One of the first things my husband did to introduce me to my new Southwest Virginia home, a little over four years ago, was to treat me to a night at The Martha complete with drinks at The Tavern, dinner at The House on Main, and Othello at The Barter. It was prom weekend in Abingdon, so romance was in the air. To say it was magical would be an understatement.
I had no idea this treasure of a town existed, and it will always hold a special place in my heart because of that weekend. We started our stay with a stroll along The Virginia Creeper Trail, which remains one of my favorite respites to this day. I go there every chance I get for the scenery, the quiet, the exercise.
We dolled ourselves up to blend in with the prom crowd (right!) and walked the few blocks over to The Tavern for a glass of wine before retracing our steps to dinner.
Then, we settled into The Barter Stage II for a world-class performance of the production I was seeing for the first time. The cast, whom I have come to respect and admire over time for their stage presence and versatility, would have made even Shakespeare himself proud.
Heartwood, where I now hang my professional hat, was not open at the time, having just celebrated its first anniversary last month, but has since become Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway and a must-see for any excursion along the I-81 corridor. All bias aside, you’ll find over 25,000 juried `Round the Mountain artisan crafts — everything from handmade dulcimers to hand-spun textiles and handcrafted, showroom worthy furnishings — all made right here, by hand, by the artisans, luthiers (I had no idea what this was before moving here), and entrepreneurs of the 19 counties and 4 cities of Southwest Virginia.
Heartwood is so well-done that it’s often mistaken for a museum, but make no mistake, everything here is for sale. There’s also live, traditional music emanating from the region’s celebrated Crooked Road every Thursday night, as well as Chef Barry Boothe’s daily lunch creations, Thursday Night BBQ, Virginia Coast Friday Night Seafood Buffet, and Farm Fresh Sunday Gospel Brunch, all sourced straight from Southwest Virginia farms, albeit the seafood.
Take a minute to enter the Explore Abingdon Sweepstakes for a taste of everything Abingdon has to offer. You could win a night at The Martha, lunch at Heartwood, and 2 tickets to The Barter. You have until October 1 to enter and between November 1 and the end of the year to visit, making for the perfect holiday getaway/shopping excursion. To whet your appetite even more, Barter will be featuring the holiday classic, A Christmas Story, as well as everything from Tarzan The Stage Musical to Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Goose.
Enter now by clicking here. Today could be your lucky day!
Karen Quina-Doyle | Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
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