Up on the Laurel

Things to Do


Need to plan your visit? Consider the following arts & eats, scenic points, recreational sites, and activities. We added brief quotes from their websites; click on the name for more information.


Arts & Entertainment

Barter Theater

Barter Theatre, located in Abingdon, Virginia, opened on June 10, 1933. It is one of the longest-running professional theatres in the nation.

Heartwood, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway

Your gateway to southwest Virginia craft, music, food, and local culture.

          Lamb Fine Art

               Local artist. Murals, portraits, commissions, and live painting.


Eats & Drinks


The Tavern

The Tavern, the oldest of Abingdon's historic buildings and one of the oldest west of the Blue Ridge, was built in 1779…. 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.

Bobo McFarland's

Multicuisine restaurant

Mojo's Trailside Cafe & Coffee

Coffee, cakes, and other foods.

The Damascus Brewery

40 different brews rotated through eight taps. 

Wolf Hills Brewing Company

Craft brewery in Abingdon.

Abingdon Farmer's Market

The Abingdon Farmers Market is a place for local farmers, artisans and food producers to sell their products directly to the community. Freshly grown and made products taste better and are better for you. Plus, they are not transported many miles in fuel guzzling vehicles. In many cases, the growers and producers are your neighbors and friends. Support local farmers.

         White Birch Food and Juice

                 Locally focused, delicious and nutritious foods and juices. 

         Harvest Table Restaurant 

Family friendly, farm to table, locally sourced, regional wine and beer, live music, neo-Appalachian food that extends Barbara Kingsolver's bestselling book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

         See Heartwood, above.




A Likely Yarn

Providing a quality fiber arts experience. All knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners, and felters welcome!

Grim Pottery 

Konnarockian Debbie Grim Yates supplies local craft shops in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. She works primarily with stoneware clay, making "Thrown" and "Slab Built" functional and decorative pottery. 

         Abingdon Olive Oil Company

                 Fine olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

         Blue Hills Market

                 A small, local food store that believes in healthy communities with healthy people.

         Me and Little Tree

                Art gallery, studio, retail shop for one of a kind Iron Mountain Stoneware, fiber art, fine art, and home decor.


                Outdoor and sporting goods company in Damascus, Va.

          Tree of Life Apothecary

                We specialize in bulk herbs, herbal supplements, herbal extracts, tinctures and carries a large selection of therapeutic grade essential oils.  

          Neal's Produce

               Growing organic vegetables.

The Outdoors

Whitetop Mountain

Whitetop Mountain is the second-highest mountain in Virginia. The highest navigable road in Virginia leads to its summit. A hiking trail starts at Elk Garden on Virginia 600. The summit provides panoramic views of three states.

Grayson Highlands State Park

Near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia’s two highest mountains, here you’ll enjoy scenic views of alpine-like peaks of more than 5,000 feet. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks. Scenic horse trails and a horse camping area with stables and parking for trailers are available. The park provides access to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. 

Whitetop Mountain’s Elk Garden Balds

In the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States, balds are mountain summits or crests covered primarily by thick vegetation of native grasses or shrubs occurring in areas where heavy forest growth would be expected.

Balds are found primarily in the Southern Appalachians, where, even at the highest elevations, the climate is too warm to support an alpine zone, where trees fail to grow due to short or non-existent growing seasons.

Backbone Rock Recreation Area

Backbone Rock Recreation Area is located along Beaverdam Creek in northern Johnson County. Backbone Rock gets its name from a spur ridge on Holston Mountain that abruptly ends at a bend in Beaverdam Creek. A tunnel was drilled through the rock in 1901 to allow railroad access between Shady Valley, Tennessee and Damascus, Virginia. Motorists pass through what is known as “The Shortest Tunnel in the World” as they travel along TN 133.

Bear Tree Lake

Beartree offers a relaxing, family-friendly atmosphere and a variety of recreational activities. Beartree Lake is also located within the recreation area, providing an ideal spot for swimming and fishing. Beartree Lake is surrounded by dense trees that meet the shoreline. The campground offers two fishing piers, and smallmouth bass, sunfish, rainbow and brown trout are all possible catches. Canoe rentals are also available, and a sandy lakeside beach is perfect for swimming. The Beartree Lake Trail, which circles the lake, is excellent for hiking. Half of the trail is paved for an easier walk. The 14-acre lake hosts an annual fishing derby for kids in May.

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake offers the beauty of the South along with the ability to allow you to have some fun in the sun! It's known for its smallmouth bass fishing, and a number of fishing tournaments every year. The South Fork Holston River is home to an annual spring migration of white bass. Locals say that when the dogwood bloom, the white bass run.

Hungry Mother State Park

Long a family favorite known for beautiful woodlands and a placid 108-acre lake in the heart of the mountains, Hungry Mother has a sandy beach with bathhouse, boat rentals (fishing, canoe, kayak and paddle), a boat launch and a universally accessible fishing pier. 

Bicycle on the Virginia Creeper Trail

The Virginia Creeper Trail stretches 34 miles from Abingdon up through the lovely town of Damascus, along the Whitetop Laurel River and up to its highest point, the Whitetop Station near the NC State Line. The Virginia Creeper Trail is open year round to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

This former rail bed passes through the Mount Rogers National Recreation area and the highland country of Southwestern Virginia. The Virginia Creeper Trail is rich in beauty and regional history. This is an easy biking adventure that you and your friends and family will talk about for a long time. 

         Creeper Trail Bike Rental and Shuttle

                 Bike shop and shuttle with locations in Whitetop and Damascus.

Creeper Trail Zipline

Zip across and down the hills.

Green Cove Train Station

The Green Cove Station is the only original remaining depot building along the Virginia Creeper Trail. Privately owned, the depot served as post office, general store, and freight office. The owner, William Buchanan and his wife Mary, worked the depot assisted by their daughters. The station was the center point for the community communication and storytelling. Today, the US Forest Service operates the depot on a limited basis during the warmer seasons and still serves as a rest location with soft drinks, snacks and souvenirs for bikers and hikers. The Buchanan home is located to the right of the depot and is operated as a bed & breakfast by the granddaughter of William Buchanan.

         Blue Ridge Discovery Center

The Blue Ridge Discovery Center is creating a bold new approach to ecological awareness and outdoor learning that encourages healthful outdoor activity while supporting the growth of  a prosperous, sustainable economy based on the Blue Ridge region’s amazing natural assets.

         Yeti Trail Runners

                Taking trail running to a new low!

          B's Outdoor Guide Service

              Sports, recreation, hunting, fishing guide. 

          Sundog Outfitter

A one-stop source for information on the VA Creeper Trail, Appalachian Trail, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and all the hiking and mountain biking trails in the Southwest      Virginia area.