Smoky Mountains, Va.
There are few places as lovely, lush and laid back as Virginia's portion of the Smoky Mountains, which make them awfully alluring for city mice scampering away from Washington, D.C., sprawl and $351,000 average home prices or Charlottesville's college kids and keggers.
For those escaping Washington for the woods, the savings and sizable acreage can be overwhelming. The same $263,000 that buys a parking space near DuPont Circle is enough to buy a 1,344-square-foot cabin in Goshen with a view of Calf Pasture River, links to the hiking trails in adjacent George Washington National Forest and more than 16 (yes, 16) wooded acres. The cabin itself is admittedly spare -- a wood stove, vaulted ceilings and a walkout basement being the key amenities -- but the plot it sits on allows a buyer to build something much more creative out of view of what should be a humble guest home.
Still, even 16 acres can seem a bit stifling if city life has made you want to put as much tree and terrain as possible between you and the nearest person. Why not double it by checking out a 1,400-square-foot "hunting cabin" on 32 mountain acres in Newport? Judging by the trophies on the walls, there's plenty of good hunting to be done on the surrounding land. The panoramic views, wood-stove heat (don't worry, there's electric baseboard as backup) and cozy corners, however, make it just as inviting for buyers whose most involved hunt required choosing between the ostrich and buffalo meat in the Whole Foods butcher section.