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Abingdon Area Guide

Abingdon, VA

Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the historic town of Abingdon, Virginia, was incorporated in 1778. Since its inception Abingdon has been known not only for its breathtaking views, but also for a love of the arts.

Barter Theatre

It was through a local actor's love of theatre that Abingdon's most well known attraction was born. The Barter Theatre originally opened in the 1930's when Robert Porterfield, an unemployed actor and native of Southwest Virginia, brought a troupe of actors to Abingdon. The ticket price was 35 cents but as the country was in the grips of the Great Depression not all patrons could afford the price. Porterfield's desire to allow everyone the opportunity to attend the show gave rise to the theatre's name. Porterfield would accept the equivalent of the ticket price in produce thus, the playhouse became known as the “Barter Theater”. Today the Barter Theatre is honored as the State Theatre of Virginia.

The Arts Depot

The Arts Depot is located in a former railroad freight station that was purchased by the town of Abingdon and later turned into a gallery. The Arts Depot offers a Spotlight Gallery with eight visiting exhibits annually as well as the members' gallery where members of the Arts Depot Association can display and sell their work. The gallery is also a working art studio in which visitors can view artist demonstrations.

The White Mill

One of the oldest structures in Abingdon is White's Mill, constructed in 1790. The Mill is a Virginia Historic Landmark and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Restoration is currently in progress, but visitors can still tour the mill and purchase corn meal, grits, buckwheat and whole wheat.

At The White Mill, you'll find the following merchandise: 

  • White's Mill stone ground corn meal and grits
  • Handmade quilts, fabric art, and wall decorations
  • Artwork of various styles depicting White's Mill and the southern Appalachian region
  • Books of Appalachian writing
  • CDs of local and regional music
  • Much, much more from many local artisans
Visit The White Mill's Site for More Info!

The Virginia Creeper Trail

Abingdon and Washington County abound with outdoor activities that will not only test the athletic abilities of visitors, but also immerse them in the beauty of the region. The Virginia Creeper Trail stretches 35 miles from Abingdon to the North Carolina state line. The trail began as a Native American footpath, later became a railroad and, with the closing of the railroad in 1977, is now a popular footpath once again. The trail passes through the scenic backcountry of Western Virginia and is open to hikers, bikers and horses.

Heartwood

Entertainment, Arts & Crafts just minutes from The Martha!

The Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace {formerly Heartwood} is a 29,000 center that introduces Southwest Virginia (SWVA) to the world and serves as a visitor center, retail center for local crafts, music venue and community space. Heartwood is a vibrant culture of tradition, food, music and craft. It's a region of spectacular views, abundant outdoor recreation, and rich natural resources. Rooted deep in history, this culture is authentic… distinctive… alive.

Visit Heartwood Website