Things to Do - Arts & Culture
Abingdon is well-known as the home of the most famous stage in Virginia — Barter Theatre.
It has played an important role in the cultural life of Abingdon since 1933. Catching a performance at Barter Theatre or the more intimate Barter Stage II is a bucket list event for any patron of the arts.
A stroll down Main Street will show that every type of artistic expression thrives in Abingdon. Galleries and studios abound, including the lovingly restored train station now known as The Arts Depot, where you can mingle with working artists. Just up the road is the William King Museum, which features world-renowned rotating exhibits. It’s never the same museum twice.
721 East Main Street
hours: Sunday-Saturday 11:30am - 12:00am
Your State of the Art Movie Theater[+] Expand Details
Abingdon Cinemall is a nationally acclaimed 12-plex movie theater with wall-to-wall screens, all-stadium seating, plush high-back rocking chairs, RealD 3D, high-definition Dolby Digital Cinema, and state-of-the-art digital surround-sound systems. The complex also contains a 30-game arcade, a comic books and video game store, and handles birthday parties, school and church groups. The theater also shows arts and foreign films every Mon and Tues during Sept-Nov and Feb-April.
Abingdon Muster Grounds
1780 Muster Place
hours: Open Daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m
The 9-acre Abingdon Muster Grounds is the premier center for Colonial Backcountry history from the American Revolutionary Period in Southwest Virginia[+] Expand Details
Visit the Keller Interpretive Center, walk a short section of the Overmountain Victory Trail, or enjoy a picnic on the grounds. Throughout the year the Muster Grounds are home to historical reenactments; visit the website for more information.
The Muster Grounds are the northern trailhead for the Overmountain Victory Trail, a 330-mile National Historic Trail. The trail traces the route used by patriot militia during the pivotal Kings Mountain campaign of 1780, which helped decide the outcome of the Revolutionary War.
The Keller Interpretive Center helps visitors discover what life was like for the Overmountain Men, backcountry Women, African-Americans and Native Americans, as well as British Loyalists, and a history of Washington County — the Overmountain region of Southwest Virginia. Artifacts used at the Battle of Kings Mountain and others from the late 18th-century Overmountain region are on display.
The Eastern National sales area provides something special and unique – for all ages – to take home to remember their experience at the Muster Grounds.
314 Depot Square
hours: Wednesday through Saturday - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, on the First Thursday each month until 8:00 PM, and by appointment
Visit Abingdon's historic 1890's freight station. Browse three art galleries featuring the regions finest artists and meet seven Resident Artists' working in their studios including painters, a clay artist, folk art, weavers and more! The Arts Depot offers changing exhibits, classes, and meeting place for the Wednesday Morning Painters Group and Appalachian Center for Poets & Writers. Free Admission[+] Expand Details
The Arts Depot was established in 1990 as is a non-profit, community-based art gallery whose mission is to promote and support regional artists through working artist's studios and gallery exhibits and to provide educational opportunities for the community. There are three large galleries housed in a 19th century freight station. The main "Spotlight Gallery" features eight major juried exhibitions yearly, the "Members Gallery" features eight rotating exhibits of regional artists, and the "Founders Gallery" exhibits six specially selected exhibits annually. Each March a local secondary school's art students are featured and each August the entire exhibition space is devoted to the Virginia Highlands Festival Juried fine Art Show. Seven resident studio artists work in the Arts Depot in a wide range of media including watercolor, weaving, clay, jewelry, and acrylics. Their studios are open to visitors and the artists are pleased to discuss their work and offer demonstrations of their skills. All artwork created in the artists studios and in the galleries is available for purchase.
127 West Main Street
Barter Theatre- the official state theatre of Virginia.[+] Expand Details
Founded in 1933, Barter Theatre is one of the nation’s oldest professional non-profit theatres. During the height of the Great Depression, successful actor and native son Robert Porterfield returned to Southwest Virginia with an ambitious plan. He would start a professional theatre and barter theatre tickets for food. His early slogan was “With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh.”
