Carter Fold
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Our Location

Our Physical Location is:

The Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Inc.
3449 A. P. Carter Highway
Hiltons,  VA 24258

The Surrounding Area

Southwest Virginia (and northeast Tennessee) is rural, mountainous, and ruggedly beautiful. It's also the legendary home of the Carter Family. Fabled Clinch Mountain, celebrated in countless country, folk, and bluegrass songs, rises directly behind The Carter Family Fold and all the homes and places that are part of the history of this remarkable musical dynasty.

For those fans familiar with the history of the Carter Family, the community known as Maces Springs is the hometown and legendary base of operations for A.P., Sara, and Maybelle, the original trio. Maces Springs no longer has a post office, and the town of Hiltons now applies to the area previously known as Maces Springs or Poor Valley. The original family homes and historic sites related to the Carter Family and previously having addresses in Maces Springs now have addresses in Hiltons.

Where To Stay

Hiltons is approximately 20 miles from the largest nearby cities of Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee, and Kingsport, Tennessee. These towns have most of the major hotel chains and are recommended to those planning overnight stays. Other nearby towns are Abingdon and Duffield (Virginia) and Johnson City (Tennessee).

There are many campgrounds throughout the area.

For additional information on available accommodations in Scott County, check out the Scott County Lodging Association web site at:

Carter Family Sites

Five historic landmarks are connected to the Carters and lie within a few miles of each other. They are:

A.P. Carter's Birthplace

The House of A.P. and Sara Carter

The House of Ezra and Maybelle Carter (and June, Helen, and Anita)

Mount Vernon United Methodist Church and Cemetery

A.P. Carter Store—now The Carter Family Museum

Of these five landmarks, only the store/museum and the church are open to the public.

A.P.'s birthplace, an old log cabin and an officially designated National Historic Site, has been moved from an inaccessible, remote area unavailable to automobiles and visitors. It is now permanently situated next door to the Carter Family Museum.  The cabin is open Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and during the festival each year.

The two houses - A.P. and Sara's house, Maybelle and Ezra's home - are still owned and occupied by family members but may be seen from the A.P. Carter Highway.

The A.P. Carter Store, a general store owned and operated by A.P. Carter in the later years of his life, is now The Carter Family Museum. Located right next door to the Fold, it is open Saturdays from 6:00 p. m. to 7:30 p.m. and during the festival each year.  

A.P. and Sara are buried in the cemetery behind the Mt. Vernon Church as are their children Janette and Joe.  Their graves can be visited at any time.  Mt. Vernon Church has services at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday; Sunday school is at 9:45 a.m. (Maybelle and Ezra and daughters Helen, Anita, and June are buried at Hendersonville, Tennessee.) Click on the link above to visit the Church's web site.

What To See and Do

There's lots to do and see all around Hiltons, Maces Springs, and Poor Valley.

Bristol, the site of the historic 1927 recording sessions that are credited with being the beginnings of the country music industry and which included the first

Carter Family recordings, is a must-see for anyone interested in the evolution and history of country music.

The building in which those sessions occurred is no longer standing, but a monument marks the spot (on State Street). Not to be missed is the inspiring commemoration mural covering the entire side of a downtown building (again on State Street). Depending on the day you visit, there may be live music and street dancing in the small park next to the mural. The outstanding Mountain Music Museum, is another essential place to visit.

Abingdon is home to the historic Martha Washington Inn and Barter Theater. Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City (known as the Tri Cities) have active arts councils that sponsor various programs throughout the year. Antique shops are scattered throughout the region and offer something for almost everyone's price range. The Appalachian Trail runs through the area and is one of many local hiking trails.

A stroll through Jonesborough, Tennessee (the state's oldest town) reminds you of a country town from an earlier time.  Each year, Jonesborough hosts a story-telling festival which brings people from all over the world to the area. The area's mountainous terrain is beautiful year round but is especially breathtaking in the autumn.

The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, winds through the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Here, the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Traditional Country music is as beautiful and rugged as the landscape itself. Our mission: Supporting economic development by promoting Heritage Tourism and Blue Ridge and Appalachian culture.

How To Get Here

Those traveling northbound on I-81 would  take the Kingsport exit onto I-26; follow I-26 until it ends. Then take highway 23 north toward Gate City. You will soon begin to see green highway markers directing you to the Carter Fold.  Follow the signs, turn right at the fourth traffic light onto highway 224. Take the first left onto highway 58 east (toward Bristol). Follow Highway 58 to Highway 709 and turn left in Hiltons. Follow Highway 709 to Highway 614, then turn right on Highway 614 to Mendota. This part of the road has been designated the A.P. Carter Highway. Follow this road for about three miles, when you'll see the Fold on your left.

Coming from I-81 south, take Exit 1 (Bristol, Gate City exit). This will put you on Highway 58.  Stay in the right lane to Gate City, then follow 58 to Hiltons (about 25 miles).

Turn right on Highway 709 at the store; follow Highway 709 to Highway 614, then turn right on Highway 614, the A.P. Carter Highway. Follow Highway 614 for three miles. You'll see the Carter Fold on your left.

The nearest airport to Hiltons (approximately 40 miles away) is Tri-Cities Airport located at Blountville, Tennessee. Blountville is centrally located between Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City. Other airports nearby are Asheville (North Carolina) and Knoxville, Tennessee.


Our area has a wide variety of overnight accommodations from campgrounds to hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfast establishments.
The Carter Family Memorial Music Center is a non-profit organization.
@ Carter Family Memorial Music Center    All Rights Reserved