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Just 7 miles from The Emory House sits the historic Barter Theater, Virginia’s oldest State Theater. Having derived it’s name from the economic hard times during and after the Great Depression, patrons frequently bartered their ticket to the theater for such things as vegetables, eggs, farm animals and the like, an idea implemented by Robert Porterfield, an enterprising young actor. The theater opened it’s doors in June of 1933 to a sellout crowd who either paid the 40cents admission charge or an equivlent amount of produce, dairy products or livestock.
The quality and variety of the performances at the Barter Theater are indeed first class, and the variety of offerings is most excellent, appealing to audiences of all ages. The Barter Theater is indeed one of the area’s greatest tourist attractions. THE EMORY HOUSE WILL RESERVE BARTER THEATRE TICKETS AT A DISCOUNTED PRICE FOR OUR GUESTS AS A COURTESY. WE WILL INCLUDE THE TICKET COST IN YOUR INVOICE AT THE BED & BREAKFAST.
The Virginia Creeper Trail
The Virginia Creeper Trail is one of the area’s prime attractions for outdoor enthusiasts, including bikers, hikers, runners, walkers, equestrians, fishermen and naturalists. The trail is a groomed 34.3 mile path originating in Abingdon, Va., passing through the town of Damascus, and ending at Whitetop Mountain (at which point the heartier among you may choose to reverse course and return to Abingdon, a total of 68.3 miles!) The trail was once a railroad line owned by Norfolk and Southern Railway, and today the tracks have been removed and replaced with a beautiful trail with outstanding vistas of the surrounding mountains, streams and rivers as well as wildlife. There are numerous bike rental shops in Abingdon and Damascus which provide a bicycle, a bottle of water, and a van ride to the top of Whitetop mountain if you choose the more leisurely gradual downhill ride back to Damascus. WE WILL BE GLAD TO RESERVE BICYCLES AT ANY OF THE RENTAL SHOPS AS A COURTESY TO OUR GUESTS.
Emory & Henry College
Immediately across the street from The Emory House B&B is Emory & Henry College, a private Methodist-affiliated College founded in 1836 with an undergraduate enrollment in excess of 800 students. Having recently celebrated its’ 175th year of academic excellence, Emory and Henry College prides itself in offering a high quality college education on a stunningly beautiful campus among historic architectural structures.
Abingdon Vineyard and Winery
Located between Abingdon and Damascus, just 10 miles from the Emory House, is the Abingdon Vineyard and Winery. Nestled alongside the South Holston River on 53 acres of lush rich ground perfect for growing premium grapes, the Winery offers a wonderful selection of wines made and bottled on their gorgeous premises. Among the many varieties available are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonel, Traminette and many others. Visit this artisinal vineyard/winery and enjoy a tasting to the soft ripple of the waters of the Holston River just beyond the front door.
Bristol Motor Speedway
Just 30 miles west on I-81 from the Emory House is located the infamous Bristol Motor Speedway. The Speedway holds Nascar races twice a year, attracting 150,000 race ffans to Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. Fans are frequently found to resort to locating lodging 100 miles from the racetrack due to the immense influx of fans to the area for these events. The Emory House is glad to partner with racelodging.com for reservations for both these race events.
Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
Located in Abingdon at exit 14 off I-81, Heartwood is a must-see destination for those who cherish traditional muic, original crafts, and regional cuisine. The performance area features live music strummed and sung by famous and soon to be famous area musicians. Heartwod’s four galleries entice visitors with jewelry, pottery, quilts and hand turned creations from local artisans. The food at Heartwood represents the best of Southwest Virginia’s artisan farms and traditional fresh from scratch recipes.
Museum of the Middle Appalachians
Saltville, Virginia is a short 10 mile drive from Emory, where you will find the Museum of the Middle Appalachians. Saltville was instrumental in the confederate war effort by virtue of providing essential salt as a meat preservative to the Confederate Army. The Union Army assaulted Saltville in 2 separate battles(no pun intended), having been defeated in the first battle but prevailing in the second. The Museum has a wonderful collection of Civil War memorabilia as well as other artifacts of local interest.
Abingdon Farmer’s Market
Every Tuesday late afternoon and Saturday morning during the growing season, downtown Abingdon is teeming with throungs of people anxious to be among the fortunate few who find culinary treasure at the Abingdon Farmer’s Market. Located off Cummings Street one block south of Main Street, over 20 vendors gather to sell their produce, cantaloupes, baked goods, soaps, jewelry, coffee, pastries, jams, jellies, herbs, organic beef (all grass fed and hormone/antibiotic free), sausages, fresh flowers, artwork, artisanal cheeses, breads, scones, cakes, pies, cookies, homemade peanut butter, homemade salsas and sauces, to name just a few!