After early success that no one could have predicted, Barter Theatre went on to thrive, gaining a national reputation as a vibrant and exciting regional theatre. Barter Theatre was named the State Theatre of Virginia, the first theatre to ever earn that designation. Many famous actors first performed at Barter Theatre before they went on to achieve fame and fortune. Barter's best known alumni include: Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, Ernest Borgnine, Hume Cronyn, Ned Beatty, Gary Collins, David Birney, and Larry Linville.
Now, more than 80 years later, Barter continues to produce a variety of musicals, classics, comedies, dramas and new southern and Appalachian plays. With two unique venues, the historic Barter main stage and the more intimate Barter Stage II, Barter Theatre offers something for everyone. See a production and learn why so many people have made Barter Theatre a tradition for 80 years.
Barter Theatre Stage II
122 Church Street
Visit Website[+] Expand Details
The Barter Theatre Stage II is right across the street from the Main Stage and brings the action up close. In this space a smaller, more intimate stage is ground level, while stadium-style seating allows for a unique viewing experience. Newer works and edgier plays are typically produced here, as well as most of the Barter Players’ shows. Barter Stage II also houses a cafe for a pre-show dinner or post-show dessert.
Bone Fire Smokehouse At The Hardware
260 West Main Street
hours: Mon-Sun- 11am-10pm
BBQ at its finest, great atmosphere, all-around great experience.[+] Expand Details
Countryside Artisan Trail
Artisan Trail featuring Abingdon, Bristol and Washington County, Virginia.[+] Expand Details
Charming downtowns with sidewalks lined with charming cafes, galleries, specialty shops, art centers, theaters and craft studios greet visitors to the friendly communities found along the Countryside Artisan Trail in Washington County and the City of Bristol. This trail offers up an eclectic collection of galleries and shops featuring traditional and contemporary work from the hands of artisans who live throughout the region. A colorful patchwork of craft opportunities include classes, exhibits, working studios, and galleries devoted to the preservation Appalachian heritage and the infusion of contemporary new world creativity. Farmers Markets and “farm to fork” restaurants dot the Artisan Trail as you discover the creative gourmet fare created with local foods. Visiting the Countryside Artisan Trail is a rich experience that will take at least one full weekend so plan to stay for several days.
Fairview Historic Homestead
908 Hillman Highway, Abingdon, VA 24210
hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; tours available by appointment on Mondays.
Fairview is a living history museum in Abingdon, Virginia. Experience the story of the Hagy family, from their migration to America to the life they created in Washington County, Virginia.[+] Expand DetailsAt Fairview Historic Homestead, learn about the Hagy family, a family whose history parallels the American experience. The Hagys were German immigrants to the American colonies, served in the War for Independence, moved to Virginia along the Great Road, and planted their roots in Washington County; their descendants were the founders of the Hagy Wagon Company. Experience what life was like for the Hagys and other nineteenth-century Southwest Virginia families. Learn about agricultural practices, from the grains and vegetables that supplied the family table to the flax that was woven into linen. Watch demonstrations of the “needle arts”—quilting, sewing, embroidery, and knitting. Take a lesson with our teacher and play popular nineteenth-century games. Discover how nineteenth-century practices from housekeeping, medicine, and cooking can be used in your home today. Free admission.
Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum
208 West Main Street
hours: TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR REPAIRS. Wednesday & Thursday 12pm-5pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm.
Come see how a middle class family lived in 1860. Free to Public. Open All Year.[+] Expand Details
NOTE: The Fields-Penn House is temporarily closed for structural repairs. Visit http://fieldspennhouse.com/ for updates and more information.
History comes to life through guided tours that interpret 19th-century life in Southwest Virginia. The home's original owners enjoyed status in the emerging middle class: the Fields in the years on the eve of the Civil War, and the Penn's in the gilded 1890s. As a brick mason and building contractor, James Fields built his home in 1860, for wife, Susan, and their eight children, in the latest American style. The family of George and Estelle Penn moved into the house in the 1890s and made it their home for 75 years. The home's historic and formal architecture is reflected in balanced Georgian proportions, an Italianate roofline with bracketed cornice and Greek Revival details at the doors and windows. Today it's an 1860 house museum, filled with period antiques. Take a guided tour and see how the Fields family lived during the 1860's.
