Thinking about your post-work home? You'll get huge bang for your buck -- plus lots of other perks -- in these towns.
The Appalachian Trail comes through the city, and the region is home to a collection of lakes and rivers. Roanoke's Carvins Cove Natural Reserve, the second-largest municipal park in the U.S., offers more than 12,000 acres of hiking, biking and horseback riding. Its 800-acre lake caters to boaters and anglers.
Roanoke has six greenways that link the city's rivers, mountains and scenic areas to a vibrant, walkable downtown. The downtown area boasts a daily farmer's market and after the sun sets, the nightlife scene beckons empty nesters with first-rate restaurants and nightclubs.
Roanoke residents boast about the city's four seasons, although the winter is milder than in other parts of the country. Leaf peepers flock to the Blue Ridge Parkway once autumn hits. Roanoke just announced it will host the first-ever Blue Ridge Marathon on the parkway in April 2010. --B.B.