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, 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, 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,, at $150 for the weekend. For serious hikers on a budget, the Mt. Rogers Outfitters Hostel (110 Laurel Ave., 276-475-5416, has no-frills double rooms for $10.

EATING THERE: The Damascus Old Mill (215 Imboden St., Damascus, 276-475-3745, 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 ( 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, 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,, which also offers canoeing and hiking tours. The Ole Barn (426 Douglas Dr., 866-475-5727, also has river tubing and shuttle service. For an easy five-mile loop hike, follow signs for the Appalachian Trail ( north, then after three miles cross to the Iron Mountain Trail back to Damascus. The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area ( has more than 400 miles of hiking trails. The TransAmerica Bicycle Trail ( is a spectacular road-biking route.

INFO: Town of Damascus, 276-475-3831,