Mark Edward Atkinson
For many generations, taking the train through southwest Virginia meant a long ride through mountainous terrain marked by coal mines, the lifeblood of the region. Now, with music venues like Abingdon’s Heartwood and the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons spreading the traditional sounds of the region to parts further east, those trains bring visitors who come not just for the clogging and the country music born there, but also for a taste of Virginia’s native culture at its purest. Some come to follow the Wilderness Trail carved out by Daniel Boone or challenge themselves at Wilderness Survival School in Catawba. Others experience the outsized landscape from a luxury treehouse at Primland in Meadows of Dan or from the quirky comfort of a tipi on the New River. There are many reasons to travel our vast Southwest, so take some time and acquaint yourself. There’s a lot to see and a lot to do.