Tag Archives: Abingdon

Sign Painter Brings New Life to Sign in Downtown Abingdon

New businesses are breathing new life to downtown Abingdon, Va. Just off West Main Street, tucked between some antique shops is a fading piece of the past. The yellow and white paint of the general store sign is just barely visible on the brick outside of Wolf Hills Antiques.

“We didn’t want to get rid of it,” said Bobby Lane, owner of the Market Place Building and Wolf Hills Antiques, “but it’s an eyesore. Since this is an antique shop, we decided to restore it. We don’t want it to look too fresh, though. We want to make it look old.”

Wolf Hills Antiques is one of four new businesses to open on West Main Street in the past year, and curb appeal is at the forefront of business owners’ minds to bring in new customers.

To insure that the Lanes’ vision for the sign comes to life, they recruited a real walldog to complete the restoration.

“Walldogs” are what the original painters of the sign would have been called according to Carl Jessee who got his start in the sign business 65 years ago.

Carl’s first job was painting the weights of coal trucks on the cab doors. “The state passed a law that the weight of the truck when it was empty and when it was full had to be painted on the side. There were plenty of coal trucks in Honaker, and I needed a job.”

Mr. Jessee has two signs in the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. He and his son, JJ Jessee, will be overseeing the restoration of the sign. The Jessee family runs the Bristol Sign Company, which Carl opened in 1969.

“Dad’s done billboards and wall signs. He used to do raceway work too. He’d be out there at four in the morning fixing the signs that were damaged during the Saturday race for the Sunday race,” JJ Jessee said.

Now retired from the sign business, Mr. Jessee owns an art and frame shop in Bristol, Va. He only reprises his role as a walldog-sign-painter for special occasions such as a restoration.

Carl Jessee has seen the sign business go from painters to printers.  “There is no comparison between when I started in signs and now. Everything is computerized. Everyone is going to vinyl,” he said.

 Jessees and Lanes in front of the sign from the 1950s

Jessees and Lanes in front of the sign from the 1950s

 

The Jessees’ and the Lanes’ goal to improve the facade the Market Place Building lines up with the goals of many business owners and community members in Abingdon. The non profit organization Abingdon Main Street is focused on making downtown Abingdon a place that people want to shop, dine, and stay. Abingdon Main Street’s volunteers are working to acquire grants for facade improvement.

“One of Abingdon Main Street’s goals is to help business and property owners preserve the unique and welcoming atmosphere of our downtown area and to also improve and update it when necessary. Part of our work is to direct resources to them to achieve this goal,” said President of Abingdon Main Street Scott Sikes.

Holiday Shopping in Abingdon

‘Tis the season to shop ’til you drop, and we suggest Abingdon as an especially fine choice for buying unique, meaningful gifts. We’re the quintessential “shop small” destination with quaint boutiques lining our historic downtown streets. Let us show you why.

WEST MAIN STREET

Shops on and around Main Street between Cummings and Wall Streets offer a good selection of gift-buying options. Start at Abingdon Mercantile and Frame Shop, two stories of fantastic finds in what used to be an old hotel. Many of your favorite gift brands are found here, as well as home decor and apparel.

Abingdon Mercantile & Frame Shop

Abingdon Mercantile & Frame Shop

Stuff your stockings with sweet treats from The Candy Shed, Abingdon’s candy store. Bulk candies, lollipops, a variety of mint tins, and nostalgic candies can be found here. Want more sugar and old fashioned fun? Be sure to swing by Ellis Soda Shoppe for a float!

The Candy Shed

The Candy Shed

Looking for local handmade gifts? Check out Necessities, a trove of local love and international delights, too. Find delicious teas and foods, as well as art, kitchenware, and linens.

Those seeking something specific for someone who’s hard to buy for may have luck with a special antique or primitive gift. Try Jerroleen’s Shed, a well curated antiques and primitives store that also carries interesting “man gifts” like beard balm and “bloody knuckles” hand salve.

