Perhaps it’s our somewhat Puritanical roots, but Virginia seems to rank a little lower nationally when it comes to “sinful” activities. As you might remember, we recently did a story on the
rates of excessive drinking in the state, and even with some counties ranking on the high side, Virginia overall ranked as one of the drier states. So, we thought it would be interesting to look at some other vices.
1. City of Norton
7.5 vice businesses per 10,000 people
Norton might rank high for vices, but it also ranks high for natural beauty. Located in Wise County, Norton is home to one of The Crooked Road's music venues and the Virgina-Kentucky Opry. Likewise Norton offers plenty of natural beauty, including Flag Park Recreation Area shown here.
2. Highland County
4.394 vice businesses per 10,000 people
Don't let Highland County's "vices" fool you, it's still a great place to be. Sometimes referred to as "Virginia's Switzerland," Highland County is a beautiful mix of farmland, small towns and breathtaking mountain views. And while we can assume this sign is pointing to the nearest "ABC" Liquor Store, perhaps it really is just a place that sells letters?
3. City of Galax
4.3 vice businesses per 10,000 people
Galax might rate high in vices, but they rate just as high in small town charm and traditional music. Called the "Gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains," Galax has long been a haven for old time music lovers. Since 1935, this quaint little town has hosted the Old Fiddler's Convention, one of the most prestigious competitions for traditional music in the country.
4. City of Fredericksburg
4.242 vice businesses per 10,000 people
The city of Fredericksburg may have a few vices tucked away in the corners, but even more prominent is this city's incredible past. Once a stomping ground for the likes of George Washington himself, Fredericksburg is rich in charm and history.
5. City of Radford
4.19 vice businesses per 10,000 people
As a relatively small city with a relatively large college, it's not that surprising that Radford provides some place where young people can sow their wild oats. But even with a few vices, Radford offers a classic small town experience, surrounded by the natural beauty of Southwest Virginia.
6. City of Charlottesville
4.122 vice businesses per 10,000 people
When Thomas Jefferson started his "academic village" at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, he may not have foreseen all the vices that would pop up around it. But considering UVA alum like Edgar Allen Poe and his somewhat dishonorable discharge from "THE University," it may not be such a surprise. But vices aside, Charlottesville continues to be ranked one of the nation's best places to live for it's beauty, charm and rich history.
7. City of Emporia
3.46 vice businesses per 10,000 people
With a history dating back to the early 1700s, Emporia is an independent city within Greensville County and is the second smallest city in Virginia. Emporia is also a major transportation crossroads with major railroad lines and interstates nearby, which might contribute to the higher than average vice rates in the area.
8. City of Colonial Heights
3.432 vice businesses per 10,000 people
While Colonial Heights may have a few vice establishments, it doesn't lack positive qualities. Like many of the areas surrounding Richmond, Colonial Heights has a history that dates back centuries. And in addition to parks like the Appomattox River Trail shown here, Colonial Heights also offers wonderful historical and cultural opportunities like the Violet Bank Museum and the Swift Creek Mill Playhouse.
9. City of Richmond
3.078 vice businesses per 10,000 people
As the largest city (by far) on our list and the state's capital, Richmond has long been known for its diverse neighborhoods, population and activities. And while there's no denying that Richmond has its vices, Richmonders are fortunate to have an even greater store of culture, history and entertainment.
10. City of Winchester
3.009 vice businesses per 10,000 people
Look past a…well, slightly higher than average number...of vice establishments and Winchester is a city full of beauty. Home to the annual Apple Blossom Festival, Winchester's history includes Native Americans, European explorers, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. And of course, Winchester was the home town of Patsy Cline - so really, it can't be that bad!
What do you think about the cities and counties that made this list? Does it seem accurate? We would love to hear what you have to say, especially if you have thoughts on what tends to lead to higher vice rates in an area. Be sure to share your thoughts below!