(Less than an hour from Johnson City (Map), About Abingdon, Why we Visit Abingdon,Barter Theatre, Photo Gallery, Heartwood,Virginia Artisan Network, Heartwood Photo Gallery,Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail,Abingdon Shopping/Restaurants, Photo Gallery, The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa, Photo Gallery, William King Museum, Premier Golf, Around Abingdon Photo Gallery, Farmer’s Market, Hospital Affiliate, Brochures, Websites)
Abingdon is a charming small town in Southwest Virginia that is the County Seat of Washington County. It is the corporate home to K-VA-T Foods, owner of Food City, the region’s largest grocer and employer of 13,000 (Food City has significant name recognition throughout the region and is the NASCAR Food City 500 event held in March at Bristol Motor Speedway). A federal courthouse, two higher education campuses, Emory & Henry College professionals lived here, and a compelling Historic Main Street has the feel of Colonial Williamsburg; they make Abingdon unmistakable, charming, and noteworthy. One of our company affiliate hospitals,116-bed Johnston Memorial Hospital – Virginia’s first LEEDs certified “green” hospital, is here – a growing regional specialty services referral center. The population of Abingdon is approximately 8,000. The reasons we visit Abingdon are primarily anchored around its compelling theater, artisan and craft shopping, restaurants and staying overnight at The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa, one of the top resorts in Southern Appalachia.
Opened on June 10, 1933, Barter Theatre is one of the longest-running professional theatres in the nation. At that time, when the country was in the middle of the Great Depression, most patrons were not able to pay the full ticket price, so its founder offered admittance by letting the local people pay with food goods. In 1946, Barter Theatre was designated as the State Theatre of Virginia.
The Barter is one of the last year-round professional resident repertory theatres remaining in the United States. Many well-known stars of stage, screen and television have launched their careers at Barter, including Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Ned Beatty, Hume Cronyn, Gary Collins, and Kevin Spacey. Two theatres bring audiences a great selection of comedies, musicals, dramas and new works year-round.
The Barter Café at Barter Stage II – the second smaller stage theater that has been added to the Barter Theatre offerings, are across the main building on Main Street, making the theatre complex and its park a truly iconic experience for theater-goers from along the East Coast.
Delivering a premier theater experience that has drawn rave reviews and patrons from the East Coast for 80 years, the Virginia State Theater is a shining icon for the Performing Arts, including its Children’s theater and programming activities.
In 2013, Barter Theatre erected a covered tent area at its upper property adjacent to its Stage II Theater building, which now allows the theatre company to host large outdoor events.
The main building was once a church – note in the photo gallery the entrance to an underground tunnel, built during the Civil War to run supplies to the building that is now the Martha Washington Inn & Spa.
Welcome to Barter Theatre
Laurie Hester, Director of Patron Services at Barter Theatre, shares its story
and gives a tour of this truly historic dual-theater facility, and its grounds.
Heartwood – Home to Southwest Virginia Economic & Tourism Initiatives
Created in 2004, recognizing the assets of Southwest Virginia’s 19-county region, the Appalachian Regional Commission developed an artisan initiative to be a major cultural and heritage tourism destination. We have a very large regional business community that is made up of hundreds of regional artists with unusual and unique, heritage-based talents and products they make. Economic development experts were gathered to form an initiative to help these people develop their businesses – creating ‘Round the Mountain, which is headquartered here in Abingdon’s Heartwood. An “artisan commercial gateway” for consumers to purchase from these 500+ small businesses and the variety of handmade products, goods, and foods they make, for the first time, ‘Round the Mountain has helped to coordinate a more commercial approach to bringing products from Southwest Virginia to market while also helping to market them.
Also headquartered at Heartwood is an initiative that represents the “soul” of our entire region through our music. The brainstorm of Joe Wilson and Todd Christensen to preserve Southwest Virginia’s musical heritage with a trail of music venues: with the Ralph Stanley Museum on one end in Clintwood and the Blue Ridge Music Center at the other, in Galax. In 2002, the Virginia Crooked Road Heritage Music Trailwas established at Heartwood.
‘Round the Mountain Artisan Network
Diana Blackburn discusses ‘Round the Mountain
Director Diana Blackburn describes ‘Round the Mountain as well as the
development of Heartwood as an “artisan commercial gateway” for consumers to
access 500+ small businesses and the variety of handmade products, goods,
and foods made in the region.
The number of products food items and wares for sale through the artisan gateway, which is a literal list of stores and venues, including regional events, is somewhat like a “trail” of stores, networked from here at Heartwood where samples of the artisan network are on display to educate tourist/shoppers while they are also for sale.
The items include stained glass, quilt-making, beading, wood work and woodturning, crafts, pottery, welding, baskets, quilts, wines, foods of all sorts (packaged foods), story and history books, music recordings, etc.
The Crooked Road – Southwest Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail
Following The Crooked Road means discovering the music of the mountains, which is a fascinating combination of the cultures and nationalities that settled here during the pioneering days and has a rich tradition of mountain music which formed the basis for modern country, bluegrass, and even rock music. Early songs or ballads were stories about real people and events that were passed down orally from generation to generation. Many of these ballads were brought to Southwest Virginia by the early settlers from their native countries.
Heartwood hosts regularly scheduled concerts and frequent “jams” where regional musicians come informally with friends or to make new ones, to play together. These “shows” are free to the public and they are often extraordinary – you can come after dinner for dessert or just to listen.
