5 Things I Love About Roanoke

From PackedSuitcase.com

This past November, I hit the road for an Old School Virginia Road Trip. My first stop was Roanoke, a city about 3 1/2 hours away from D.C. that I had heard about, but never visited before.

With my limited knowledge, Roanoke was faceless with ambiguous features. But after my day and a half of exploring this Blue Ridge mountain town— feeling the energy of downtown, experiencing the character of the neighborhoods, seeing the beauty of the outdoors, sampling the locally-made craft beer (and finding it to be really good)— the features quickly and vividly filled in. I was left with a portrait of a place that’s both friendly and accessible with just enough flair to make it distinctly unique.

I really loved my visit, and wanted to share some of the things that I discovered about Roanoke that surprised and delighted me.


1- The Easy Access to the Outdoors

Geographically, Roanoke’s located in a valley between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. When you’re standing in downtown Roanoke, small mountains can be seen, showing the promise of outdoor activities that are all around you.

With 26 miles of urban greenway trails, countless public parks and easy access to nearby hiking spots like McAfee Knob (one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail), Roanoke is a city that values fitness, mobility and the beauty of the outdoors. Others are beginning to catch on to Roanoke’s commitment to encouraging the love of the outdoors: In 2013, Roanoke was awarded the distinction of “Best Trail Town” by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.


Read the rest of the story at this link.

Roanoke, Franklin Named Top Digital Counties Again

Two Roanoke Region localities have been recognized as nationwide technology leaders. Roanoke County and Franklin County each placed in the top 10 of the Annual Digital Counties Survey for communities with a population of less than 150,000.

Roanoke County was ranked fifth and Franklin County was eighth.

The ranking comes from the e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities program, in partnership with the National Association of Counties. The award recognizes counties who have the best electronic practices nationwide.

2013 Top 10 winners (Less Than 150,000 Population)

  1. Charles County, Md.
  2. Allegan County, Mich.
  3. Nevada County, Calif.
  4. Albemarle County, Va.
  5. Roanoke County, Va.
  6. Napa County, Calif.
  7. Martin County, Fla.
  8. Franklin County, Va.
  9. Gloucester County, Va.
  10. Moore County, N.C.

Four Virginia counties made the top 10 in this category.

Survey questions were asked in a variety of areas such as computing, networking, applications, data and cybersecurity, open government, mobile services, and much more. The survey results reflect work done during the 2012 year.

Besides identifying the nation’s most tech-savvy county governments, the survey also points to some big-picture trends that are occurring across the country. For instance, 84 percent of counties that submitted the survey said they are consolidating data centers, applications and staff – a 13 percent increase over the past two years. Meanwhile, 80 percent are pursuing joint service delivery – a 10 percent increase compared to two years ago. In addition, 49 percent said they were implementing business intelligence and/or advanced analytics at the enterprise level – up 18 percent from last year.

“This year counties are focused on saving money where they can by simplifying their information technology infrastructure and sharing systems with other governments,” said Todd Sander, the Center for Digital Government’s executive director. “Many of them have found ways to provide better information security, transparency and citizen engagement with innovative uses of social media and advanced decision support tools.”

The national ranking is issued by the e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities program, in partnership with the National Association of Counties who identify best electronic practices among counties nationwide.

Roanoke Voted Best Mountain Town by Blue Ridge Outdoors

Roanoke earned the most votes in recent Best Mountain Town polling by Blue Ridge Outdoors readers.

The results, which were announced Nov. 1, ranked Roanoke as the top mid-sized mountain town over Asheville, N.C.; Morgantown, W.Va.; and Charlottesville, among others.

Here’s what the magazine had to say: “The city of Roanoke is perfectly located: In the heart of the valley, with a river running right through town, and adjacent to George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Not surprisingly, it’s rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the country’s top outdoor destinations.”

The magazine considers a range of factors when choosing the best mountain town, but the most important aspect is the people. “That’s the funny thing about outdoor recreation: it takes a commitment from the people to maintain,” the article reads. “Trails need clearing, rivers need cleaning, and access needs protecting.”

You can see the full article online from Blue Ridge Outdoors or pick up the November issue of the magazine on newsstands.