GETTING THERE: Damascus, Va., is about 360 miles from D.C. Take I-66 west to I-81 south. Continue on I-81 about 280 miles, take Exit 29 and follow Route 91 about eight miles south to Damascus.
STAYING THERE: The Montgomery Homestead (103 Laurel Ave., 276-492-6283, www.MontgomeryHomestead.com) is an Arts and Crafts-style house with simple rooms (shared baths) starting at $60 a night, which includes a fantastic breakfast. If you like a B&B with more lace and throws, try the Victorian Inn (203 N. Legion St., 276-475-5059, www.thevictorianbb.com) at $65; it also offers a guest cottage for $125. For a cabin in the mountains, there's Greer's Whitetop Mountain Cabin (854 Old Park Rd., Whitetop, 276-388-3477, www.wtmcabin.homestead.com/files/greer2.html), at $150 for the weekend. For serious hikers on a budget, the Mt. Rogers Outfitters Hostel (110 Laurel Ave., 276-475-5416, www.mtrogersoutfitters.com) has no-frills double rooms for $10.
EATING THERE: The Damascus Old Mill (215 Imboden St., Damascus, 276-475-3745, www.thedamascusoldmill.com) offers fine dining, with entrees from $10.95 to $19.95. There's local flavor and country cooking at Dot's Inn (338 Douglas Dr., 276-475-3817), with most entrees between $6 and $8. The Baja Cafe (103 S. Shady Ave., 276-475-6005), a favorite among hikers, offers Mexican food in the $5-$6 range.
TRAIL ACTIVITIES: For an easy downhill ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail (www.vacreepertrail.us) from Whitetop Station to Damascus, there are numerous bicycle rental and shuttle services. Blue Blaze Bike & Shuttle Service (226 W. Laurel Ave., 800-475-5095, www.blueblazebikeandshuttle.com) charges $34 for rental and shuttle for a full-day, 34-mile ride; $22 for the more popular half-day, 17-mile ride. Another is Adventure Damascus (128 W. Laurel St., 888-595-2453, www.adventuredamascus.com), which also offers canoeing and hiking tours. The Ole Barn (426 Douglas Dr., 866-475-5727, www.ole-barn.com) also has river tubing and shuttle service. For an easy five-mile loop hike, follow signs for the Appalachian Trail (www.appalachiantrail.org) north, then after three miles cross to the Iron Mountain Trail back to Damascus. The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/mr) has more than 400 miles of hiking trails. The TransAmerica Bicycle Trail (www.adventurecycling.org/routes/transamerica.cfm) is a spectacular road-biking route.
INFO: Town of Damascus, 276-475-3831, www.damascus.org.