Jerroleen's Shed

Jerroleen’s Shed

EAST MAIN STREET

On the other side of The Martha Washington Inn & Spa and Barter Theatre is more great shopping. Start at Forget-Me-Not, a ladies boutique in what was once an old apothecary. Today that building is filled with jewelry, clothes, gift cards, and more, but none of it is the ordinary, run-of-the-mill variety. You’ll find something special here!

Forget-Me-Not

Forget-Me-Not

Abingdon Olive Oil Company is the perfect place to find a fine oil for the Betty Crocker in your life. If you don’t know where to start, the knowledgeable staff can give you great recommendations.

Abingdon Olive Oil Company

Abingdon Olive Oil Company

Katbird’s Wine & Gourmet will probably have you at “complimentary wine and beer tastings every Saturday afternoon,” and if so, we don’t blame you. Sample something new and choose a new favorite to take home for a holiday dinner or to gift a co-worker or friend. A variety of home goods and gourmet delights may even find their way into your bag as well.

Katbird's Wine & Gourmet

Katbird’s Wine & Gourmet

Two blocks back on Park Street sits Wolf Hills Brewing Company. If you didn’t find a craft beer you like at Katbird’s try the local flavor and perhaps take home a growler!

Just down Park is Holston Mountain Artisans, the perfect place to pick up a handmade gift from a local artisan. From photography and pottery to joinery and jewelry, there’s no telling what impressive handcrafted object may be the perfect gift.

Holston Mountain Artisans

There’s more GREAT SHOPPING in Abingdon, so don’t stop here. You’ll find music stores, more clothing and jewelry, and LOTS more artisan shops and galleries to peruse this holiday season.

A Very Barter Christmas: Unexpected Delights for the Holiday Season

barter-at-christmas-web

Those who have never experienced the holiday season at Barter Theatre in Abingdon are truly missing out. It’s not your average theater, and it’s not your average “come watch our holiday show and go home” experience. Rather, attending a show at The Barter Theatre during the Christmas season should be a tradition. Indeed, an annual holiday destination.

“The Christmas shows at the Barter are one of my very favorite things to do during the holiday season. It has become a tradition of sorts for me and my friends or family to start the season off with one of the favorite holiday classics …” Trip Advisor user Evie H.

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Over the River and Through the Woods at Barter Theatre, Christmas 2016

At Barter Theatre during this festive season, patrons can expect elaborate, gorgeous decorations throughout the common areas, as well as hot cocoa to warm you as you come in the door. Holiday trees are here, there, and everywhere! It’s a truly delightful scene.

The gift shops – one at Barter proper and another at Barter Stage II – have souvenirs and gifts to choose from. Perhaps someone on your list needs a gift certificate to share this experience with you next year?

The gift shop in the Barter Theatre is especially festive at Christmas.

The gift shop in the Barter Theatre is especially festive at Christmas.

2017 CHRISTMAS SEASON AT BARTER

The shows rotate near-daily at Barter and Barter Stage II. Hurry to order your tickets online before they’re sold out!

BEFORE OR AFTER THE SHOW

Downtown Abingdon is especially beautiful this time of year. Stroll Main Street to window shop and appreciate the decorations or get a bite to eat. Some of the nearby favorites are Rain Restaurant & BarSisters American Grill, and The Peppermill.

>> More Places to Eat

STAY THE NIGHT

Walk to the show when you stay the night nearby. Consider the illustrious Martha Washington Inn and Spa, also glittering with stunning holiday décor. The Park Street Guesthouse is just two blocks away and offers all of the comforts and privacy of home.

>> More Places to Stay

EXTEND YOUR STAY

Expand your footprint beyond downtown Abingdon when you visit “must-see” places like Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway and Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview.

A Christmas Tree, fresh cut from the McDaniel Tree Farm in nearby Konnarock, loaded with artisan ornaments for sale at Heartwood: The Southwest Virginia Artisan Gateway in Abingdon, VA

A Christmas Tree loaded with artisan ornaments for sale at Heartwood: The Southwest Virginia Artisan Gateway

No trip to Abingdon is complete without at least a short jaunt on the Virginia Creeper Trail. Walk a brisk mile or two to work up an appetite for hot soup or a hot toddy.

