Monday, January 16, 2012

Damascus Among 10 Coolest Small Towns in America

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog: Damascus Among 10 Coolest Small Towns in America: Readers of Budget Travel Magazine nominated a record 647 towns to be considered among the Coolest Small Towns in America. The magazine has narrowed that list down to just 10 standout communities across the country. Making that list is none other than Trail Town, USA, officially known as Damascus, Virginia.Here's what the online mag had to say about Damascus:It calls itself Trail Town, USA, and the title is no hyperbole. In addition to the fact that Damascus’s main street runs on top of the Appalachian Trail, the town serves as a crossroads for a half-dozen wilderness and cultural pathways. The town commemorates its unique location with an annual Trail Days celebration in the spring that gathers hikers and other outdoorsy types for three days of free concerts, film screenings, and, of course, guided hikes. For tired travelers looking for a touch of comfort, the 12-room Damascus Old Mill overlooks Laurel Creek and is a stone’s throw from the Virginia Creeper Trail—no one rests for long around these parts! For an extra pick-me-up, there’s always Mojoe’s Trailside Coffee, whose “trail magic” drink mixes espresso, ice cream, and caramel into a sweet concoction for a burst of quick energy.Budget Travel failed to note that Damascus also makes for a great base camp for excursions into the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area, or to check out the wild ponies of Grayson Highlands State Park, or to one of my all time favorite hikes, the A.T. to the summit of Mt. Rogers.You can read about each of the towns that made the final cut, and then vote for your favorite to become America's Coolest Small Town by clicking here. You can vote once daily until the contest closes on January 31st. As of right now, with nearly 87,000 votes cast, Damascus sits in fifth place. Hammondsport, NY is currently in the lead.

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