I wouldn’t say that you’d ever describe either of us ramblers as “country folk”. Our preferred vacation destinations normally include big city staples like sky scrapers, anonymity, and lots of variety. Every once in a while though, it’s good to go outside of your typical comfort zone and give a different kind of destination a try. When we (Zoe included of course) were invited to spend a weekend on a romantic getaway in Abingdon, Virginia. We jumped at the shot to try something new to us, and discovered that sometimes a little country is just what the doctor ordered.
While it’s considered part of the tri-cities area of Tennessee, Abingdon is actually located just north of the Virginia border tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a pretty small town, but it’s location on the Appalachian Trail and the former “Great Road“, has kept it a relatively busy town filled with history, arts, culture, and most importantly fun!
Our couples romantic getaway began when we arrived in Abingdon and checked into a lovely little B&B called The Inn On Town Creek. Now anyone that knows Lauren and I can tell you that we’re not exactly what you’d call the B&B types, we like our privacy and one of us (me) isn’t really a morning person. The Inn on Town Creek though turned out to be great for us. Their pet friendly room is actually located downstairs from the rest of the rooms in a finished basement that even comes with it’s own kitchen. That meant I got to have my
cup huge vat of coffee, before having to go upstairs for breakfast and seeing other people. On top of that, the breakfasts served each day were fantastically prepared, and were changed each morning so we never had the same thing twice. The best part of the B&B though, was the decor. The owner is an avid collector of antiques, and the home has a huge collection on display. I wandered through the house each of the 3 days we were there, and I think I still missed some.
After getting settled into our B&B we decided to see what there was to do on a Thursday Night. After a little searching we found what turned out to be a perfect spot. Wolf Hills Brewing is Abingdon’s only craft brewery, which also turned out to be doggy friendly! The brewery is located in an old restoration ice house and featured a surprisingly deep selection of brews. Their seasonal Stonewall Stout was really well crafted and satisfying and the Honey Cream Ale was an easy all day drinker. On top of great beer there was live music and a large outdoor space where doggies and their humans could just hang out and unwind. Once we parked our rumps at the brewery there was no reason to head anywhere else.
The next morning we decided to continue our romantic getaway with a hike along one of the regions’s many trails. We made our way to Mt. Rogers Outfitters in Damascus and asked around for some tips on some great trails that wouldn’t be too crowded. We were pointed to a lovely trail in the Beartree Gap. The hiking was great, and despite a few light rain showers it made for a great way to spend a morning together free from technology and just enjoying each other’s company.
Hiking is a great way to work up a fantastic appetite, so we made our way back into downtown Abingdon, and asked around for a place to grab a bite of something “Southern” (we were in Virginia after all). We were directed to Bonefire Smokehouse and were surely not disappointed. Featuring an array of succulent barbecued meats, it was just the thing to satisfy a hiker’s appetite. Their smoked chicken wings were fall off the bone tender and tasty, but the real stand outs were the fried grit cake (more like a tower of cheese filled gooeyness) and the collard greens were literally the best greens Lauren or I have ever tasted.
Once we finished up our meal we decided that we needed to keep moving or we’d find ourselves in a Southern Fried meat and grit induced coma. We moseyed our way to our car and plotted our course to a small but significant historical site. The Abingdon Muster Grounds were critical to a key victory in the Revolutionary War in the summer of 1780. Coming from South Florida, where nothing is over 100 years old, it was pretty cool to visit a spot that was critical to American Independence. As our afternoon slowly became evening, we had enough time to stop in for a quintessential component of any romantic evening: a trip to a winery. We stopped in at the Abingdon Vineyard and Winery and enjoyed a short tour of the wine making operation. Then we got to the best part, the tasting! Due to the diversity of the climate they were able to produce a wide selection of varieties. They had everything from the Rieslings to Cabernet Sauvignon ( no darker reds though) and each wine we tasted was well constructed. One of the nicest touches we found at the winery though, was the comfortable and well taken care of grounds. With outdoor seating, we could have brought Zoe with us and enjoyed the beautiful evening weather while sipping on some wine. It was the perfect romantic way to relax and finish off a long day. For the last day of our romantic getaway weekend we decided to dedicate it to the arts and crafts in Abingdon. After breakfast at the B&B we made our way to the first stop, the Abingdon Farmers’ Market, which is one of Lauren’s favorite activities. We found lots of fresh meats and produce, but more importantly there were tons of delectable baked goods for snacking as well as some treats to keep us fueled for our day of exploring the arts in downtown Abingdon. After the farmers market we spent some time strolling through the historical portion of downtown Abingdon, VA. There were lots of little shops to explore and it looked like a neat place to do some antiquing (if that’s your bag). Our favorite find though, was The Arts Depot. Opened in 1990, it’s a neat space that was put together in an old train depot. The Arts Depot features a combination of community based art that is displayed in galleries as well as an active work space, where local artisans make and sell their wares. It was a fun little art space, and it was really cool to have the opportunity to watch as artists were working their magic right in front of our eyes. Continuing on our arts kick, we checked out the William King Museum. It was a small museum, but it featured a pretty wide variety of exhibits that ranged from local art to some surprisingly contemporary projects. Our last stop on our romantic getaway weekend was truly magical. We spent a night at the theater. Opened in 1933, Barter Theater is one of the countries longest-running regional theaters in the country. What’s really cool though is the theater’s history. When it originally opened, theater patrons could barter their crops (both vegetables and livestock) as opposed to purchasing their tickets. The food went to feeding the starving depression era actors and crew. This “ham to Hamlet” concept caught on and the theater has remained open ever since. Barter Theater has hosted many professional actors over the years, even featuring Gregory Peck. The evening we attended the cast put on a rousing performance of Man of La Mancha. Lauren and I were both pretty impressed with the overall quality of both the cast and orchestra. Our romantic getaway in Abingdon, Va had everything we could ask for. There were arts, music, wineries, breweries, great food, and lots of other great activities that allowed us to enjoy time with each other away from all the city hustle and bustle. While Lauren and I don’t normally find ourselves in the country, Abingdon, VA is definitely a spot to keep in mind for a future visit. The fact that Zoe could spend most of her time with us as well definitely sealed the deal for us. Virginia definitely is for lovers, both human and canine alike.
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