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Fall Foliage Primer - October 26, 2016

 

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Fall Color Update - October 26, 2016

Choose your report:
Valle Crucis/BooneAsheville • WaynesvilleHendersonvilleGreenville • Knoxville

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Valle Crucis/Boone, NC - Greetings to all leaf peepers! Here in the Boone and Valle Crucis area we are just beginning the weird part of the season where you’ll see great color on one ridge and right next to it on the opposite side, you’ll see lots of tree trunks and maybe an oak tree just getting ready to turn.

Last Friday’s high winds retired many of the area’s leaves, but there are still some places in high color. On a trip to Asheville a couple of days ago, Highway 221 from Marion to Linville had some areas of high color. Also Highway 183, which connects Highway 181 and Highway 221, had some spotty color. Some of the best color right now can be seen on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It won’t be surrounding you, but if you stop on any overlook and look down in the valley, you’ll see it rippling into the lower elevations.

Our weather for the next several days couldn’t be better for those of you wanting to get out and take a hike, kayak on a lake, or just sit and enjoy the view. Ray says our temperatures will be in the 60s and low 70s with just a slight chance of rain on Thursday. Lows will be in the 40s to around 50. I can’t believe that it is late October. Be sure to bring a jacket and/or fleece, just in case. Things can change quickly. To check the forecast before heading out, follow this LINK

This weekend is the last chance you have to catch Tweetsie’s Ghost Train. It departs for parts unknown on Friday and Saturday nights and is a night of scary and not-so-scary experiences. We highly recommend that you purchase tickets ahead of time because it is a VERY popular event. Here’s where you can find more INFO

For an adventure and brain teaser all in one, head on down to the Harvest Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. It’s located just a little way down the road from the Original Store. You can choose your pumpkin for this year’s Jack ‘o Lantern, take a hay ride, and challenge yourself not to get lost in the maze. There are even Family Flashlight Nights (bring your own flashlight). Here’s where you can find out MORE

For another haunting experience, visit the Haunting of Hickory Ridge. Tickets are limited, so please call ahead (828-264-2120). It’s the High Country’s only certified haunted attraction. The tour starts at 8 p.m. Here’s where you can find out more about the EVENT and Hickory Ridge Living History Museum. 

Well, that’s a wrap for this week. Happy Halloween! I’ll see you on the other side (otherwise known as next Wednesday).

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Asheville, NCThis past week, our daytime highs have gone from 82 degrees to 51 degrees, all in the span of a few days. Our wild fall weather this year never fails to keep us guessing about what each new day will bring. Nevertheless, it’s been a treat to lay out in the hammock on one afternoon and cozy up to the fire the very next day. Amazing fall color is coming down the mountains, and we even had our first taste of snow on the Blue Ridge Parkway this past weekend. Fall, you never fail to thrill and delight us with your surprises!

This past week, we took a new route to the Blue Ridge Parkway by accessing it from the Burnsville, NC area. My family and I had never been to this town before, and we enjoyed its brilliant art scene and quaint beauty.

Burnsville is a small town nestled in a mountain valley next to Mt. Mitchell. It's about 30 minutes north of Asheville and 10 minutes east of world-renowned art school, Penland School of Crafts. Barn quilts and beautiful murals adorn the buildings surrounding the town square, which is lined with stunning oak and maple trees showing of their brilliant fall color. The surrounding region boasts over 200 barn quilts! You can read more about the quilt trail HERE.

From Burnsville, we followed the Toe River along the Mount Mitchell Scenic Byway (NC Highway 80) to the Blue Ridge Parkway and took a right to head south on the Parkway from there. The color last Thursday was incredible! The highest elevations were past peak (Mt. Mitchell and Craggy Dome), but most everything in between revealed stunning fall color cascading down the mountainsides, especially in hilly and rocky areas where conditions have been particularly dry.

The canopy of trees along the parkway created a tunnel of deep red, cheerful orange, and brilliant yellow trees. It’s a Technicolor dream world in the middle elevations. A few of the most impressive overlooks for fall color right now are Ridge Junction (milepost 355.3), Green Knob (mp 350.4), and the Black Mountains Overlook (mp 342.2).

The very next day (this past Friday, October 21st) the dramatic dip into cold weather and rain left Mt. Mitchell covered in rime ice and snow. We didn’t venture up to see it for ourselves, but there’s a lovely photo of this early wintry event HERE.

After the wind and rain passed, I got a chance on Sunday to have our daughters’ neighbor friends over to work on a fall craft: crayon pumpkins. Check out Mast Store’s fall crafting with kids blog HERE for directions on how to make your own. They’re fun, festive, and easy to make!

In addition to putting the finishing touches on our Halloween costumes this weekend, we’re hoping to head over to the NC Arboretum in South Asheville. This 434-acre garden and natural area, located in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, showcases the unique flora and fauna of our region. Walking trails, nature exhibits, a mum quilt, and Bee Campus USA are only a handful of things to enjoy in this exquisite place. Now through the end of the year, the Arboretum is hosting The World of Giant Insects exhibit. Explore giant-sized statues of backyard insects, including a caterpillar and praying mantis, as well as educational and interactive displays. The NC Arboretum doesn't charge admission per person, but they do require a parking fee of $12 per vehicle. There's more information HERE.

Ray’s Weather is forecasting another beautiful week and weekend ahead. With highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s, we have a clean sweep of more perfect sunny days (except for a few small rain showers on Thursday). Now is the time to get outside and joy the best of fall in Asheville. See you in the great outdoors!

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Waynesville, NC This week you can feel that fall, crisp air in the mornings while drinking your cup off coffee. You can smell the smoke from the chimneys of the houses nearby. You can put on that cute scarf and those warm boots! 

