Washington County

As old as the United States itself, Washington County was established in 1776, and named in honor of native Virginian George Washington, who at the time, was the commander of the American Revolutionary forces.

Where We Are

Washington County is close to both natural recreation and major metropolitan areas, further enhancing the quality of life for residents. In a day’s drive or less, you can reach:

  • Asheville, NC (< 2 hours)
  • Charlotte, NC (3 hours)
  • Nashville, TN (4.5 hours)
  • Richmond, VA (5 hours)
  • Louisville, KY (5 hours)
  • Atlanta, GA (5 hours)
  • Columbus, OH (5.5 hours)
  • Virginia Beach, VA (6 hours)
  • Myrtle Beach, SC (6 hours)
  • Washington, DC (6 hours)

Our Communities

Washington County includes three incorporated towns: Abingdon, Damascus, and Glade Spring, each with its own unique character and amenities. The Twin Cities of Bristol, VA and Bristol, TN are located adjacent to the county and provide additional cultural attractions, recreational amenities, educational opportunities, and shopping.

Abingdon, population 8,146 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014), was named a Top 10 Southern Small Town for 2015 by USA Today. Located on the I-81 corridor halfway between Roanoke, VA and Knoxville, TN, its cultural and recreational amenities include:

The Barter Theatre, Virginia’s state theatre

William King Museum of Art

Virginia Creeper Trail

It is a major stop along the nationally acclaimed Crooked Road – Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, a driving and walking trail that traces the route used by patriot militia during the pivotal Kings Mountain campaign of 1780, begins in Abingdon

Abingdon Farmer’s Market

Damascus, population 796 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014), is the gateway to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Crossed by several major trails, the town is a destination for hikers and wilderness tourists. Trail Days, an annual hiker festival, draws upwards of 20,000 visitors each year.

Trails include:

Appalachian Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Iron Mountain Trail

U.S. Bicycle Route 76, a.k.a. the Trans-America National Bicycle Trail

Daniel Boone Heritage Trail

Crooked Road Music Trail

Glade Spring, population 1,792 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014), is a small but welcoming community located along I-81. Attractions include:

Virginia Salt Trail, an 8.5 mile multi-use trail that links Glade Spring and Saltville

Glade Spring Farmer’s Market

Bristol, known as the “Twin Cities,” sits right on the Virginia-Tennessee state line. The largest city in the area with a combined population of nearly 44,000, Bristol has a number of unique amenities, including:

Bristol Motor Speedway: World-famous half-mile track; hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup

Birthplace of Country Music Museum: Celebrates Bristol’s seminal country music heritage and designation as the Birthplace of Country Music by the U.S. Congress in 1998

South Holston Lake: Popular for fishing, boating, skiing, and other recreational activities

Paramount Center for the Arts: Features nationally known musicians, Broadway touring shows, ballet, symphony, and choral and chamber music

Shopping: A variety of shopping options, from two large malls to smaller specialty shops selling art, antiques, clothing, décor, and outdoor gear

Economy

Washington County’s history is rooted in agriculture.  An abundance of natural resources, multiple water sources, and fertile soil established the region as an early production center by the mid-19th century.  Timber, tobacco, and salt were leading products throughout most of the 19th and 20th century.  Today, Washington County remains an eminent agricultural community, and is a leading Virginia community for cattle and egg production.

Proximity to central Appalachian coal producing communities lead to the establishment of Washington County and Abingdon as a center for multi-state regional commerce.  A robust cluster of banking, finance, legal, and professional service firms continues to provide an important economic network which benefits many types of industries and businesses.  Development of major domestic interstate networks during the mid-20th century helped to position Washington County for growth of manufacturing and distribution companies; today, almost 2 out of every 10 jobs are in the manufacturing sector.