Fall tourism equals big boost to business in Damascus

DAMASCUS, Va. - Did you know Damascus, Virginia ranks number four in Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns in America? People flock to the town this time of year as the leaves begin to change color, and businesses are banking on the scenery.

A few miles on a bike down the Virginia Creeper Trail, that's the plan for Cheryl Hames after driving from Charlotte, North Carolina. "I think we've chosen a great weekend, the colors seem to be fabulous and the weather is perfect," she said.

The red, gold, and orange of fall means a lot of green for businesses in downtown Damascus. "It's non-stop from eight in the morning until the last shuttle," said Steve Mann, owner of The Bike Station.

Mann tells News 5 October is The Bike Station's busiest month, a boost by almost 40%, "We run out of bicycles, all the shuttles are full, and a lot of people show up don't have reservations, don't know that they need reservations."

But if you're going to ride next year, you should reserve your bike as early as June or July.

At Quincey's Pizza, October is one of the busiest months as well, serving bikers and hikers. "Probably a good 80% are out of town people," said employee Sara DeSimone.

This restaurant, like others, relies on fall tourism. "We're almost like a ski town in reverse, through the winter it gets much slower," added DeSimone.

For friends all the way from Murfreesboro, Tennessee a weekend trip to see the colors change, may cost money but they end up richer. "Definitely worth making the memories, taking some pictures, and enjoying the scenery," said Jessica Stidham.

News 5 did some more digging, peak foliage color in Southwest Virginia lasts from October 10th to 20th.

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry colors can be seen in Poplars, Sweet Gum, Dogwood, and Maple trees.

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