Top Attractions for Group Travel
Start planning your trip with Abingdon’s top attractions for groups
There are plenty of places to shop, dine and explore in historic downtown Abingdon, but no trip is complete without a visit to these top attractions. Abingdon was named one of the best Southern small towns by USA Today in 2015. Start with these can’t miss attractions, then contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau to build your group itinerary for a day trip or overnight stay.
One of Abingdon’s oldest attractions is the legendary Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia. The theatre began in 1933 with one man’s idea to have patrons pay with produce. Now it has grown in to a year-round theatre with more than 160,000 visitors each year. During the Great Depression, many actors were literally “starving artists,” while Appalachian farmers had produce rotting in the fields, unable to sell their goods. Robert Porterfield, an enterprising young actor, returned to his native Southwest Virginia with an extraordinary proposition: local residents could barter produce from the farms and gardens of the region to gain admission to see a play. Now, over 80 years later, the theatre offers Broadway-quality theatre in two intimate venues on Abingdon’s Main Street.
Open February through December, with performances Tuesdays – Sundays each week. Group rates are available.
Location: 127 West Main Street, Abingdon, VA 24210
Website: Barter Theatre Website
The Crooked Road
Make Abingdon your home base to explore The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Experience first-hand how music is woven into the rich tapestry of tradition in Southwest Virginia. The variety is amazing – old-time string bands, a cappella gospel, blues, 300 year old ballads, bluegrass, and more. Start at Heartwood, and contact the Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau to plan the rest of your trip.
Location: 1 Heartwood Circle, Abingdon VA 24210
Website: The Crooked Road Website
Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
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 traditionalold-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 the coffee and wine bar, featuring locally roasted coffees and regional wines – and plan your next trip. Enjoy local food prepared with upscale flair in Heartwood’s restaurant.
Open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm; Thursdays open late until 9pm, Sundays 10am to 3pm.
Location: 1 Heartwood Circle, Abingdon VA 24210
Website: Heartwood Website
Historic Downtown District
Abingdon’s tree-lined brick sidewalks and two centuries of architecture make the downtown district a great place to shop, dine, or sightsee. Head to the Market District for eclectic shopping and crafts. In these brick storefronts you’ll find indie shops selling gifts, antiques and edible delights. Around the corner, visit the Abingdon Farmers Market, open every Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning during the growing season. The Theatre District is anchored by two grand old buildings, Barter Theatre and The Martha Washington Inn & Spa, directly across the street. Next to The Martha is Barter Stage II. On Courthouse Hill, you’ll find a collection of stylish boutiques, home decor, wine and gifts, as well as several of Abingdon’s oldest buildings, including The Tavern restaurant, originally constructed in 1779, and rumored to have hosted President Andrew Jackson and Louis Philippe, King of France.
Location: There are multiple drop off points for motorcoach travelers. Contact the Abingdon CVB for more information, including a walking tour and shopping guide.
Historic White’s Mill
Visit this working water-powered mill for a glimpse of the past, then drop by the Mercantile to pick up a bag of stone-ground cornmeal or grits, as well as crafts from local artisans, and essential southern treats like a cold root beer and a Moonpie. The Virginia and National Registries of Historic Places listed White’s Mill in 1974, recognizing the importance of its structure and heritage. White’s Mill has long served the neighboring community. Since the late 18th century, the mill provided meal and flour for the farm and kitchen, as well as a gathering place for sharing news and views.Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Closed January – March.
Location: 12291 Whites Mill Road, Abingdon, VA 24210
Website: Historic White’s Mill Website
Arts and Crafts
Explore one Abingdon’s many art venues. William King Museum of Art showcases fine arts from Appalachia and around the world, with rotating exhibits in multiple galleries. Holston Mountain Artisans and Heartwood highlight the best of regional crafts, including woodworking, quilts, jewelry, baskets, and more. At the Arts Depot, visit with artists in their studios and watch them at work, then browse the galleries of local art.