Matthew Krauss, Columnist • firstname.lastname@example.org
Abingdon has many hidden and surprising features but the one that allows you to experience the great outdoors the most is the Abingdon Muster Grounds. The spot is very convenient if you happen to be spending the day in town; it’s right off historic main street. The spot has historical importance because it is where the southern division of the continental army “mustered” in order to then march onwards to South Carolina where they meet British general Patrick Ferguson.
The property has a museum but unfortunately, it was closed (meaning the website lied to me on their daily hours. I think it had to do with the recent government shutdown. I suggest you check the website and/or call the park before you visit to avoid making my blunder.) The museum is small but a great place to get warm and see some artifacts used by soldiers who were enrolled in the patriot army. There are a couple historic buildings around the property and next to one was a circular mound which seemed to have at one point been a chimney but has since been destroyed by the weather. The chimney maybe was part of a blacksmith shop because it is right next to an open-air shack that would be ideal for pounding down iron in hot conditions.
Across from this is a spring house and the water from this flows into the nearby creek and purifies the water allowing it to be much clearer than I expected.
The stream offers a great place to see waterfowl, some of which were migratory birds, including Canadian geese, mallard ducks, and what appeared to be a great blue heron. Just be careful to avoid meeting the snakes. Due to the recent snow and other weather the area near the stream is slightly marshy but in some places, it is frozen over which provided a miniature ice rink to slide about on.
There is also a trail on the property that follows the stream and this pathway is a good place to go for anyone who is thinking of getting into hiking more but doesn’t know where to start or for that one person you keep trying to get outdoors but who is constantly making excuses of why they don’t want to.
In the exception that you get really tired there are stones all along the way that make good resting spots (though I have yet to used them on both instances that I have been there.)
The hike is not for those who prefer to avoid all human contact; its right on the edge of town and there are a few excavator machines that have been left right next to the stream.
The litter also is an eyesore even though a group of freshman cleaned up the bank of the stream for their orientation service plunge. It is also a safety hazard because it has entered the waterways.
The Abingdon Muster Grounds is an outdoor adventure that gives the feeling of being off the beaten track while still being accessible to those passing by.