Home > VA > Abingdon > Where to Live Now > 7 Reasons to Move to Washington County, VA

7 Reasons to Move to Washington County, VA

Here's why you'll fall in love with living and working in this Southwest Virginia gem.

By Lindsey Hyde on March 2, 2023

Backbone Rock Recreation Area in Virginia
Lynne Harty

Thanks to its beautiful outdoor landscape, friendly people, bustling shops, phenomenal arts, and a flourishing food and drink scene, Washington County, Virginia, boasts an allure unlike any other.

It’s a place where people feel drawn to stop – especially those traveling the Appalachian Trail – and when they do, they are more than pleased with their decision.

Ready to find out what all the fuss is about? Here’s a few reasons why you should consider visiting or making a move to Washington County.

1. Enjoy Planting Roots in These Scenic Cities

Scenic cities and towns are commonplace in Washington County. USA Today listed Abingdon among its 10 Best Southern Small Towns and MSN Lifestyle ranked Abingdon among America’s 20 Most Charming Small Towns. The Wall Street Journal and Where to Retire both recognized Abingdon as a top retirement destination.

Also gracing Washington County are the picturesque communities of Damascus, Glade Spring, Meadowview, Mendota and Saltville. And you can afford to live here, too! The typical home value in Abingdon is a reasonable $237,800 and in Damascus is $172,400 (Zillow, January 2023).

2. Get Ready to Celebrate

Washington County knows how to throw parties. One of the biggest celebrations is the Virginia Highlands Festival. The event celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023 and will be held July 21-30. Celebrating its 74th anniversary in 2023 is the Washington County Fair, which takes place every September.

Other fun activities include Trail Days, Plumb Alley Day, Writers & Readers Day and the Washington County Antique Fair & Flea Market.

Appalachian Heritage Distillery in Damascus, VA
Lynne Harty

3. Sip Your Way Through this Vibrant Region

Coffee, wine, liquor – no matter what kind of beverage you’re feeling, Washington County has an establishment just waiting to put a mug or glass in your hand. Caffeine lovers frequent Wolf Hills Coffee, a small-batch coffee roaster that serves up some pretty fine drip coffee, cold brew, and a collection of hot and iced espresso drinks. Visitors love to pair their beverages with one of the shop’s bagels or pastries, which are sourced from local bakeries.

For those who prefer something a little stronger, the county is home to Abingdon Vineyards and Appalachian Heritage Distillery. The winery, which has nine grape varieties planted on 13 acres, offers a wide selection of delicious whites, reds and rosés. As for Appalachian Heritage, the distillery produces high-quality vodka, gin, bourbon and rye. Plus, it’s often a place where guests can find great live music.

“One of the things people comment the most on is the building itself,” says Tyler Irving, manager of the distillery. “This building is very early 1900s. It’s been a lot of different things over the years. … It has a very cool speakeasy vibe to it since we’ve put our touch on it.”

4. Satisfy Your Cravings for Supreme Cuisine

There is no other way to put it – Washington County restaurants do not disappoint when it comes to food. In need of a hearty breakfast?

Check out Damascus Diner or Mojo’s Trailside Café and Coffee, both in Damascus. The diner whips up classics like waffles, pancakes, eggs, and biscuits and gravy. As for Mojo’s, its menu features offerings like giant cinnamon rolls, shrimp and grits, and bagels.

Lighter options, like fresh smoothies and acai bowls, can be found at the Blended Pedaler in Bristol and Abingdon. Two popular eateries in Abingdon are Greeko’s Grill & Café and Rendezvous International Café, both owned by Mustafa Ahmed. Greeko’s serves authentic Greek cuisine (its pita is a must-try). Rendezvous offers up savory and sweet crepes, and omelet platters, among other things. Another Abingdon favorite is Mamma Mia, where tasty Italian dishes like pasta, pizza and stromboli are served.

For something more upscale, enjoy a splendid evening at Sisters, located at the elegant and historic Martha Washington Inn & Spa. Also, Foresta in Abingdon offers an eclectic food menu and craft cocktails.

“We strive to always have a fun atmosphere. We never want to be stuffy at all,” says Zane Triplett, the restaurant’s owner. “There’s not a better cocktail in town. There’s not another unique space like this in town.”

Abingdon Arts Depot
Jeff Adkins

5. Immerse Yourself in the Arts

In addition to drink and dining venues, Washington County has a flourishing arts scene that visitors love. An art supply store called Spot of Color holds several classes, such as drawing and wreath making, that allow individuals to get their creative juices flowing.

And at The Arts Depot, guests can enjoy three gorgeous galleries and interact with seven resident artists in their working studios.

As for those who love the performing arts, a show at Barter Theatre or Emory & Henry College’s McGlothlin Center for the Arts (MCA) is a must.

Barter Theatre first opened its doors in 1933 and remains a key part of the community. As for the MCA, its serves as the college’s home for visual and performing arts. Here, visitors can enjoy a show at one of its two theaters and check out its beautiful gallery, which presents a series of artists’ work throughout the year.

“It provides the traveler with a deeper understanding of the cultural appreciation and the artistic appreciation that this region has,” says Dirk Moore, executive director of the MCA.

6. Score an Excellent Education Here

The area offers the high-ranking K-12 Washington County Public Schools. Cornerstone Christian Academy in Abingdon is a classical, nondenominational Christian school.

Higher education institutions in the region include Emory & Henry College and Virginia Highlands Community College. And on the VHCC campus is the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, which allows students to pursue programs and degrees from participating colleges and universities such as Emory & Henry, Old Dominion, Radford, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth and Virginia Tech.

Shoppers walk along East Laurel Avenue in Damascus.
Lynne Harty

7. Go Shopping in the Region’s Dynamic Downtowns

Shoppers, have your credit or debit card ready because there are plenty of interesting places to visit in Washington County. A unique collection of local retailers includes Abingdon Olive Oil Co., A Likely Yarn, Kiser Furniture Co., Shady Business and The Pinnacle.

Staff writer Kevin Litwin contributed to this article.

Array ( [0] => 149567 [1] => 149559 [2] => 153027 [3] => 153012 )
Array ( )
Array ( )
Array ( [0] => 149567 [1] => 149559 [2] => 153027 [3] => 153012 )

More To Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Keep up to date with our latest rankings and articles!
Enter your email to be added to our mailing list.