I am really a newbie in Blue Ridge - it has only been three years since I started calling this area home - but I have seen some major changes in those three years, especially during the past twelve months or so.
Three years ago - alas a few months ago - downtown was deserted after 5:00 p.m. Stores were very seasonal and there were not many great restaurants to speak of. This is changed now, and changed for the better! It is hard to find a good parking spot nowadays; stores are open later and great restaurants are popping up all over the place.
First: much better leadership in the City
Secondly: (would you believe?) wine and beer! Yes, we do have a pouring license now, which brings better restaurants which bring more tourists who will love this area and decide to buy a part or full time home! This will change demographics - for the better I hope - will undoubtedly benefit business, increase the need for services and hence provide so badly needed jobs, income and tax revenue!
I am very excited about the changes - we live in interesting times!