Regional | 4 Days
Day 1 (Bristol)
Start your day in Bristol VA/TN. Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company came to Bristol in 1927 with the goal of recording the region’s best musicians. Answering the call for artists were the likes of Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family and the Stoneman family. The recordings that resulted from these sessions would become known as the Big Bang of Country music and lead to the official designation of Bristol TN/VA by the U.S. Congress as the true Birthplace of Country Music.
Travel to historic downtown Bristol where the state line of Virginia and Tennessee separate the entire downtown. While in this Main Street District, take a self guided walking tour and learn more of Bristol’s history and its influences on many historic events including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and the music of today. There are many unique shops, galleries and locally owned restaurants to enjoy. A great place for a relaxing lunch.
Near downtown lies the Tennessee Ernie Ford House, the birthplace of the world renowned entertainer and Bristol native.
Bristol’s other claim to fame attraction is the Bristol Motor Speedway. Track tours are conducted at NASCAR racing’s most popular track. With over 165,000 seats, the Speedway is one of the largest sporting arenas in the world. Fans will enjoy the large souvenir shop and interactive fan zone.
Live music can be found most nights in Bristol. Besides the many local venues, Bristol offers Concerts in the Park, Downtown Center Concert Series, Border Bash, Stateline Jamboree and the Annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in September. All with various genres of music from local, regional and nationally renowned musicians. For more information on your Bristol visit go to www.visitbristoltnva.org
Overnight Accommodations in Bristol
Day 2 (Abingdon)
Entertain Your Senses!!! Abingdon, Virginia a town with the charm of the 1700’s and known world-wide for its arts, history and natural resources. Abingdon is home to the world-famed Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia. Barter counts Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Patricia Neal and Kevin Spacey among its many alumni.
Begin your day by meeting your complimentary step-on guide for a driving tour of the Historic District. A more extensive tour will include stops at the William King Regional Arts Center- a Partner of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Arts Depot- allows visitors to interact with the artists-in-residence as they work. The Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum depicts the life of a prosperous family just prior to the Civil War. Step back in time at the Star Museum, displaying over a century of rotating celebrity memorabilia from a world class collection.
If you like to shop, then you will love Abingdon. Visit a host of shops and galleries that will open horizons of arts and culture of the region. The town has a number of upscale clothing, antique and other specialty shops. You will find unique gifts, Crabtree & Evelyn dealer, tea parlors, spas, Virginia wines, as well as art, yarn, beads and quilting supplies.
Prepare for an evening of great entertainment!! After dinner at one of Abingdon’s fine restaurants, attend a performance at the Barter. The professional actors will take you on journeys near and far during productions on two stages. Settle in for a night of rest and relaxation, at the elegant and historic Martha Washington Inn, or choose one of several comfortable motels, as well as numerous bed and breakfast inns. Please visit www.abingdon.com to view our Visitor’s Guide for a complete listing of dining, lodging, attractions, events and recreational and shopping opportunities.
Overnight Accommodations in Abingdon
Day 3 (Norton, Big Stone Gap)
Travel to Big Stone Gap for a fun filled morning. The Southwest Virginia Museum was built in the 1800’s as a private residence. This Victorian showplace houses a myriad of artifacts, collections, and exhibits relating to the history and culture of Southwest Virginia.
Next visit the Harry W. Meador, Jr. Coal museum just down the road. This historic building houses a variety of items that depict the region’s coal mining heritage.
Before leaving town, be sure and visit Mutual Drug Store made famous by national bestselling author and native, Adriana Trigiani in her novel Big Stone Gap.
Travel on to Norton to check into your overnight accommodations. Settle in that evening after dinner for some great music at the Country Cabin II. Local and Regional musicians gather to carry on the traditions of Doc Boggs, whose music was a unique combination of old time mountain music and blues.
Day 4 (Natural Tunnel State Park, Hiltons)
This morning make your way to the Natural Tunnel State Park. Built around a 100’ high x 850’ long tunnel formed through rock by erosive action of water, the tunnel is believed to be about one million years old. Ride the chairlift down to the mouth of the tunnel and enjoy the trails passing through.
In the afternoon, visit The Homeplace Mountain Farm Museum. Enjoy demonstrations of early farmstead life and learn how early settlers to the region lived.
Travel to the Hiltons to see the First Family of Country Music at the Carter Fold and the A.P. Carter Museum and Birthplace. Live music is played every Saturday night, acoustic only, in the tradition of the original Carter Family and the mountain music they made famous and influenced the country music forever.
Artists and Community working together.
Inside an 1890's freight station, you can visit artists' studios featuring painters, a potter, a weaver and more! The Arts Depot also presents changing exhibits, classes, and the Appalachian Center for Poets & Writers.
White's Mill is a 150-year-old flour and grist mill located 3.5 miles from Abingdon. One of the only water-powered mills in existence in Southwest Virginia. The mill is a Virginia Historic Landmark.
White's Mill has long served the neighboring community. Since the late 18th century, the mill provided meal and flour for the farm and kitchen, as well as a gathering place for sharing news and views. The Mercantile, formerly the Cumbow Store, provided those store-bought essentials and extras that any home needs.