One of America’s most beloved hotels is home to an incredible boutique

The historic Martha Washington Inn and Spa has long been a cultural anchor and focal point for the far Southwest Virginia gateway city of Abingdon. The sprawling mansion turned 63-room, grand hotel takes its name from its role as the former home of the Martha Washington College for women from 1858 to 1918—and is renowned internationally as one of the most meticulously preserved, designated Historic Hotels of America. Amid its elegant Faulknerian halls, parlors, lounges, and conference rooms, which have been visited by numerous presidents and celebrities—including Elizabeth Taylor, Lady Bird Johnson, and President Harry Truman—you’ll find a world-class spa, chef-driven fine-dining, and a startlingly well-equipped boutique gift shop that feels more like Richmond’s Carytown than rural Virginia. 

Photos courtesy of Shop the Martha

Yes, there are expected but thoughtfully rendered historic nods like coasters, coffee mugs, tees, sweatshirts, and magnets emblazoned with the inn’s iconic Renaissance Revival-style brick façade. Elsewhere, artisan-made home goods like preserves, custom tea blends, and a line of goat’s milk soaps and lotions bear the Martha’s logo. But The Little Shop at the Martha doesn’t stop there. 

Much of its wall space is dedicated to hand-curated racks of Italian-made women’s clothing—the majority of which is sourced from luxury Italian artisan retail export group, Moda. Inventory changes seasonally, with winter bringing cozy gems like fine cashmere sweaters and cardigans; spring and summer offerings include beautifully detailed, hand-sewn silk blouses, colorful shawls, and chic swimwear. Match them with stylish accessories like fine leather hobo bags, kidskin leather gloves, woven BC handbags, and artisan jewelry. Look further and you’ll find children’s books paired with plush stuffed animals, hand-painted decorative wooden signs, Blue Ridge-themed puzzles, Musee skincare products, and much, much more. A robust website offers online shopping, too.

“First-time customers come in and tell me how amazed they are by the amount of great items we’ve been able to pack in here,” says Susan Slone, retail sales associate at The Martha. “We’re very conscious about every detail and want to make sure our customers are getting the best in quality and experience.” ShopTheMartha.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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