Destination Vacation: Exploring the Town of Abingdon

Destination Vacation

ABINGDON, Va (WJHL) – If you’re looking for a getaway that will have you head over heels for the food on your plate, the art you’re taking in and the history you’re walking through, then Abingdon, Virginia is just the spot for you.

A great day in the town can start with a great cup of coffee, which one restaurant says starts with a great bean. The Girl and The Raven is new to Abingdon, but it’s already making its name known among locals and visitors alike.

“With all of the restaurants that closed during COVID, this was a restaurant that would not have opened if it weren’t for COVID,” said owners of The Girl and The Raven, Hugh and Julie Belcher.

The Belchers say they opened the coffee shop after their daughter and son-in-law moved home from Manhattan during the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, it’s one of 15 new businesses to open in Abingdon since the start of the pandemic.

Now, The Girl and The Raven is hoping to bring something new to the region.

“We wanted to do something different, just like our coffee’s different,” said Hugh Belcher. “We also have a scratch kitchen where we make all of our pastries and everything from scratch every morning.” When visiting The Girl and The Raven make sure to also check out their dinner and bar menu; both are sure to impress visitors as well.

Once you’re done there, head over to the nationally accredited William King Museum of Art, where the exhibits are varied and free!

Besty White, Director of the William King Museum of Art, says the museum has “five exhibitions at any one time and they always change. Our slogan is never the same museum so that there’s always something different to see.”

And for any budding artists, there’s the brand new “Art Lab” in the Annex.

“It is for high school, college and adult audiences, all types of classes, workshops, as well as working studios. It’s sort of an artist incubator, if you would,” White said.

If you need to move around a bit, you can take a ride on the 34.4-mile-long Virginia Creeper Trail. The activity is sure to help you build up an appetite, which is a good thing as there are plenty of places to eat. The most popular portion of the trail being the 17 miles from White Top to Damascus. Check out our Trail Team 11 below to see that full biking adventure!

“We were the 2019, 2020 USA Today ‘Best Small-Town Food Scene,’ so we’re very excited about all that we have to offer,” said Tonya Triplett, Director of Economic Development and Tourism.

One fan-favorite is Peppermill, where owner and president Mitzie Smith says you must try, “Our curried mushroom soup with orange marmalade, and I’ve had people offer me money to get the recipe, and I have to tell them that I don’t know it because the chef won’t tell me because I talk too much.”

You can also check out the historic Tavern, which was built in 1779. Originally an overnight inn for stagecoaches then a Civil War hospital, The Tavern now claims to be America’s eighth oldest bar, while wowing guests with fine dining.

Then, end the day at the Barter Theater, the State Theater of Virginia. All shows are at the nearby Moonlight Drive Inn for the moment, but plans are in the works to re-open the actual theater by the Christmas season.

“We bring 145,000 people into the town every year, and we’re able to tell the stories of Appalachia, the authentic real stories of this place, along with the best of Broadway,” says Katy Brown, the Producing Artistic Director at Barter Theater .

So from the food, to the art, to the activities, Abingdon has something for everyone.

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