Also known as the Appalachians, the Appalachian Mountains are some of the Earth's oldest mountains and some of the most significant mountain networks in North America. Humans have inhabited areas surrounding the Appalachians throughout their existence, creating communities that overlook these gorgeous mountains. Some of these communities even remain standing centuries later! When traveling around the Appalachians, these 8 towns are worth visiting.
Dahlonega is part of Georgia's Lumpkin County, nestled on the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. Dahlonega is regarded as an "authentic" Appalachian Mountain town and is also famous as the first site of America's first significant gold rush. The Lumpkin County destination was incorporated in 1833.
Today, visitors flock to Dahlonega to enjoy its historic square, wineries, gold mining attractions, and natural landscapes. History buffs can learn more about the gold rush at the Dahlonega Gold Museum downtown, while wine connoisseurs can escape to the Dahlonega's vineyards. Otherwise, music enthusiasts will fall in love with the town's affinity for music, as it hosts various outdoor music festivals and live concerts, especially at the Historic Holly Theater.
Brevard, North Carolina
Located in Western North Carolina, Brevard sits in Transylvania County and is part of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Compared to other towns around the Appalachians, Brevard was incorporated "fairly recently" in 1868. Regardless, this town of Brevard still boasts a historic path worth exploring. Before its incorporation, there is evidence of Paleo-Indian hunter groups inhabiting the area, with archeological artifacts dating back to as old as 6,000 BC. Otherwise, Brevard also relishes its nickname as "North Carolina's Land of Waterfalls" due to its collection of 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County, the country's highest concentration of waterfalls!
Abingdon is located in Virginia's Washington County and comfortably sits on the "Great Road", a popular route among pioneers traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's conveniently located within a drive from cities like Asheville, Charleston (West Virginia), Knoxville, Nashville, Richmond, and Roanoke. Abingdon was established in 1778 through the Assembly of Virginia.
This quaint Virginia town boasts a lively historic downtown area with 20 blocks of historic architecture and local boutiques. Travelers can find many things to do in the historic downtown area, including visiting Abingdon's oldest buildings at The Tavern or sipping some craft brews at any local breweries.
Romney, West Virginia
Romney rests in Hampshire County, lying on the South Branch Potomac River and south of Cumberland, Maryland. Romney sits in West Virginia, a US state part of the Appalachian Mountain network. The town is famous for its storied past, which is no surprise considering it's one of the oldest towns in West Virginia. Officially, the town was chartered in 1762.
Romney offers tourists a variety of historical experiences for curiosity-driven tourists. Take a walking tour of Romney at the Taggart Hall Civil War Museum and Visitor's Center, or discover Hampshire County's most historic cemetery at the Indian Mound Cemetery. Visitors can also explore other attractions, including the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad and West Virginia's Ice Mountain Preserve.
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Shepherdstown is conveniently located 90 minutes away from Washington, DC, and the Baltimore metropolitan area. Alongside Romney, Shepherdstown is one of West Virginia's oldest towns. Named after the town's founder, Thomas Shepherd, records indicate that the first settlement occurred in 1730!
History runs deep at Shepherdstown, which can be discovered at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum. Otherwise, visitors can explore the town's historic main street, "German Street", which was named after the early German settlers in the community. Civil War buffs can also learn more about America's bloody battle at the Antietam Battlefield.
Rogersville sits in Hawkins County in the Southeastern US state of Tennessee. Specifically, it's found in the Appalachian Mountains Ridge and Valley Ecoregion. Settled in 1775, Rogersville is Tennessee's second oldest town. The town was named after its founder, Joseph Rogers, and was settled by Davy Crockett's grandparents!
Rogersville is known for the birthplace of Tennessee's second-oldest courthouse at the Hawkins County Courthouse, and the state's oldest inn and post office. Tennessee's first newspaper, The Knoxville Gazette, was also printed here. Besides its amazing history, Rogersville is near Ebbing and Flowing Springs. This is one of the only two springs in the world that "ebb and flow" like a tide!
Jonesborough is one of Tennessee's oldest towns, as it was established in 1779, or 17 years before Tennessee was awarded with statehood! The Northeast Tennessee town's historic buildings were the first in the state to be registered under the National Register of Historic Places.
Relive the 18th century at Historic Jonesborough, which comfortably sits in the Appalachian Mountains. The "Story Telling Capital World" and its historic district will narrate the town's past, whether at the Taylor House (apparently haunted!) or catching a show at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre. Local history can also be explored by visiting Jonesborough Chester Inn Museum or embarking on a walking tour of the downtown area!
This Kentucky destination sits near Lexington and is part of the state's famous Bluegrass Region! Harrodsburg is known for being Kentucky's oldest town. Kentucky's oldest town was founded in 1774, cementing itself as the first permanent settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains.
Harrodsburg is open to visitors who want to see the rolling countryside, horse farms, and historic architecture. Lovers of American history should stop at Harrodsburg's historic downtown area and two notable attractions: the Old Fort Harrod State Park and the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.
The Fort Harrod State Park is a history museum highlighting Kentucky's pioneers' daily lives. Meanwhile, the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill down Highway 68 is a National Historic Landmark that houses 33 restored buildings and walks visitors through life during the 19th century at Pleasant Hill.