Hello, friends! We are trying to get back to normal after our weekend trip to my hometown of Abingdon, Virginia. I love traveling–and when I travel to Abingdon I always feel like I’m going home–but it sure feels nice to be sleeping in my own bed again.
Obviously, our trip inspired today’s post. I love going to big cities or exotic locations just as much as the next person, but small towns of America hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because I grew up in one, maybe it’s because most of them are a cheaper getaway than a popular destination–either way, I think they make for a great trip and are highly underestimated.
So, just in case your travels ever take you to the southwestern corner of Virginia (or northeast Tennessee), here are five great activities to do while in Abingdon.
1. Explore the haunted history
Abingdon was settled back in the late 1700s–you can’t be a town for that long without retaining a few, notable ghosts! I have always been fascinated with all the many haunted buildings in the area; in fact, The Mystery of Ghostly Vera is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I highly recommend checking out a ghost tour, but if getting up close and personal with the supernatural isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other historical adventure to be found.
2. Take in a show
Not to brag, but Abingdon is home to the state theater of Virginia. It’s known as the Barter Theater, and was founded during the Great Depression. A group of out-of-work actors from New York moved down to Virginia to find work (and food). One of the actors, Robert Porterfield, knew that that rural areas wouldn’t necessarily have money to pay to watch a play, but they would have food–so audience members could “barter” their way in by bringing food from their farms for the actors to eat (hence the name).
|Talk about a missed opportunity with that marquee sign! Guess we will just have to get married all over again.|
3. Hike the Creeper Trail
There are outdoor activities a’plenty in Abingdon, but a favorite of mine is the Virginia Creeper Trail. The Creeper Trail (named for the foilage, not because creepy people hang out there) actually used to be a train route that ran from White Top Mountain down into Abingdon. It was used frequently in the days when logging was a huge industry on White Top Mountain and surrounding areas. Once that died away, the train was no longer needed. Luckily, instead of letting it rot, it was turned into a hiking/biking trail.
What I love about the Creeper Trail is that it can fit everyone’s needs. You can walk it, run it, bike it, or even go horseback riding. There are even several different companies that offer a shuttle service to the top of Whitetop, where you can then bike down the mountain (info here).
4. Eat your way through town
There’s no shortage of good restaurants in Abingdon–too many to choose from to list them all here! Our favorites include the Tavern, housed in the oldest building in the town, and Rain, which I will be doing a Foodie Tuesday post about next week. Abingdon isn’t the kind of town that stays open late (you’ll want to go to Bristol for nightlife), but if you happen to consume a few too many speciality bourbon drinks at the Tavern, there’s always McDonald’s and Taco Bell for those late night cravings.
5. Enjoy a horse and carriage ride
I’m a bit partial to this one, because Matt and I got engaged on a horse and carriage ride through Abingdon (and we exited that way after our wedding). The beauty of a horse and carriage ride though is that it’s not something that needs to be reserved for couples–in my opinion, it’s fun for all ages! (Although perhaps it could take more than that to impress teenagers, who knows.)
|This post was really just an excuse to show you more wedding photos.|
There is so much more to do than what I listed above, but that will get you started. Not to mention, there’s lots more to explore in all the areas surrounding Abingdon (such as Bristol and South Holston Lake).
Anyone out there have anything to add? How do you all feel about small towns?