Things to Do - Regional Attractions

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwest Virginia.

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwest Virginia.

Make Abingdon your hub as you explore the back roads of Southwest Virginia.


Southwest Virginia logoSouthwest Virginia
is filled with magical sights and sounds. The winding country roads and rugged, unspoiled scenery offer unforgettable scenic drives by automobile or motorcycle. Amid the beauty of the mountains are several picturesque small towns, each with a unique personality and history.

While the forests may be teeming with wildlife and the rivers abundant with trophy fish, the hills are certainly alive with the sound of music. Southwest Virginia is the birthplace of traditional mountain music. The Birthplace of Country Music Museum and The Carter Family Fold are among the dozens of sites worth seeing along The Crooked Road – Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.

Whether you’re headed out to explore the trails, towns or back roads of Southwest Virginia, Abingdon is the perfect place to begin and end your day. Enjoy great accommodations and delicious food.

Visit MySWVA.org to hear about some of Southwest Virginia’s best-kept secrets.

  • Appalachian Trail

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    Virginia is home to 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail, more miles than any other state.

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    Abingdon was designated as an Appalachian Trail Community™ through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 2012. The trail intersects with the Virginia Creeper Trail and runs through Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

    In partnership with Front Royal and Waynesboro, Abingdon developed the Virginia Appalachian Trail Towns Smart Phone application which is available for free through Itunes and GooglePlay.

    Download the app before heading out on your journey. No need to worry about internet access- you can have VA Trail Towns Appall the towns’ resources in the palm of your hand without worrying about your smart phones connection while on the AT. The Virginia Appalachian Trail Towns app offers information about Virginia towns located along the Appalachian Trail. Hiker Resources available in these towns are highlighted with the following categories: Hiker Resources, Events, Local Businesses, Outdoor Recreation, and Packages & Itineraries. This app is a must have for any hiker, day or thru, that wants to explore the Virginia section of the Appalachian Trail and the towns supporting those hikers.

  • Aviators Unlimited

    p: 276-614-0412
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    Sight seeing and thrill rides in a bi-plane or Piper J3 Cub.

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    See and enjoy the beauty of the sky and the excitement in the Cockpit of a Biplane or the low and slow flight in a Piper J3  Cub. Cruising at 60 mph through the air makes everything move in slow motion so you can take in all of the beauty the  ground and sky has to offer.

    Want the "THRILL" of your life? Take a Aerobatic "Thrill Instructional flight" in a Pitts Aerobatic Biplane or Extra 300 Monoplane. You will fly the airplane with the aide of an Experienced and Skilled Instructor from "Mild to Wild"!

    Sightseeing plane rides and thrill rides available by appointment only.

  • Blue Ridge Highlands Fishing Trail

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    A web resource for fresh water fishing in Smyth, Wythe, Washington and Grayson Counties in the Blue Ridge Highlands of Virginia. 

  • Bristol Motor Speedway

    151 Speedway Blvd., Bristol, Tennessee

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    In 2011, Bristol Motor Speedway celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

    Following the March 2012 Food City 500, Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith responded to the increasing fan expression of opinions regarding they style of racing at Bristol Motor Speedway. The main focus of the reaction concentrated specifically on the races since the track resurfacing project in 2007.

    After 10 days of listening to fan feeback, Mr. Smith announced changes would be made. April 25, joined by Speedway Motorsports President Marcus Smith, BMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Caldwell and all-time Bristol win leader Darrell Waltrip, Mr. Smith announced the banking in the upper groove of the race track would be reduced to the same degree as the middle of the surface. The project was designed to eliminate the third groove as a viable option and create tighter racing.

    Construction, or destruction, of the surface took nearly seven weeks. June 12 and 13 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company engineers conducted a test of the new surface with NASCAR starts Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart, former Bristol winners all.

  • Countryside Artisan Trail

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    Artisan Trail featuring Abingdon, Bristol and Washington County, Virginia.

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    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.

  • Crooked Road- Virginia's Heritage Music Trail

    Inside Heartwood Aritsan Center

    One Heartwood Circle

    p: 276-492-2085
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    Explores Virginia's mountain regions and the rich heritage of the mountain people, focusing on their traditional.

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    Visit more than 92 attractions, 244 outdoor recreation sites and enjoy tons of music alongside the Crooked Road. Virginia's Heritage Music Trail follows the region's music history along Route 58 in Southwest Virginia. Other highlights of the Crooked Road include Appalachian crafts and coal mining heritage. Early ethnic groups that settled in these regions included the Cherokee Indians, the Melungeons (Portugese, Native American and African-American), the Germans and Scots-Irish.

