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49 miles SW of Wytheville; 133 miles SW of Roanoke; 315 miles SW of Richmond; 437 miles SW of Washington, D.C.

While on his first expedition to Kentucky in 1760, Daniel Boone tramped across the 2,000-foot-high Holston Valley and camped at the base of a hill near a small settlement known as Black's Fort. When wolves emerged from a cave and attacked his dogs, Boone named the place Wolf Hill. Boone and other pioneers opened the area for settlement, and by 1778, a thriving community named Abingdon had grown up around Black's Fort and Wolf Hill. The Washington County Courthouse has replaced the fort, but Boone's cave is still there, behind one of the historic buildings on tree-shaded Main Street.

Indeed, Abingdon today looks much as it did in those early years, making it one of Virginia's most picturesque small towns and one of my favorites to visit. Its beauty and historical charm have attracted more than its share of actors, artists, craftspeople, and even a few writers. Visitors drive hundreds of miles to attend shows at the Barter, Virginia's official state stage, and the town is crowded the first 2 weeks of August for the popular Virginia Highlands Festival, a display of the region's best arts and crafts.

You can spend a fascinating few days walking around this beautiful town, seeing a couple of plays, and literally coasting on your bike down White Top Mountain on the Virginia Creeper Trail, one of the country's great bicycle paths.