Welcome to Bristol, Virginia! Bristol is best known to be “The Birthplace of Country Music” in which some of the first commercial recordings of country music were born, showcasing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Bristol, geographically, is also unique as its state line is directly separated by the two states (Virginia and Tennessee). Basically, you can visit both states in just 30 seconds by walking across the street, it’s quite an experience!
Due to the region’s rich history and music heritage, Bristol and other counties have united together to create “The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail” experience. This music trail experience is all-year round, tourists and the locals can drive along this famous Crooked Road and visit various venues to explore the history of each county and the live music performances.
You can start off the Crooked Road journey by visiting the new Birthplace of Country Music Museum. This museum’s theater experiences and interactive displays bring you back in time to experience the far-reaching influence country music has to the Americans. You can even record your own country music song! As you walked 2 blocks from the museum, you will see the famous sign that welcomes visitors to the twin cities of Bristol Virginia and Tennessee. Its motto is “A Good Place to Live”. If you are hungry, make sure to visit the famous “Burger Bar“, it has been a classic diner since 1942. Famously known as the last place Hank Williams, Sr. (singer-songwriter) was last seen alive.
Just a short drive down The Crooked Road, along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find the Blue Ridge Music Center. Enjoy the music of local performers and tour the Roots of American Music museum to learn more about the earlier days of mixing of European and African musical cultures in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s quite an experience to be listening to the sound of music in the middle of the mountainous tops and the national park. After an evening of good entertainment, make your stay at The Bolling Wilson Hotel. It’s an unique upscale lodging experience in Downtown Wytheville, Virginia where you can grab a nice dinner at “Graze On Main” restaurant. As well as enjoying a nice cocktail on its hotel’s Perch Rooftop Terrace overlooking the entire Wytheville county!
Time for a tour of the county of Abingdon! You can walk along the city’s main street or the farmer’s market and see the historical buildings dating back to the 1700s. Also make a visit to the famous Barter Theater, one of the longest-running professional theatres in the nation. Have a stay at the historic Martha Washington Inn which was once served as an upscale women’s college, a Civil War hospital and barracks turned into an upscale inn that offers spa services with gym, swimming pool and tennis facilities. Near Abingdon, you’ll find Heartwood, tucked into Virginia’s mountains and home to the music, crafts and food of the Crooked Road. Many of the artisans featured at Heartwood are members of Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network.
All-in-all, if you enjoy country music or if you enjoy the nature and also appreciates the roots of the rich history of this region, The Crooked Road is a journey for you!
Other Places & Activities to Visit Along The Crooked Road
– Ralph Stanley Museum (features the life and music of the legendary music performer)
– Original Country Cabin (built in 1937-38, the longest continuously running site for traditional music along the entire Crooked Road.)
– Country Cabin II (built in 2002)
– The Carter Family Fold (which is a rustic, music shed offering traditional Appalachian music and clogging)
– The Inn at Wise (a 100-year-old historic landmark, located just off the Crooked Road)
– University of Virginia at Wise (liberal arts college)
– Bristol Motor Speedway (houses 160,000 people)
– Davis Valley Winery (wines & moonshine)
– Skeeter’s “World Famous Hotdogs
And MoVernie is outta here!
Follow them on Twitter:
Virginia Tourism – @VisitVirginia
Visit Wytheville – @VisitWytheville
Visit Abingdon – @VisitAbingdon