If you're looking for white picket fences and close-knit neighborhoods, we've collected eight small towns, though eight more southern cities retain that small-town flavor and warmth, while offering the benefits of urban living. Wanting to spend hours swinging a golf club? Here are seven towns dedicated to the sport, many with course-side resort living options. Been wanting to brush up on your comparative literature or anthropology? Pick a college town and be a student again. This is just a sampling, of course a cross-section of communities throughout the Blue Ridge region.
Here's an overview:
Retreat to the northernmost corners of Georgia and find history, mountains and lakes. Here the Appalachian Trail meanders to its southern end (on the top of Springer Mountain, near Blue Ridge); here potters and painters live in small towns and find inspiration in the scenery around them. Appalachian Georgia is another mountain-and-lake region, with waterways lacing through acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest and south.
Welcome to the home of Daniel Boone¹s Wilderness Road and today's Country Music Highway not to mention the oldest continuously-played golf course in the U.S. at the Middlesborough Country Club. There is Civil War history, art galleries and opportunities for outdoor recreation and if you¹re a music lover, you¹ll find it here (not to mention the bluegrass).
Find everything from skiing to farmer's markets in the western corner of Maryland, where Deep Creek Lake sparkles next to The Wisp Resort; there are thousands of acres of state forest for exploring, rivers for rafting and waterfalls for just enjoying. Yes, there are mountains in Maryland Oakland was once called "the American Switzerland." Railroad history and restored architecture highlight the historic districts of Cumberland and Frostburg.
There was a reason George Vanderbilt chose the mountains of western North Carolina to build his famous Biltmore Estate. Visitors today can still enjoy the quiet beauty of the landscape that inspired him. Wander the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville, "Paris of the South," a city of thriving arts. Or get away to countless small communities like Boone and Blowing Rock, with quaint shops and bed and breakfasts hidden in the hollows of the mountains.
Upcountry South Carolina holds many treasures - the lush South Carolina Arboretum, Clemson University (with attractions including a new continuing education center and its football team), waterside living on lakes from Jocassee to Hartwell that stretch across Upcountry's western border. Adults 60 and older attending state universities are eligible for expense-free paid tuition. The Savannah River Scenic Highway (SC 24) winds along through Oconee and Anderson counties.
The homeplace of notables as varied as Davy Crockett, Alex Haley and Dolly Parton, Tennessee claims part of the majestic Smoky Mountains (schools like the Great Smoky Mountains Institute offer year-long programs in history, ecology, wildflowers and more). An ancient art form thrives in the state's oldest town, Jonesborough, home to the National Storytelling Association headquarters and the setting for an annual storytelling festival that draws thousands.
There are a hundred landscapes to choose from in the mountain region of Virginia, from the sweeping expanse of the rural Shenandoah Valley around Harrisonburg to the blue water of Smith Mountain Lake to the rugged slopes of the southwestern highlands. Three routes make up the backbone of the Virginia Appalachians: the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and old Route 11. Roanoke, Asheville's sister city on the Parkway, and Abingdon, even further south, both have thriving arts communities.
There's barely a part of West Virginia that is not mountains - autumn drives along its winding roads (made all the more appealing by an excellent highway system) mean brilliant reds and oranges. The Shenandoah Valley stretches up into the Eastern Panhandle and the mountains become more and more rugged in the southern coal country. Enjoy the architecture of Charleston, along the Kanawha River, or find a place in the thriving arts and golf communities elsewhere in the state.