>> More Ways to Play

A Destination Christmas in Historic Downtown Abingdon

There’s too much noise in the world today. Too many distractions, and too much chaos. Settle down and settle in with a destination Christmas in Abingdon, Virginia.

Abingdon is a small town that’s big on culture and hospitality. Here, you can escape the hustle and bustle and focus on what’s important: your loved ones. Let us show you the way.

Christmas in Abingdon

DELIGHTFUL STAYS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

The Martha Washington Inn & Spa is the grand dame of Abingdon. Steeped in history, this hotel was originally the home of the Preston family but has seen life as a dorm for Barter Theatre actors, a women’s college, a makeshift Civil War hospital, and eventually a hotel.

Merry Christmas Eve!! Cc: @jasonbarnette #abingdonva #themartha #holidays #christmas

A photo posted by Abingdon, VA (@visitabingdonva) on

The Martha’s appeal for families are numerous: an on-site restaurant where kids under 12 eat free, the spa and heated pool, the fire pit, the beautiful decorations, the history, and of course, the ghost stories! Depending on the number of family members getting away with you, your accommodation options range from Martha’s Residence, a two king suite with fireplace seating areas and an optional connecting Deluxe King room, to the Family Friendly Suite, a two bedroom apartment with a king and two double beds.

“Our family, as well as other relatives, recently stayed at the Martha. We all had a fabulous time! This hotel is elegant, charming, and beautiful both inside and out. We found the rooms spacious compared to other historic hotels we’ve stayed in. The pool is also quite large for a hotel and it was so relaxing to sit in a jacuzzi outside in the middle of the winter. We also enjoyed the library and could have spent hours inside reading all the interesting books.” – TripAdvisor user Jennifer S.

Abingdon’s bed and breakfasts are stunning. Inquire with an innkeeper about renting the whole house if your family wants a private, more intimate environment.

Summerfield Inn is a 1920s Colonial Revival with plenty of room for the whole gang. Seven guestrooms with en suite are in the main house while three additional suites are available in the Carriage House. You’ll want to choose your room carefully as some sleep up to three people and at least one has its own special perk: the Rose Room has a two-person whirlpool tub!

“This location was central for widely separated family members. Lots of room for a gathering …” – TripAdvisor user Tim11502

While breakfast is not served at A Tailor’s Lodging, morning beverages are available and the location is top-notch. Tucked away within the historic downtown, the property offers three queen suites with fireplaces and en suite. The Tailor’s Shop is a sweet little cottage with private entrance and kitchenette.

A Tailor's Lodging in Abingdon, VA

“This is a great place to stay have stayed here several times of the last few years. This is a place you can rent the whole house for you and your guests. Very quiet and close to the Barter Theaters.” – TripAdvisor user M7735XUgregb

Copper Lantern Boutique Inn is also a centrally located bed and breakfast that consistently receives incredible guest reviews. The 1873 Georgian Colonial boasts five immaculate suites with fine linens and shower amenities.

“We traveled from Colorado to join family members in Abingdon. The Copper Lantern Inn was our home base for a 5-day stay in Abingdon. The Inn’s central location was perfect for hiking, shopping, dining … It was a delightful meeting place for our family.” – TripAdvisor user Carol K.

Have you considered a cabin or cottage? It’s the ultimate “away from it all” Christmas destination, and we happen to have a few options within historic downtown Abingdon.

Creeper’s End Lodging is two new cottages built in a Colonial style and offering two rental spaces in one of them and three in the other. Each cottage can sleep up to 10 guests and each unit has its own kitchenette, which means everyone gets a turn at cooking!

“What a fabulous place for a family reunion! We took over the place and were in heaven. Lovely furnishings and very comfortable. They thought of everything a traveler might need. Close to trail, park, good food, the Barter, and a wonderful yard to play in!!”- TripAdvisor user Cathryn T.

Another excellent collection of cabins is that of Crooked Cabin Properties, a trio still within the historic downtown of Abingdon. The largest and most accommodating for a full-family getaway is The Brook House with sleeping arrangements for eight in 3,000 square feet. Need more room? The Creekside Hatch is an adjacent two-bedroom cottage that sleeps four more people.

