Blackbirds of Broadway Tour
Living in Abingdon, VA
Abingdon's Barter Theatre was my first stop as a full-time member of the Blackbirds' road band. We were housed in the 'Barter Inn', a three story dormitory about 1/2 mile from the theater. I had a spacious private room on the second floor, and was (fortunately) assigned to use the 2nd floor kitchen as well. Others had some difficulties, though. Because two productions were running here and two more were in rehearsal, there were more people than rooms. This has caused a few wrinkles for our bass player and the female cast members, but most of that settled down during our second week here.
One of the most important features of the Abingdon scene is the 24-hour Kroger supermarket. More than just a food store, the Kroger is a place where we can cash checks, buy postage stamps, have photos developed and get access to Western Union. We also make phone calls at the payphones there because our dormitory only has two outgoing lines and a lot of people using them.
Nightlife is minimal in Abingdon. Most restaurants and bars close shortly after the theater itself. This town is very quiet and the night is often a good time to shop for groceries or take a long walk. People here at the dorm may sit out on the front porch, or get together in someone's room. It's still pretty subdued, since a quiet rule is in effect starting at 11:00pm.
A particularly pleasant spare-time activity for me has been seeing the sights of southwest Virginia. This was the first time in my life that I've been here more than a couple of days. Abingdon lies along the 'Wilderness Road' cut by Daniel Boone in 1775, and I have wanted to follow this out to Cumberland Gap since I was in the fourth grade. I've also enjoyed checking out the world famous Clinchfield Railroad which is about thirty miles away in Scott County. Nearby Bristol, Tennessee is where the first commercial country music recordings were made in 1927, and there are several related museums and performance spaces in the area.
More to come shortly...
The Barter Inn: Our home away from home is this dormitory/office building for the theatre.
Inside the Barter Inn: A quiet second-floor hall
My residence--room 209.
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