Historic Charm

Explore America's past in Abingdon, VA (3 Days)

In Abingdon, you don't just learn about history, you experience it. 

Abingdon traces its roots to the mid 1700s, when the area known as "Black's Fort" became the first English speaking settlement in the watershed of the Mississippi. Abingdon acquired another nickname around the same time, from a well-known explorer. In 1760 Daniel Boone, on his first expedition to Kentucky, camped at the southern base of present-day Courthouse Hill.  Legend has it that his dogs were attacked by wolves appearing from a cave near the hill's crest, and so Boone named the area "Wolf Hills." 

Immerse yourself in America's history without ever cracking a book, during a three-day getaway to charming Abingdon, VA.

Main Street exterior - The Bank - credit Jason Barnette

Day One

Check-in to the Martha Washington Inn & Spa. Built in 1862 as a private home, The Martha has served as a finishing school, a Civil War hospital and a women’s college. For dinner, head downstairs to Sister's at The Martha for upscale casual dining experience. Then sit on front porch for a relaxing evening of conversation.

Then take in a show at the historic Barter Theatre. Originally built as a church in 1829, Robert Porterfield opened it up as a theatre during the Great Depression for patrons to “barter” for tickets with produce and food goods. Now with a resident company of professional actors, the theatre delights 160,000 patrons a year between their two stages.

Barter History
Founder Robert Porterfield coined Barter's first slogan, "Trading Ham for Hamlet."

Day Two

After breakfast, stroll down Main Street towards the Abingdon Arts Depot - a historic railroad depot that houses working artisan studios.

Visit the William King Museum of Art for rotating exhibits of traditional and contemporary Appalachian art and artifacts. Housed in a former 1913 school, this museum is the only nationally accredited museum west of Roanoke, Virginia.

Abingdon is home to The Abingdon Muster Grounds, the location where a volunteer militia mustered September 24, 1780, before joining the Revolutionary War. A magnificent exhibit will show you what life was like in those days for the troops and their families.

The Muster Grounds are also the start of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. This trail follows the path of brave volunteers who mustered in Abingdon to begin their journey to Kings Mountain, SC, where they defeated the British army in one of the Revolution’s decisive battles.

Head back to The Martha to freshen up before you walk to The Tavern for dinner. Located in the oldest building in town, this upscale dining experience comes complete with hand-crafted cocktails and moss on the roof.

The Tavern exterior - credit Jason Barnette
The Tavern in Abingdon, VA was originally constructed in 1779.
Episcopal church on Main Street downtown Abingdon - credit Jason Barnette
St. Thomas Episcopal Church is one of Abingdon's most photographed churches

Day 3

Visit White's Mill, a historic grist mill dating back to the 1700s.  Tour the mill, learn about restoration efforts, and then shop for locally ground grits and cornmeal at the Mercantile next door. 

Take a self-guided walking tour of downtown's historic buildings (map available at the Abingdon Visitor Center). In the 20-block historic district, you'll find architecture from the 18th, 19th and 20th Century. Almost the entire downtown is listed on the National Register for Historic Places, and as soon as you step foot on the hand-laid brick sidewalks, you'll see why.  Stroll through three centuries of history, and learn the fascinating stories behind Abingdon's architecture.  

View the Self-Guided Walking Tour

If you prefer a guided tour of Abingdon history, consider a walking tour with History Alive Tours.  Meet characters from Abingdon's history, like Rev. Charles Cummings, The Fightin’ Parson, or George Thomasson, drummer with militia at the Battle of Kings Mountain.  

Muster Grounds Overmountain Men reenactor credit unknown
The Martha Bedroom Jb0357


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