was built in
1921 for John L. and Margaret Jennings Bradley. John Bradley was a partner in Miller &
Bradley, lumber dealers in Abingdon.
In 1927 the property was purchased by the Methodist Church and became the District Office in Southwest Virginia. For the next
49 years, it was used as a parsonage and place of residence for
traveling ministers of
the Methodist Church. (1.)
In 1976 the property changed ownership, becoming a private
residence. In 1986, Champe and Don Hyatt purchased the property and completely renovated
the house in preparation for starting a bed and breakfast. Later that year they opened the
Summerfield Inn, the first Bed and Breakfast in Southwest Virginia. In 1998, the present
owners, Janice and Jim Cowan purchased the Inn. In 2000, a English style
rose and perennial garden and walkway were added providing an
assortment of seasonal flora year-round. The Cowan's are proud to continue
the tradition of southern hospitality at Southwest Virginia's premier Bed & Breakfast
Just west of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a land that was once revered by
Native Americans and jealously sought after by the white men. Nestled in the foothills of
the Appalachians and secured in the valley formed by the Holston River lies Abingdon. This
area of Southwest Virginia is known for unparalleled natural beauty, rich in tradition and
Abingdon, founded in 1778 was originally known as Wolf Hills and is the
county seat for Washington County. Abingdon is known as the gateway of Southwest Virginia.
The rolling, tree lined streets transport visitors back to bye-gone days. Historical homes
and businesses dating from the 1700's bring a sense of charm and warmth. The antique
shops, specialty stores and quaint merchant areas can be casually browsed.
The Depression, while causing the downfall of lumbering and the Martha
Washington College, brought to Abingdon one of its greatest treasures: the Barter Theatre.
In 1933, Robert Porterfield gathered 22 fellow actors and headed to his hometown of
Abingdon. Here, he established the idea of "ham for Hamlet," bartering
foodstuffs in exchange for a ticket to the theatre. Playwrights, including Noel Coward,
Tennessee Williams, and Thornton Wilder, agreed to accept ham as royalties. One exception
was George Bernard Shaw, a vegetarian, who bartered the rights to his plays for spinach.
Barter Theatre became the State Theatre of Virginia in 1946, with help from Eleanor
Roosevelt; and in 1965 Lady Bird Johnson bartered a potted plant for a ticket. Barter's
heritage is rich and colorful and includes many famous thespians: Ernest Borgnine, Hume
Cronyn, Gregory Peck, and Ned Beatty, just to name a few!
Today, Abingdon is proud of its history and rich heritage. As you stroll
down the shaded brick sidewalks, it's as if you have stepped back in time. It's easy to
imagine the frightful night spent by Daniel Boone, the girlish laughter echoing from the
Martha Washington Inn, and the applause of an audience of poor farmers at the
Theatre. Abingdon is indeed a history-filled town and an entertaining trip through time.
1. Places In Time, Volume II. Nanci C. King
2. Abingdon Convention & Visitors Bureau-