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Seeking a Small-Town Vibe? Consider This Hidden Gem in Virginia

Here are six reasons why you should consider moving to Abington and Washington County right now.

By Kevin Litwin on January 10, 2022

Abingdon Vineyards
Sarah Laughland

From its small-town environment – think friendly neighbors, support, space to explore and privacy – to its affordable cost of living, great job opportunities, friendly, artistic vibe, and slew of activities, everyone can “find their fit” in Washington County.

Let’s explore six of the advantages that are not only keeping people in the region, but also encouraging them to relocate to Abingdon and Washington County.

1. You can afford to live here.

Living in Washington County is budget-friendly. The overall cost of living in Washington County is 14.7% below the national average, and housing comes in at about 37% below the national average. In August 2021, the median home price was $170,911.

2. You can score a great education.

Washington County is home to the Washington County Public School District, which serves approximately 7,000 students, while Cornerstone Christian Academy in Abingdon is a nondenominational Christian school for children in preschool through 12th grade.

As for those looking for higher education opportunities, the county boasts Emory & Henry College, a private liberal arts college, and Virginia Highlands Community College.

Also, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, located in Abingdon, is the first multiple college and university institution of higher education in the Commonwealth. It partners with public and private colleges and universities to provide degree programs, certificates and professional development courses. In addition, the center accommodates hundreds of community events annually.

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3. You’ll love the local shopping scene.

Washington County offers residents a number of local shops and antique stores to peruse. A few local favorites include Abingdon Olive Oil Co., A Likely Yarn, Goodman Jewelers, Greer Jewelers, Kiser Furniture Co., sporting goods store Mahoney’s of Abingdon, lamp shade supplier Shady Business and Southern Shoe Connection.

In nearby Bristol, The Pinnacle is a destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.

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Richie Pruitt

4. There’s so much to explore outdoors.

With outdoor attractions like South Holston Lake and South Fork Holston River, water-lovers can enjoy everything from kayaking and canoeing to swimming and fishing. Plus, hikers and bikers can explore destinations like the Virginia Creeper Trail, Mendota Trail and Salt Trail, to name a few.

“The Salt Trail currently spans about 1 mile in Glade Spring and about 8 miles in Saltville, and both towns are partnering to make improvements on each side,” says Cecile Rosenbaum, town manager of Glade Spring. “In Glade Spring, we want to eventually extend the Salt Trail all the way into our downtown to the town square.”

Rosenbaum says both communities are pursuing grant opportunities to make the pathway a true experience, eventually leading to bike shops, picnic shelters, campgrounds and more.

“With the Virginia Creeper Trail kind of getting overpopulated, the Salt Trail is a good alternative for hikers and bikers,” she says. “The Salt Trail is fairly flat, and we plan to eventually construct a parking lot where horse trailers can park for people who like horseback trail riding.”

5. Weekends will be filled with fun.

Washington County residents know how to have fun. In fact, the area hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the Virginia Highlands Festival and Writer’s Day, Trail Days in Damascus, Washington County Antique Fair & Flea Market and Plumb Alley Day. Plus, if you are a fan of farmers markets, you can find one in Damascus, Glade Spring and Abingdon.

“Washington County offers a great quality of life,” says David McLeish, manager of Abingdon Farmers Market. “I live in Meadowview and moved to Washington County in 2002 from Massachusetts. I like the four seasons, friendly people, hiking, fishing, museums, plays and so much more.”

6. Get your fill of delicious dishes and drinks.

When you are hungry or just looking for a place to grab a drink and catch up with a friend, Washington County offers several options. A few favorites among residents include 128 Pecan, Abingdon Vineyards, Barberitos Abingdon, Papa Tom’s Cajun Persuasion, Damascus Diner, Foresta, Greeko’s Grill & Café, JJ’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, Macado’s, Mojo’s Trailside Café & Coffee House, The Peppermill, Sarah Jean’s Eatery, The Hidden Gem Cafe, White Birch Juice Co. and Wolf Hills Coffee, among others.

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