The Mustering Grounds
In 1780 a contingent of Virginia Militia soldiers left Abingdon, Virginia under the command of Colonel William Preston Edmondson to fight the British at the Battle of King’s Mountain. The town of Abingdon recently acquired the mustering ground (gathering site) along Colonial Drive one block off Main Street where the militia assembled to begin it’s difficult, treacherous journey on foot and horseback through the mountains to reach the encampment of British soldiers. Along with regular Army forces and additional militia from surrounding states, the British were soundly defeated in a bloody battle that represented one of the turning points in our country’s fight for independence. Col. Edmondson’s 1775 cabin may be seen and toured in Emory at the Emory House Bed & Breakfast, having been relocated 3 miles to that site in 1982. Col. Edmondson’s grandson, William Campbell Edmondson, built a plantation home in 1857, and this home is also available for tour via private arrangement for guests of the Emory House Bed & Breakfast.
The Virginia Highlands Festival
The Virginia Highlands Festival is a 60 year old regional festival in Abingdon, Virginia featuring antiques, juried arts and crafts, fine art and photography, music, performing arts, living history, home and garden as well as creative writing. This 2 week festival is replete with scheduled activities, events, demonstrations and entertainment every day during the festival. Tens of thousands of people travel from several states away to experience this world-class event.
Virginia’s Crooked Road
The Crooked Road is Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. A driving route stretching 333 miles thrugh the scenic muntains of Southwest Virginia, The Crooked Road connects major heritage music communities all along the way. Here you will find roots of American music that run deep and wide. The music of the Crooked Road inits many forms-old time fiddle and banjo, a cappella gospel and ballad singing, and bluegrass to name a few, is a music born of the mountains where European and African settlers have worked and played together for generations.
This Region is home to the Ralph Stanley Museum, Country Cabin II, Birthplace of Country Music, The Carter Family Fold, Rex Theater and Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, Blue Ridge Music Center, Floyd Country Store, County Sales, Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, and Heartwood, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.
In 2013, the Barter Theatre began a live music series every Saturday night in the performance hall of the Theatre, called January Jams at the Barter Theatre. Visit www.abingdonmusicexperience.com for details of the various performing musical groups and the dates of their performance in January.
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located in southwestern Virginia near the border with Tennessee and North Carolina. The centerpiece of the recreation area is Mount Rogers, the highest point in the state of Virginia with a summit elevation of 5,729 feet (1746 m). Most of the recreation area is under the jurisdiction of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, except for a 5,000 acres (20 km2) section near Mount Rogers that is managed by Grayson Highlands State Park. The recreation area was established by an act of the United States Congress on May 31, 1966.
World Class Antique Shopping
Nearby Abingdon, Virginia features an excellent selection of antique shops with a great variety of high quality antiques and collectibles of all kinds. There are 5 antique shops within one block of Downtown Abingdon Main Street, and they are listed below for preliminary exploring online:
Hidden Memories Antiques and Art
Marketplace Mall Antiques
Foxglove Antiques (www.abingdonantiques.com)
The Martha Washington Inn and Spa
Originally built in 1832 as a private residence by a Virginia General, The Martha Washington has seen many different uses. From private residence it evolved into a finishing school for young ladies. When the armies of the Civil War battled in and around Abingdon, the building served as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and romantic stories of nurses and soldiers still endure to this day. After the Civil War The Martha became a women’s college and today is a hotel and day spa, paying homage to its gracious Southern roots and enduring historic legacy.
Morgan McClure Motorsports Museum
Since 1983, MMM has won 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including three victories in the prestigious Daytona 500 (’91, ’94, ’95).
One of few teams in history to win at the largest track on the circuit (Talladega), the smallest track on the circuit (Martinsville), both road courses (Watkins Glen & Infineon), the fastest half-mile track in the world (Bristol) and the track most notable for being “too tough to tame” (Darlington).
Sinking Springs Cemetery
The Tavern Restaurant
The Tavern, the oldest of Abingdon’s historic buildings and one of the oldest west of the Blue Ridge, was built in 1779. It was used from it’s beginning as a tavern and overnight inn for stagecoach traveler’s. The Tavern has had such guests as Henry Clay; Louis Philippe, King of France; President Andrew Jackson; and Pierre Charles L’Enfant, designer of Washington D.C.The first post office on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains was located in the east wing of The Tavern. The original mail slot is still in place and can be seen today from the street.During the past two centuries, The Tavern has served as a tavern, bank, bakery, general store, cabinet shop, barber shop, private residence, post office, antique shop and restaurant. It even served as a hospital for wounded Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War.In 1965, The Tavern was acquired from the Thaddeus Harris Family by Mary Dudley Porterfield, wife of the founder of the Barter Theatre. The Harris Family had owned The Tavern for more than 100 years.In 1984, The Tavern was restored to its former glory by a local attorney Emmit F. Yeary.
In 1994, it was opened under the management of Max Hermann who moved to Abingdon in 1993 after having served twenty years with the United States Air Force. Max is a native German and lives in Abingdon with his wife Kelly.