For Joyce Ferratt, born and raised in Abingdon, her hometown is more than favorite memories – it’s a place bursting with arts, theater, music, nature, education, great shopping and a history that sets it apart.
“We have a wonderful, wonderful town,” says Ferratt, who operates the Shepherd’s Joy bed-and-breakfast with her husband, Jack, in the 1910 Queen Anne country home she grew up in. “People care about each other here.”
Abingdon for Everybody
That kind of personal warmth radiates to others, too, and has helped make Abingdon an outstanding destination for visitors, whether they come for the area’s unique outdoor recreation and scenery or for the pleasures of in-town life.
“There is something for everybody in Abingdon,” says Town of Abingdon marketing and social media coordinator Tenille Montgomery, another native.
For starters, she says, specialty shopping is abundant, from ladies' clothing and accessories to antiques and collectibles. Holston Mountain Artisans, a cooperative of local artists and craftsmen, sells work in a variety of media. The Abingdon Olive Oil Company – “a must,” says Ferratt – offers dozens of oils and vinegars, which you can taste on-site. For ladies, Vagabond Trader, Forget Me Not and All About Her feature boutique clothing and accessories.
Want an Elvis-themed cupcake? The Babycakes Cupcakery has you covered. Rain Restaurant will serve you a memorable meal. And farm-to-table dishes utilizing the best from local growers are the star at House on Main, where the shrimp and local grits will delight you. Montgomery recommends a stop at the Wolf Hills Brewing Company on Park Street, where you can sample their new Overmountain Victory brew.
Abingdon for Outdoorsmen
For outdoor lovers, Abingdon has become legendary for its birding, fishing, and hiking and biking trails, among them the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and the world-famous Virginia Creeper Trail, which attracts more than 200,000 annual users.
“People have described this as some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere, with farmlands, mountains, forest,” Montgomery says. “We’ve had people come to hike and decide to move here.”
An equally big draw is the city’s booming arts scene, from the Barter Theatre, which has been presenting outstanding professional theater since 1933, to the popular concert series in Latture Park from May to September. Special events are another Abingdon signature, and a huge draw for visitors, Ferratt says.
“Things like the Virginia Highlands Festival in July and August bring people in from everywhere,” she says. “We have workshops, antiques, concerts, arts and crafts shows, nature walks. All kind of things. It’s been going on for more than 60 years now – we love it.”
Retire in Style
With its cultural life, many activities, low cost of living and convenient location, Abingdon has become an increasingly popular place to retire, Ferratt says. The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, which allows students to pursue degrees at a number of institutions without leaving Abingdon, is of particular interest, she says, as is the College for Older Adults, which offers lifelong learners popular six-week sessions in everything from car repair and computers to opera and history.
“My husband goes every time the door is open,” she says.
Discover more reasons why Abingdon, VA is a great place to live.