 

“A wonderful experience in a lovely historic town. We had a 20 year reunion at the Brook House and it could not have been more perfect. Spacious, clean, we had everything we needed for a perfect weekend.” – TripAdvisor user Alice P.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE IT MEMORABLE

Prepare your family for a fantastic Christmas getaway to Abingdon with these resources.

A Perfect Lake Getaway Outside Abingdon, VA

South Holston Lake in Bristol, TN

Just a 20 minute drive outside of Abingdon’s town limits, South Holston Lake stretches over miles of open water, surrounded by pristine mountain ridges.  About 60% of the shoreline is bordered by the Cherokee National Forest, and much of the shoreline is undeveloped, making it one of the most scenic lakes in Virginia. (The 7580-acre reservoir straddles the VA/TN border.)

The history behind the lake is as extensive as the lake itself. The Tennessee Valley Authority came to the area in 1942 to start construction on a dam. It was then completed in 1950. Local lore says that there were towns,farms, and graveyards flooded in order to build and create the South Holston Dam and Lake.

To help you and your family explore this undiscovered treasure in the Abingdon area, we’ve compiled a list of marinas, outfitters and public parks.  From boating, to scuba diving, to fishing, to simply having a picnic on the lake, there is something for everyone and every age.

Lake4

Boating

One of the biggest attractions is to boat on the lake during the summer. Many marinas offer boat rentals for families of every size.  With miles of open lake there is little crowding and a great place for swimming and boating without worry.

The Sportsman’s Marina is the most convenient access point for boating, located just 15 minutes from downtown Abingdon. In addition to boat rentals, Sportsman’s offers towables, kayaks, paddle boards, Jetblades, and an Aquapark.  Grab lunch at the Broken Ski Grill before heading out on the water.

Painter Creek Marina offers fully equipped half-day and full-day pontoon boat rentals, along with casual dining at the Painter Creek Grille.

Friendship Resort and Marina is a family-oriented marina surrounded by pristine national forest, offering boat rentals with seating for up to 10.

 

Lake7

Fishing

For those fishermen who have their own gear the Washington County Park is a great place to spend the day catching fish and relaxing by the lake.With many different places to stop and fish as well as other activities for the family this is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. 

If you are a beginner fisherman or simply want to teach your children how to fish, the Virginia Creeper Fly Shop offers fishing gear, classes and guided excursions.  Or, pick up some gear at Mahoney’s Outfitters, conveniently located on Cummings Street/Hwy 75, on the way to the Lake. 

There are many different kinds of fish that live in the South Holston Lake. Among some of the most popular fish are: Channel Catfish, Bluegills, Small and Large Mouth Bass and Black Bass.  Learn more at the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries >

Other Adventures 

Adventure Diving

If you and your family are extreme adventurists then Adventure Diving will fit the bill! This is your chance to see the South Holston Lake close up. Through their Discover Scuba tour they provide a short lesson and then a tour of the bottom of The South Holston Lake.  This is a great way to get up close and personal with this beautiful lake.  

Paddleboarding and Jetskis

Just a short 15 minute drive Abingdon you’ll find the Sportsmans Marina. They offer more than just boat rentals. They can provide jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, tubes, and other water equipment for a fun day on the lake!

Places To Stay

When visiting the South Holston Lake it can be hard to only stay for one day. With the beautiful mountains, the rich local history, and small town eateries many visitors choose to stay for a few nights.  

Abingdon offers a number of affordable hotels, B&Bs and cabins with easy access to South Holston Lake.  For the best of both worlds, combine the comfortable lodging and great restaurants of Abingdon with a fun day on the lake.  Find out more about Abingdon lodging options >

Or, for the visitors who have a wild side or simply love waking up and watching a sunrise on the lake, there are a number of campgrounds around the South Holston Lake that provide an easy drive into Abingdon for the evening. Find out more about camping options at South Holston Lake >

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South Holston Lake is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day, fish, and simply enjoy the mountains on a family vacation. With so much to do it is no wonder this is a visitor hotspot!