A Day Off in Abingdon

Editors’ picks for 24 hours in the Highlands.

Main Street in historic Downtown Abingdon.

Photo courtesy of Visit Abingdon

With its surrounding mountains and its brick-lined sidewalks, Abingdon has all the enticements of an outdoorsy mecca and a charming small-town stopover. About 20 minutes north of Bristol, this quaint town, once called Wolf Hills by Daniel Boone, is perfect for a day of culture, history and a little exploration.

8:00 a.m. Wake up and energize

A section of the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Start your day with a quick morning hike on the Virginia Creeper Trail. This beautiful 34.3 mile trail leading from Damascus is enjoyed by Abingdon residents as well as visitors from all over the Commonwealth. The trail is a particular attraction for cyclists, but there’s nothing like a good walk to wake you up and allow you to stop and soak in the beauty of nature. You may see a few fishermen or equestrian riders along the Creeper as well. VACreeperTrail.com

10:00 a.m. Relax and Refuel

Refuel at Zazzy’z Coffeehouse and Bookstore a delicious meal like lump crab with low-fat custard, house-made Swiss and spring onions quiche, or a veggie wrap. Of course Zazzy’z specialty is their coffee. The family run business and knowledgeable baristas are familiar with all your favorite brews and preparation types. While you enjoy sipping on your frappe or espresso, pick up a book and relax for awhile. Zazzyz.com

12:00 p.m. Shop ‘Til You Drop

Historic Main Street in downtown Abingdon.

Photo courtesy of Visit Abingdon

If you’re looking to take home a few treasures from your visit, look no further than the historic district. The Shops on Main Street include local stores like Necessities, where you can find international and local foods and gifts, Foxglove Antiques and Etc., which offers a variety of American and English Antiques for the home and Forget Me Not, a small boutique with accessories and apparel for women. ShopMainStreets.com

2:00 p.m. Arts and Deco

Even Ferris Bueller took time on his day off to visit a museum. Take the afternoon to stop by the William King Museum, which is home to impressive exhibits of fine art from the region and around the world. Current exhibits include Cherry Bounce: Appalachian Art and Out in the Open, an outdoor sculpture exhibition. WilliamKingMuseum.org

5:00 p.m. Get to the Soda Pop Shop!

Ellis Soda Shoppe is a family owned restaurant and soda shop and a must-do for your Abingdon checklist. This local favorite was once an old pharmacy and there are loads of pictures on the tables and walls, inviting conversation about the shop’s history. Be sure to order an old-fashioned, hand-jerked soda from the bar and nosh on a delicious pimento cheese chilidog with Cajun fries for dinner. Finish it off with an ice cream float or some hand-dipped ice cream in all the classic flavors. This will literally be the cherry on top of your day off. EllisSodaShoppe.com

7:00 p.m. Curtain Call

Barter Theatre: The State Theatre of Virginia.

End your evening with a show at Barter Theatre, which opened in 1933, and where you could once trade food or livestock to see a show. This Abington hotspot invites you to enjoy A Christmas Carol through Dec. 29, just in case you want to keep the holiday spirit going. BarterTheatre.com

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum