Abingdon, Virginia

Rejoin The Crooked Road in Abingdon to meet Appalachia’s European relations. Abingdon’s founding in 1778 as the oldest English-speaking town west of the Blue Ridge Mountains (named for first First Lady Martha Washington’s ancestral English home) translates today as brick walkways, preserved architecture and a refined arts scene. Barter Theatre claims sufficient distinguished alumni and weekly events (musical performances, plays by a resident repertory company) to occupy two Main Street spaces. William King Museum rotates fine and contemporary regional art exhibits with cultural heritage collections (pop ’round during First Thursday, when complimentary trolley rides link the museum to Abingdon galleries, shops and cafés). Heartwood gives a solid orientation to southwest Virginia’s music and artisan heritage trails (literally – you’ll find ample road-tripping resources amid music CDs; a restaurant, wine and coffee bar; and handcrafts from quilts to baskets). But don’t leave without a chat – ’Round the Mountain juried artisans who sell their work at Heartwood often demonstrate, and offer lessons on, their crafts. (In case you plan your trip to Abingdon in August, don’t miss the Appalachian arts-and-crafts blowout that is the Virginia Highlands Festival.)