Culture & Recreation
For a relatively small region, Washington County’s array of cultural, historical, and recreational activities would make many cities jealous. A thriving arts scene, foodie culture, vibrant history, and great outdoor recreation are just a few of the reasons that USA Today named Abingdon the #2 Southern Small Town in 2015.
Agriculture has historically played an important role in the life of the County. Since the late 1990s, production has shifted away from tobacco to more varied crops, beef cattle, dairy, and eggs. Farmers’ markets and farm-to-table restaurants are popular attractions.
Abingdon Farmer’s Market
Glade Spring Farmer’s Market
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)
Richmond, VA (5 hours)
Virginia Beach, VA (6 hours)
Washington, DC (6 hours)
Culture & The Arts
The Barter Theatre: The state theater of Virginia and the nation’s longest-running professional resident theatre; also offers classes for students.
The Martha Washington Inn & Spa, a.k.a. “The Martha”: A historic property built as a private residence in 1832 that has been an upscale hotel since 1935; located across from the Barter Theatre.
Heartwood: Gateway to Southwest Virginia’s artisans, crafts, and traditional music; headquarters of The Crooked Road heritage music trail.
William King Museum of Art: The region’s premier visual arts facility, offering fine world art, contemporary regional art and cultural heritage exhibits that change frequently.
The Crooked Road – Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail: A 330-mile driving trail through the mountains of Southwest Virginia that focuses on the uniqueness and vitality of the region’s heritage music; also includes outdoor recreational activities, museums, crafts, and historic and cultural programs.
Bristol Motor Speedway: This world-famous half-mile track hosts the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Trucks races; also offers tours.
Birthplace of Country Music Museum: Affiliated with the Smithsonian, this museum celebrates Bristol’s seminal country music heritage and designation as the Birthplace of Country Music by the U.S. Congress in 1998. Also hosts the Rhythm & Roots Reunion, one of the largest music festivals in the South.
Paramount Center for the Arts: Features nationally known musicians, Broadway touring shows, ballet, symphony, and choral and chamber music. It also offers its stage to local performing groups, including:
Several ballet companies
Symphony of the Mountains, a regional orchestra
Voices of the Mountains, a regional chorus
The Paramount Players, the area’s chamber music ensemble
Shopping: A variety of shopping options, from two large malls to smaller specialty shops selling art, antiques, clothing, décor, and outdoor gear.
South Holston Lake: With hundreds of miles of shoreline, is popular for fishing, boating, skiing, and other recreational activities; hosts a number of fishing tournaments each year.
Several public and private golf courses, including:
World-class recreational trails, including:
Appalachian Trail: The longest hiking-only trail in the world runs through the heart of Washington County.
Virginia Creeper Trail: A hiking, biking, and equestrian trail running from Abingdon to Damascus; considered to be one of the best mountain biking trails in the eastern U.S.