Virginia November 21, 2016
The One Virginia Town That’s So Perfectly Southern
Of all of Virginia’s bountiful small towns, there are some that are southern in spirit and others that are geographically southern. Abingdon is both.
This town of 8,500 is often recognized for its Appalachian heritage, music culture, and bountiful outdoor opportunities. If you look even closer, you’ll find a beautiful art scene, impressive restaurants, and some of the friendliest folks you’ll meet. Here’s more on the small town of Abingdon, Virginia that is just so perfectly southern.
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Washington County you’ll find a town that has recently been deemed runner-up in USA Today’s 10 Best Southern Towns in America.
Abingdon has been on the map since its official founding in 1778. In the years prior to that, the land was inhabited by the Cherokee people and then surveyed by the noted explorer Daniel Boone.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact qualities that make Abingdon so authentically southern, although its deep-rooted history, fascinating architecture, and lively cultural scene all make for a solid foundation.
One of the many noteworthy attractions is the Barter Theatre. Deemed the “State Theatre of Virginia” in 1946, this beautiful building is also the nation’s longest running regional theatre. When it opened its doors during the Great Depression in 1933, most could not afford to pay full admission. Its founder kindly accepted food goods as a form of payment, hence the name barter.
This kind of hospitality is very much alive and well in Abingdon. Whether you’re stopping by a local storefront, or attending the Virginia Highlands Festival, you’re sure to encounter some friendly faces.
And what would a southern town be without a great barbecue joint? True to form, Abingdon offers some down-home southern cooking at the Bone Fire Smokehouse. As you can tell from the photo, it’s situated in an old hardware store. Be sure to order an extra side of the cornbread fritters, one of the most popular items on the menu.
Anyone staying overnight won’t want to pass up a chance to sleep at the historic Martha Washington Inn. This hotel was built in 1832, originally as a college and then a Civil War hospital. Today, this hotel and spa welcomes visitors from all over. Some of its most famous guests of the past include Jimmy Carter, Elizabeth Taylor, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Another characteristic of this small town so crucial to its southern identity is the natural surroundings. At any time of year, the noteworthy Virginia Creeper Trail is a scenic wonder. This 35-mile trail is famous among bikers, but also makes for a great stroll.
Even a quick walk downtown is sure to leave an impression on any visitor to the charming town of Abingdon. If you've yet to stop by, you'll want to plan your visit soon.
Check out this video for a wonderful glimpse into everyday life in this small town:
Are you a resident of Abingdon, or have you visited this charming southern town recently? Be sure to share your experiences with us!