Heartwood: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway
1 Heartwood Circle
hours: Monday - Wednesday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.[+] Expand Details
Heartwood is your gateway to Southwest Virginia craft, music, food, and local culture. Shop crafts by local artisans, juried to be the best of the best, and the most complete collection of The Crooked Road traditional old-time, bluegrass, and gospel music.
Meet artisans and musicians at live events and in interactive exhibits. Get a personal welcome to Southwest Virginia's heritage, craft, music, outdoor recreation, scenic beauty. Relax in our coffee and wine bar, featuring locally roasted coffees and regional wines – and plan your next trip. Enjoy local food prepared with upscale flair in our restaurant.
Holston Mountain Artisans
214 Park Street
hours: Spring Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm; Standard hours: Monday to Saturday, 9:30am to 5pm, Sunday, 1-5pm
Offering the finest regional arts and crafts since 1971.[+] Expand DetailsThe Holston Mountain Arts and Crafts Cooperative began in 1971 with the mission of preserving and promoting the arts and crafts heritage of our region. Now one of the oldest craft cooperatives in the country, we serve that mission well, representing the creative works of over 100 local artists. Organizers Rees Shearer and Eric Reese, supported by a group of churches and the community action agency in Washington County, Virginia, brought local craftspeople and artists together to sell their work for fair prices. Before that time, a hand-pieced quilt might sell for $35.00, an split oak basket for $10.00. Through the years, Holston Mountain Artisans has educated the public about the value of handwork and encouraged craftspeople to produce high quality traditional and contemporary work. This mission continues through our member-owned cooperative.
James E Turner Fine Art Gallery
Paintings are beautiful spiritual visions of a Gifted Psychic. Cheerful, vibrant iridescent colors change hue and shift image as viewing angle changes and as lighting varies from day to night. The paintings seem almost alive. Prices are $25 to $500[+] Expand DetailsThe lovely gallery has about five dozen paintings of various sizes. Every painting is dramatically different but of the same subject: the spirits James sees in his visions which are glowing balls of bright colors. Some are done as groups using similar color and motif yet they are sisters, not twins. No photo does justice. Many of the paintings can be seen online at: www.jameseturnerfineart.com “Wheels Within Wheels” is the title of all the paintings inspired by the writings of Ezekiel and his visions of a flaming chariot. There is a commentary on the paintings, Bio on the artist, and an occasional blog about creativity. The cozy front room is prefect to have a cup of tea and discuss Art and the Spirit Realm. Many visitors have lingered for hours encouraged to express their feelings and ideas with James. He is also a gifted Palmist using the stage name Corry entertaining visitors at no charge. www.corrythepsychic.com
JJ's Restaurant & Sports Bar
115 Charwood Drive
hours: Monday - Thursday 11:00-11:00 pm, Friday-Saturday 11:00-12:00 am, Sunday 11:00-10:00 pm
Serving a variety of foods: burgers, sandwiches, salads, seafood, steak and homemade pies.
180 East Main Street
Features a variety of unique home furnishings as well as lighting, books, gifts, and original artwork from local artists.
Paper Moon Studio
370 E. Main Street
hours: Tuesday - Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-3
Paper Moon Studio is an educational art studio, indoor creative play space, and gift shop. Please see our website for full class descriptions, schedule, and registration. Come create, play and learn!
Round the Mountain - Southwest VA's Artisan Network
Office Located at Heartwood Artisan Center
1 Heartwood Circle
Visit artisan studios, craft venues, wineries, farms, and creative points of interest along the Artisan Trails of Southwest Virginia.[+] Expand Details
See unique crafts handmade and homegrown in the blue mountains and green valleys of Southwest Virginia with Round the Mountain. Meet artisans whose creative vision reaches far beyond their studio or vineyard or gallery. Plan a trip along one of our 15 Artisan Trails, or begin your exploration at Heartwood, where you can buy juried crafts and find out more about the creative culture of Southwest Virginia.
'Round the Mountain, with offices at Heartwood in Abingdon, VA, serves as the hub for a network of more than 400 Southwest Virginia artisans and craftspeople. Our staff assists members to become better entrepreneurs, helps market their work and communicates the value of locally produced craft and food from our distinctive and authentic region.
