During summer you can take in a movie at the Moonlite Drive-in, on U.S. 11 South (tel. 276/628-7881). It's one of a handful of drive-in movie theaters left in Virginia.

Hams for Hamlet -- The career of an aspiring, Virginia-born actor named Robert Porterfield came to a halt during the Great Depression. Giving up on Broadway, he and 22 other unemployed actors came to Abingdon in the summer of 1933 and began putting on plays and shows. Their first production was John Golden's After Tomorrow, for which they charged an admission of 40ยข, or the equivalent in farm produce -- thus did their little operation become known as the Barter Theatre.

Playwrights who contributed -- among them Noel Coward, Thornton Wilder, Robert Sherwood, Maxwell Anderson, and George Bernard Shaw -- were paid with a Virginia ham. Shaw, a vegetarian, returned the smoked delicacy and requested spinach instead; Porterfield and his crew obliged.

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