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Ten Favorite Mountain Towns in the South

Some of our picks are celebrated locales; others may be new to you. All share these essential elements: natural splendor, a colorful history, and a slate of interesting places to drink, dine, and do a little shopping.

Backroad biking: Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest, South Carolina

Hotel Domestique—plunked into a quiet, lonely patch of the Blue Ridge foothills—feels very French. There’s its rustic, chateau-like architecture and, of course, the name. It comes from the role that cofounder and three-time U.S. National Road Race champion George Hincapie typically played on the pro cycling tour: the domestique, or support rider, who pushes through the wind and creates a slipstream for his team leader to ride in. For Hincapie, that was Lance Armstrong for seven Tour de France races.

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