I have done the exact same thing. Went to Mt. Airy NC and loved it so much wanted to move there. This was back in the 60s I kept saying when I graduate I am going to live her. Then after Graduation went to Mt. Airy and Hillsville VA to visit.
I cannot describe the feeling I had but it was like you said coming home. This was in 1973. I started my family history in 1979 and guess where one of the first places was I had to research. Hillsville VA and Mt Airy NC. I was so shocked and scared at first it almost made me want to quit. But instead I was more determined.
Now when we are traveling and that feeling comes over me I immediately take out the notebook I keep in my purse and write down where we are in case I come across it in my research.
My family also believes you keep coming back. I sure hope I am on my last trip. Im tired now.