241 Chester St.) has added Mexican dishes to its eclectic Asian mix. The "Cavern Burgers" at Spelunker's (116 South St., 540-631-0300) are recommended by locals, who also rave about Spelunker's frozen custard, especially an occasional flavor-of-the-day called Cake Batter. Worth hanging around Front Royal just to be there that day, we're told.
THINGS TO KNOW: As you approach your exit from I-66, tourist information signs begin directing you to what proves to be an unmanned roadside kiosk. Do not be perturbed. The full-service Front Royal-Warren County Visitors Center is in a restored railroad station at 414 E. Main St.
The well-known Royal Oak Bookshop sells regional guides, histories, Civil War- and Virginia-related literature, and new and used volumes in five rooms at 207 S. Royal Ave. Closed on Wednesdays.
Finally, if you're running low on gas, it's wise to fill up in Front Royal. Prices there are lower than on Skyline Drive.
For more information: The Front Royal-Warren County Visitors Center, 800-338-2576 or 540-635-5788, http:/