  • Damascus

    p: 276-475-3831
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    Small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and is the gateway to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

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    For a fun day-trip from Abingdon, visit the town of Damascus, known as Trail Town USA. This outdoorsy small town is located at the intersection of the Virginia Creeper Trail and the Appalachian Trail. 

    It is traversed by the Appalachian Trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail, the Trans-America National Bicycle Trail, the Iron Mountain Trail, the Daniel Boone Heritage Trail, the Crooked Road Musical Heritage Trail, Virginia's Birding and Wildlife Trail, and lies within a short distance of hundreds of miles of other hiking, horse, and biking trails.

    Bike to Damascus on the Virginia Creeper Trail, or take a quick 20 minute drive to the town.

    Damascus was once the timber center. Old log roads, and railroad beds (Virginia Creeper Trail) offer biking, hiking, and horse trails. Crossed by white water trout streams, Damascus is the gateway to Mount Rogers National Recreation area.

     

  • Dreamland Alpacas

    13050 Bell Lane, Meadowview, VA 24361

    p: 276-494-6798
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    Nestled in the mountains of the outskirts of Abingdon, in Meadowview, is our little piece of heaven that we share with approximately sixty alpacas. We are open to visitors who are welcome to meet and greet these beautiful creatures.

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    Come and experience what can be created from their luxurious fiber at Dreamland Alpacas. All while admiring their gentle nature. This is an opportunity that can be enjoyed by young and old.

    We have established a farm store on our property. We have many items available for sale that have been produced from the fiber of our alpacas. Some of the items available include socks, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, yarn, roving and raw fiber just to name a few. Our inventory is always expanding.  Items can be custom made in the style and color of your choice.

  • Grayson Highlands State Park

    Mouth of Wilson, VA

    829 Grayson Highlands Lane

    p: 276-579-7092, 1-800-933-PARK
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    "You'll feel like you are on top of the world here"

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    This mountain park is next to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest. Grayson Highlands State Park was originally named Mount Rogers State Park and was established in 1965. Pets are allowed in the park but not allowed inside public facilities including the bathhouses, visitor center and office.

  • Heartwood: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway

    1 Heartwood Circle

    p: 276-492-2400
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    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.

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    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 Heartwoodold-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.

     

  • Round the Mountain - Southwest VA's Artisan Network

    Office Located at Heartwood Artisan Center

    1 Heartwood Circle

    p: 276-492-2408
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    Visit artisan studios, craft venues, wineries, farms, and creative points of interest along the Artisan Trails of Southwest Virginia.

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    HeartwoodSee 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.

  • The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

    520 Birthplace of Country Music Way, Bristol VA 24201

    p: (423) 573-1927
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    hours: uesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Christmas and Thanksgiving

    The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, explores the history of the 1927 Bristol Sessions and their lasting impact on our music heritage. From the Bristol Sessions and beyond, our region continues to influence music around the world.

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    The 24,000-square foot museum is located at 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way in Historic Downtown Bristol. Through text and artifacts, multiple theater experiences, film and sound, and interactive, technology-infused displays – along with a variety of educational programs, music programs, and community events --  the exciting story of this music and its far-reaching influence comes alive! Rotating exhibitions from guest curators and other institutions, including the Smithsonian, will be featured throughout the year in the Special Exhibits Gallery. The museum will also be home to an extensive digital archive.

  • The Wilderness Road: Virginia's Heritage Migration Route

    Throughout Virginia

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    Primary route taken by early settlers to the Blue Ridge Highlands and Heart of Appalachia regions of Virginia.

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    The Wilderness Road is an epic story of the early migration and settlement of early America.

  • Virginia Creeper Trail

    Abingdon Trailhead is on Pecan Street

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    "The most scenic bike ride you will ever encounter"

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    Virginia Creeper Trail

    The Virginia Creeper Trail is open to hiking, jogging, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The former rail bed passes through the beautiful back country of Southwest Virginia.

    Forty seven trestles and bridges provide scenic views of the region's creeks, farmland, and mountain forests. The Virginia Creeper Trail is rich in beauty and regional history. From the trail head right in the historic district of Abingdon, VA, it stretches 35 miles through the trail town of Damascus, VA, and up to the North Carolina State Line near Whitetop, VA.

    Bike rentals and shuttle arrangements can be made at the the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop. Adventures that will leave long lasting memories for your friends and family await.