From recreation and entertainment to education and healthcare, the region offers quality choices.
Parts of VIAA connect with the Tri-Cities TN/VA region with a population of nearly 500,000. The only region in the country to be designated an All-America City in 1999, this area offers a range of amenities including symphonies and ballet, NASCAR racing, Minor League Baseball and outstanding medical and higher education facilities.
Musical heritage is vitally important to the VIAA region. Designated as the Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music Museum is also a stop on the “Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.”
The new cultural heritage tourism route includes two other VIAA musical venues – the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax and the Blue Ridge Music Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is being developed by the National Park Service in partnership with The National Council for the Traditional Arts to preserve, interpret, and present traditional music of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Tri-Cities TN/VA region that connects with VIAA’s Bristol and Washington County offers symphonies, ballet, concerts and theater to the region’s residents.
Abingdon is the home of the State Theatre of Virginia – Barter Theatre – which offers year-round live theater performances. Regional theater abounds in the area as well, with the Wolfhart Haus Dinner Theatre in Wytheville and the Rex Theater in Galax. In Marion, the historic Lincoln Theatre has been restored as a community cultural arts center.
Along with the spectacular natural beauty of the region, outdoor adventures abound in VIAA including hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, horseback riding, bird watching, hunting, fishing, golfing and cross country skiing. State parks include Grayson Highlands State Park, the New River Trail State Park, Hungry Mother State Park, and the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The New River flows through much of the upper VIAA.
Portions of the Jefferson National Forest and the Appalachian Trail are part of VIAA, as well as locations near the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountain ranges. Virginia’s two highest mountains – Mount Rogers and Whitetop – are located in Grayson County.
The Bristol area offers many amenities, from the historic downtown area to the scenic beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and Holston Lake and the excitement of the Bristol Motor Speedway NASCAR races. The Tri-Cities region is home to four minor league professional baseball teams.
Several notable golf courses are located in VIAA, including The Virginian, which its residential development has been ranked as one of the 18 best places in America to live by the Robb Report magazine.
VIAA is home to two Virginia Community Colleges. Wytheville Community College in Wytheville and Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon provide degree and certification programs, as well as business training on campus and in off-site locations throughout the region.
The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon offers not only superb high-tech meeting facilities but more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degree programs from nine Virginia colleges and universities. Degree programs are offered from Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Radford University, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Emory and Henry College, Virginia Intermont, and King College.
Emory and Henry College, a four-year private liberal arts college is located in Emory, Virginia, in Washington County. Other four-year institutions located in the Bristol region are Virginia Intermont College, King College and the Bristol campus of East Tennessee State University. Emory and Henry also has a campus in Smyth County where the PT program is moving forward.
Many months of the year in VIAA there are various annual festivals and events that put communities on the map.
More than 40,000 visitors flock to Felts Park in Galax for the internationally known Old Fiddler’s Convention held annually the second weekend in August. Also sharing an international reputation, the Virginia Highlands Festival has put the Town of Abingdon on the map the first two weeks of August for more than 50 years.
The Town of Hillsville in Carroll County comes alive every Labor Day weekend with a gigantic flea market that extends through the town. Independence in Grayson County is known for its traditional July 4th Celebration; the Mount Rogers area is home to wild pony sales and mountain music celebrations each spring; and Bristol is home to the annual Rhythm and Roots Reunion each fall.
Health and Wellness
VIAA offers excellent health and wellness services including a major medical complex in Bristol that is a teaching hospital for a medical school and a comprehensive cancer treatment center in Abingdon.
Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center, a community healthcare provider for nearly eight decades, is located on a state-of-the-art campus completed in January 1994. The 348-bed hospital is situated on 125 acres and offers a vast spectrum of cutting-edge medical services and technologies. Over 500 physicians practice in the Tri-Cities Area.
In addition to Centers of Excellence that include acute care, cancer care, cardiac care, neuroscience, occupational health, outpatient services, rehabilitative services, and women’s health,. Wellmont Bristol Regional offers a Level II Trauma Center as well as a dedicated pediatrics unit. The hospital is a member of the Children’s Miracle Network.
In Abingdon, Johnston Memorial Hospital is a primary care provider and regional referral center serving Washington County and surrounding counties in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.
The hospital provides a broad range of inpatient and outpatient services, including the only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Southwest Virginia west of Roanoke. Johnston Memorial’s $22 million comprehensive cancer center is opening in stages in its Abingdon location.
More than 120 active, courtesy and consulting physicians comprise the hospital’s medical team, offering a variety of specialty and sub-specialty services.
In Marion, wellness and top-notch healthcare services are available through Smyth County Community Hospital, a170-bed facility. The Lifetime Wellness Center, open to the community, is a modern 54,000 sq. ft fitness and educational facility.
In Wytheville, Wythe County Community Hospital is a 104-bed facility that is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. In operation since 1972, it is Wythe County’s only hospital and provides care to a primary service area of approximately 36,000 individuals including Wythe and Bland counties.
Wythe County Community Hospital employs more than 350 full-time employees and is staffed by over 80 physicians and consulting/courtesy physicians. The hospital operates under the guidance of a 15-member Board of Directors.
The upper region of VIAA is served by the Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax. This facility is the cornerstone of family healthcare services in this region and provides full range of medical care services. With a team of physicians representing more than two dozen medical specialties, a wide range of treatment options are available locally to the residents of Galax, Carroll and Grayson counties. A wellness center also operates in this region.