Well, that was a pleasant surprise!
Visiting Roanoke, Virginia, I found a growing urban mountain town full of starry-eyed business owners, outdoor enthusiasts and hometown loyalists who wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
My direct flight was full of college students (there are more than 20 schools nearby) and the wonderfully tiny regional airport is just 10 minutes from the historic downtown where boutique and larger brand hotels and a large conference center are located.
This “Capital of the Blue Ridge” has been a crossroads for commerce since the 1740s, first for Native Americans and later for the railroad which roared in by the 1850s. The city now hosts popular music and food festivals and is the home to a burgeoning mountain bike scene.