6. Bedford, VA
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A hamlet east of Roanoke and west of Lynchburg, Bedford, VA, gives its residents a quiet escape, a true sense of community, patriotism, and opportunities to enjoy amazing scenery and outdoor adventures.
Bedford's crime rate is well below the national average, and the median home price is $127,476. Located near Smith Mountain Lake, the James River, the Peaks of Otter, the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the city is surrounded by apple orchards, wineries and trails that lead to impressive views. Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, chose to build his personal retreat, Poplar Forest, in the nearby community of Forest.
Bedford's historic Centertown features a collection of shops and restaurants and farmers market. There are a number of cultural attractions in Bedford, and events throughout the year that unite the community. These include farm tours, wine festivals, a Christmas parade and concerts. An average of 75,000 visitors come to Bedford each year to see the National D-Day Memorial.
The county seat of Bedford County – one of the fastest-growing counties in Virginia – the city has a strong, diversified economy, with a mix of industry, commerce, tourism and agriculture. In 2011, the 25,000-square-foot Center for Advanced Engineering and Research opened within The New London Business and Technology Center, a technology-focused development situated on 500 wooded acres.
Teva Pharmaceuticals, InService America and Georgia Pacific are major employers in Bedford, and The Central Virginia Community College and the Region 2000 Career Center provide opportunities for residents to further their education.
Nearest Big City: Roanoke – 29 miles
What Else is Here: The Little Town Players theatre group, skateboard park, eight local golf courses, 10 area parks, 11 nearby campgrounds and 40 restaurants