Founded in 1778, steeped in history, Abingdon is distinguished by no fewer than twenty blocks of 200-year-old examples of National and Federal styles of architecture. More remarkable, perhaps, it is one of those rare places in America that has somehow managed to preserve not only an elegant architectural heritage, but a cultural one as well.
During the 1930s, Robert Porterfield, a native of Virginia, pursued an acting career in New York City. When he returned to Virginia, he settled in Abingdon, bringing 33 other actors with him. Here, they bartered their performances for produce, livestock and other goods brought by local people. Many of the biggest names of stage and screen have appeared on the Barter stage including Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Ned Beatty and Patricia Neal.
An affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Center features four museum-standard galleries, working studios for artists and a variety of regional art initiatives.
Heartwood is the gateway to Southwest Virginia craft, food and local culture. Get a personal welcome to the area’s heritage, craft, music, outdoor recreation and scenic beauty. Heartwood is located just off I-81 at Exit 14 in Abingdon.
The town's 20-block Historic District includes more than 30 structures which pre-date 1900, at least six of which were constructed during the 1700s. Walking tours along the town's brick sidewalks are available.
The popular Creeper Trail originates just off Main Street and follows the former rail bed of the Virginia-Carolina Railroad for 34 miles. The trail, with 100 trestles and bridges, sharp curves and steep grades, acquired its name from the early steam locomotives that crept up the steep grades from Abingdon to Elkland, N. C.
Abingdon is proud of its rich culture and history. The Highlands Festival, created to celebrate and preserve the cultural heritage of the area, is one of the top 100 tourist events in North America and attracts more than 200,000 people every August.