Don’t underestimate how plugged-in a tiny Blue Ridge Mountain town can be. As far back as a decade ago, nearly 90 percent of Blacksburg’s locals were connected to the Internet, making it the world’s most wired place (seriously). Virginia Tech, on the fringe of downtown, has a lot to do with it. There’s easy high-speed access for Skyping to corporate HQ from your home office—as long as you remember to actually work between biking the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking the Appalachian Trail, and floating the New River.
A few years ago, Silicon Valley transplants invaded this old railroad depot, lured by easy access to Lake Tahoe and the Sierras and by the quick, three-hour drive time from the Bay Area. Now they’ve vanished as quickly as their portfolios, leaving only their magnificent homes outside of town—for sale at 50 cents on the dollar—and sterling broadband access.