Secret Garden Gallery
416 West Main Street
hours: Tues-Fri- 10am-6pm, Sat- 2pm-6pm
Custom framing, art gallery and open studio featuring the work of Abingdon artist Catherine Walden.[+] Expand Details
Watercolor, oils and acrylic are on display in the gallery as well as prints and originals from a line of botanical designs called The Secret Garden. Several national catalogues have featured the prints of The Secret Garden including Shaker Workshops and Plow and Hearth. The entire line is on display in the gallery.
The Gallery @ Barr Photographics
152 East Main Street
hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm or later
Frames * Arts * Gifts * Photos * Photography Services[+] Expand Details
The Gallery @ Barr Photographics is a fine art gallery featuring local regional and national artists, custom archival framing shop, photography studio and upscale gift shop serving the greater tri-cities area of Southwest VA and Upper East TN. Established in 1986, The Gallery @ Barr Photographics hosts six feature artists per year, is a purveyor in original wall art, sculpture, lithographic prints and is a producer of custom giclee canvas and paper prints. Utilizing a combined design and framing experience of over fifty years the Gallery @ Barr Photographics is equipped to handle any project large or small.
Barr Photographics also provides photography for engagements, weddings and more.
William King Museum of Art
415 Academy Drive
hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm
The William King Museum of Art is the premier visual arts facility in the region, offering outstanding fine world art, contemporary regional art and cultural heritage exhibits that change frequently, giving visitors a new experience each time they walk through the doors.[+] Expand DetailsThe William King Museum of Art leads the region as the premier visual arts facility, offering outstanding fine world art, contemporary regional art and cultural heritage exhibits that change frequently, giving visitors a new experience each time they walk through our doors. Founded in 1989 and housed in a historic 1913 former school, the William King Museum of Art has been an integral part of the cultural fabric of Southwest Virginia and beyond for over 20 years as well as a cherished destination for residents and visitors. WKMA is a non-profit art museum and Virginia’s only nationally accredited museum west of Roanoke. The William King Museum of Art is dedicated to utilizing innovative programming to engage, educate and enrich the quality of life of local residents of all ages through the arts. Our educational opportunities include artist talks, lectures, workshops, classes for adults, college students, children and families; guided and group tours, opening receptions and other special events. WKMA also offers VanGogh Outreach, an extensive arts education program that serves schools in our region outside of the facility. Our commitment to leadership, excellence and collaboration serves to foster respect and inclusiveness of all peoples that cross through our doors. In addition to our three primary galleries, two additional galleries include the Student Gallery, which displays works from area schools and colleges, and the Panoramic Gallery that features self-curated shows by local artists. These two galleries offer up to 24 exhibits a year in addition to the 9 main exhibits. The Museum also features artist studios, reference library, research archives, and an outdoor sculpture garden.
Wolf Hills Brewing
350 Park Street
hours: Mon. - Thurs. 5-9pm; Fri. 3-9pm, Sat. 1-9pm, Sun. 1-6pm
Providing fresh handmade malt beverages to Southwest Virginia and nearby areas![+] Expand DetailsWOLF HILLS BREWING CO is a craft brewery located in historic Abingdon, Virginia. Voted Best Local Craft Beer in Southwest Virginia by Virginia Living Magazine, Wolf Hills serves up delicious hand-crafted brews, along with local art on display, and a packed line-up of live music. The brewery takes its name from the original appellation that Daniel Boone gave to the wilderness that became Abingdon. Tradition holds that Boone and his hunting companion spent a sleepless night along a hill on the Great Road after their dogs encountered a pack of wolves, which had a den in a nearby cave. Drawing from this rich history, Wolf Hills Brewing CO melds together time honored brewing methods using only the highest quality ingredients with modern beer styles inspired by the wide array of fragrant hops from the Pacific-Northwest. Wolf Hills brews in small batches that are only distributed in the Virginia Highlands. The result is a level of fresh, savory beer that is unmatched in this region. Discover one of our many styles for yourself . . . you’ll be howling for more. Weekly schedule is: