I’ve written this week about the Virginia Creeper Trail and Damascus and today I’m continuing with the love for southwest Virginia! Unlike the other two which I’ve visited several times, this weekend was my first ever trip to Abingdon. I didn’t get to do as much as I would have wanted, so part of this post is planning my next trip which will be in June!
If you bike the entire 34 miles of the Virginia Creeper Trail, you will start in White Top and end in Abingdon. The same as Damascus, Abingdon has several options for shuttles that will take you and your bike to White Top. I haven’t been on the Abingdon portion of the trail, but I’m sure it’s just as beautiful as the rest.
Our day in Abingdon involved meeting at the historic Martha Washington Inn in the heart of downtown. While we waited for the whole group to arrive we walked around the Inn and through the gardens. When originally built is 1832 this remarkable building was a private home before selling in 1858 to become a girl’s college. Martha Washington College survived until 1932 when it closed its doors. In 1935 they opened again as a hotel and it has remained a hotel ever since, although with many different owners.
We camped out on their front porch for most of the day, just rotating who was exploring the town, antique shopping, or napping upstairs.
We all had lunch at 128 Pecan just a few blocks from the hotel. We were lucky enough to walk in with a group of 13 and not only get a table right away, but we had a private room to spread out in! I had a crab cake burger with a caesar salad and it was great.
After lunch the nappers in the group headed upstairs to rest and the shoppers headed down to the art and antique stores. I’m not really a shopper, much less an antique shopper, so I just went along for the social aspect of the trip.
We walked through several stores, my favorite being the Glass Peacock, Inc. where we saw local artisans working on their stained glass pieces. If I find myself in Abingdon for a few days with no children, I will check out some of the classes they offer.
Several of the ”antique” stores were more like modern gift shops with a few antiques thrown in, but I did see a lot of Virginia Tech gear (go Hokies!) My grandmother, the most serious antiquer in the group, recommends Foxgloves Antiques & etc. as the best shop we visited. The Abingdon Antique Mall is also supposed to be good, but it is a few miles away and we did not visit.
I actually missed out on Foxgloves because I took a break across the street at Anthony’s Desserts. It was a good fit, because what I don’t know about antiques I make up for in exceptional dessert knowledge 😉 They had a beautiful and tempting display and we sampled their butterscotch pie, it was delicious. My Father-in-Law also raved about their espresso.
We missed visiting the Arts Depot by 15 minutes, but I’ve heard it’s great and I’m looking forward to visiting it this summer.
I’m also looking for a babysitter in June so Chris and I can attend a show at the Barter Theatre, ”The State Theatre of Virginia” which originally opened as a place where farmers could barter for tickets with livestock or produce. Considering the size and remoteness of Abingdon, they get really good shows here!
After a show we are definitely going to The Tavern for drinks and/or dinner. It was opened in 1779 and it’s not often you find an American building that old still operating as originally intended! I would try this place for the history, even if the food wasn’t good, but it actually has very decent yelps!
So that’s what we did and are planning to do. Anything else we need to add to our June itinerary?