The Crooked Road – Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail
Jack Hinshelwood will be the first to tell you how we have a treasure trove of talent in these hillsides that you don’t know until they sit down and play, and there’s an important lesson in that. We found sitting and talking with Jack gave us a renewed appreciation and respect for our music which we think you will love!
Welcome to The Crooked Road
Jack explains The Crooked Road – Southwest Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail,
which welcomes music fans from around the world to this series of iconic mountain
music venues that produced America’s Country, Old-Time, and Bluegrass music.
Jack discusses “The “Bluegrass Style”
Jack and friends Steve (fiddle), Doc (banjo), Greg (mandolin) and Danny
(mandolin) take turns or “breaks” – which Jack later explains is a unique feature
of this music style, which allows each instrument in the band to “come forward”
and take the spotlight. (Note that Doc is playing the “three finger style” banjo
which emphasizes manipulating the fingers with finger picks, as opposed to the
“claw hammer” style which is strumming the banjo strings.)
“Goodbye Old Pal”
Jack yodels Bill Monroe’s iconic song, “Goodbye Old Pal” (with Jamie Sparks,
guitar, Millard Edwards, banjo, Lowell Marshall, bass).
Jack sings Doc Watson’s “More Pretty Girl than One” at Heartwood’s Thursday
night jam (with Jamie Sparks, Millard Edwards, Lowell Marshall).
An example of a venue site along the Crooked Road is the Carter Family Fold – a small but raucous music venue that plays only once a week – Saturday nights at 7:30, which hosts amazing pop stars to new talents who view this as “the birthplace” of their music. Being in the audience promotes goose bumps and you will likely make a friend from another state or nation who is here to soak in the music and the history. This is a tough venue to reach, but certainly worth it to music lovers.
Abingdon Main Street Director, Susan Howard, brings you by three stores in
Downtown Abingdon: elegant and fun Abingdon Olive Oil Company, the historic Holston
Mountain Artisans Shop, and the charming A Likely Yarn – a fun and creative sampling of
the boutique shopping here.
Historic Abingdon Main Street offers classy, elegant stores and boutiques that serve numerous professional people who live in the county and our region, such as professors employed by local colleges, a number of attorneys both locally and working at the federal courthouse in Abingdon, K-VA-T and Alpha Coal executives, hospital and healthcare professionals in our region, as well as tourists.
Abingdon Shopping Photo Gallery
(Includes boutiques Abingdon Olive Oil, Kegley & Co., Persnickety, The Distressed Gentleman, Joni Mitchell Gallery, Holston Mountain Artisans, and A Likely Yarn)
Abingdon’s own Holston Mountain Artisan Shop is the oldest co-op in the region – for more than 40 years local and regional artists have offered their products for sale through this organization. Members must pass a jury process where the quality of their products is judged to be accepted by board members.
No matter where your family and friends may be, you will be envied for the amazing quality and products you can obtain here for your household, for your life and for your family! You will notice in our region a draw toward buying local and outfitting our homes with products and items that identify us as being from the area. Your visiting friends will love seeing items purchased by local artisans, as well as the stories about them.
The William King Museum is a non-profit regional art museum and arts education center housed in a historic 1913 former school. It is the only facility of its kind and Virginia’s only nationally accredited museum west of Roanoke. An average of nine exhibitions is mounted each year, showcasing art of the region and of the world. Programming includes artist talks, lectures, workshops, and other special events.
Two additional galleries include the Student Gallery, which displays works from area schools and colleges, and the Panoramic Gallery that features self-curated shows by local artists. These two galleries offer up to 24 additional exhibits a year. An extensive arts education program serves school and public audiences both within and outside of the facility. The Museum also features artist studios, the Looking Glass Museum Store, reference library, research archives, and an outdoor sculpture garden.
15 minutes closer to Johnson City is The Virginian, a premier Tom Fazio-designed course and recognized as one of America’s top “private golf club” communities. The Virginian has appeared on the cover, or sectional cover, of nine national publications and has received numerous annual awards which include (Second Best) “New Private Course” in America by Golf Digest (1994), GolfWeek Magazine’s “One of America’s Top 100 Modern Golf Courses.” The Virginian has impeccable amenities and locker room facilities. The club is a full service restaurant and its pro shop has the latest equipment. The practice facility has three regulation holes. If you are a big-time golfer you will likely be able to find members who play at The Virginian.
The Olde Farm is one of the most highly acclaimed private golf clubs in the country, providing a world-class golf experience and patterned after Castle Hill, a historic estate built more than 200 years ago in Charlottesville. Its stately clubhouse provides a homecoming filled with warm woods, rich textures, and gourmet dining. The clubhouse is located in the exact spot of the property’s original home built in the 1700’s along a grove of oak trees. Two of these majestic trees continue to stand guard outside the clubhouse today.
Golf Digest named The Olde Farm Best New Private Course of 2000. In June of 2010 the Olde Farm sponsored The Big Threeevent (playing host to Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer) for a charity for Mountain Mission Kids which raised over $15 million.
Unless noted, all photos are authentic and were taken for our Online Job Tour® during an on-site production visit, focused on providing you a more comprehensive “virtual interview trip” covering important career search topics and details, so that you can learn what you need. Our goal is to give you a far better “online experience” that gives you far more insight into how you and your family will live and work should you continue your career with us. We also believe you deserve to be able to share the experience with your friends and family, who would likely miss out entirely on the limited real interview visit. Thank you for using this Online Job Tour!