The leaves have turned into those beautiful colors, and some are even starting to fall off of the trees. It's the perfect time to take an afternoon walk around town to see all of these magnificent colors surrounding us. The Blue Ridge Parkway is very popular right now, and the views there are spectacular.  Grab a jacket, some hot cocoa, and a blanket and head to Waterrock Knob overlook. It's the perfect place to watch the sunset! 

Our weather is going to be perfect, sans Thursday when we have a 60% chance of rain showers. Otherwise, it's going to be sunny and warm with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. That can always change quickly, so check the forecast and always bring a sweater or fleece and maybe a rain jacket with you. Here's a LINK to check the forecast to plan your trip. 

Are you looking for an adventure that's also a brain teaser? Check out the Corn Maize in historic Bethel. Here's where you can find out a little MORE before you go. 

Downtown Waynesville hosts Treats on the Street on Halloween evening from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Bring the little goblins to Main Street for safe trick or treating and fun!

Also in town this weekend is Spookmoot 2016 at the Haunted Hazelwood School. It's a fundraiser for Folkmoot USA and features three haunted halls, food trucks, Halloween treats, and spooky folklore characters from around the world. Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. until midnight. Admission is $15. 

See you next week!

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Hendersonville, NC - Change is in the air! The wind blew in and swept away most of the remnants of summer, and I believe autumn is here to stay. It is predicted that we will have highs in the mid-60s to 70 and lows in the 40s. Long nights for snuggling by the fire and cozy flannel sheets to go to bed with- I just love this time of year!

The fall leaf color has been slow in coming this year, probably because of the warm weather lasting so far into October. But the weather has cooled significantly, and the forecast is for sunny and cool this coming week, and that should speed up color development. Be sure to check the FORECAST before leaving home, so you’ll be prepared for whatever temperatures are in store.

The colors have really started to appear now – they are mostly the yellows and oranges of the birches, poplars, magnolias, and maples, but also bright red maples, sourwoods, and black gums can be spotted now. The wind last week did strip some trees of their top-most leaves, but not too many!

It would be wonderful to take a hike through Dupont Forest or perhaps drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway this week. The higher elevations are past their peak color, but the view to the surrounding valleys should be spectacular.

Now, Halloween is a few days away and there are exciting Halloween happenings all around Hendersonville this week. Check out this WEBSITE for a list of corn mazes, haunted houses and all things Halloween/

On Saturday, October 29th at Fletcher Community Park there will be a Halloween Carnival from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Take all your little goblins and ghosts for a free family event. There will be Halloween carnival games, inflatables, a hayride and a costume contest.

Meet me at Trick-or-Treat Street in Historic Downtown Hendersonville! Taking place on Main Street, October 31st from 4:30 to 7 p.m., there will be an awesome costume contest for kids and adults along with a dance party between 4th and 5th Avenues. The merchants will be passing out treats all along the street for all the witches, scarecrows, vampires and mummies.

Hope you enjoy leaf-looking and Halloween in Hendersonville this week!

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Greenville, SCWelcome back everyone! We are still seeing lots of color this week. Just when I think the leaves are at their peak of beauty, they surprise me with something better. The maples around town are something spectacular. The Ginkos are still on watch for they have not yet reached their full yellow color. Some of the Japanese maples in the area are starting to turn red around the edges. At this point most of the same trees are at different stages, but this makes the color changing process much more interesting. If you are seeking color, it is a good time to start thinking about a leaf peeping trip. 

The weather will only make your fall adventure more enjoyable.The cooler temperatures this week have been complemented perfectly by the sun but the minute it goes down you start to get cold fast, so pack a nice jacket for your visit. This week it seems the weather is going to stay about the same with our highs remaining in the upper 70s. It is expected to stay sunny this week and humidity looks like its going to be hanging out around 50% this week. For further details on the 10 day forecast the week click HERE

I'm excited to announce hockey season is back! Affiliates of the NHL New York Rangers, join Greenville’s ECHL team, the Swamp Rabbits, at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Friday, October 28th at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $10-$30, and you can purchase them on Ticket Master in advance HERE. Food and beverages will be available throughout the game at concessions. This is a fun event for anyone, even if they are not the biggest sports fan. 

For the kids this week, I found out that the Children’s Museum of the Upstate will be offering “Booseum” on October 29th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The museum is taking on this Halloween theme on Saturday, and there will be no extra charge on top of admission. Enjoy cookie decorating from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. They will also have Halloween science experiments, storytelling, a spider toss, pumpkin bowling, and much more. You will even have a chance to try a chocolate-covered bug, if you like. Children under 1 are free. Children 1-9 will be $15 and Adults $10. For further information, click HERE

I found the perfect place for all of you to visit. Fred W. Symmes Chapel or "Pretty Place” is a somewhere everyone needs to experience at least once. It is about an hour's drive from Downtown Greenville, but at the end of your trip, you will find that it will be worth every second of it. Pretty Place is a open air chapel located at the YMCA Camp Greenville from every seat within it you are overlooking surrounding mountains in a stunning way that no words can describe. I strongly recommend you giving them a call if you are considering visiting to make sure the chapel is open to the public. Sometimes weddings and other private events take priority. Give them a call at 864-836-3291 or check their schedule online by clicking HERE to make sure it is open. 

Now that Autumn has made its way to Greenville I look forward to reporting further beautiful leaves next week. See you then. 

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Knoxville, TN - I had the chance to visit "the peaceful side" of the Smokies in Townsend, Tennessee.  It was busy though especially the traffic coming and going into Cades Cove this time of year.  If waiting in traffic is not your thing, I suggest getting off the road and going on a hike to really see some fall colors. Finding a trail is easy because there are over 800 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

We decided to take one near the entrance to Cade's Cove called Bote Mountain. The views were spectacular, and there was not a lot of folks on the trail that day. No matter what the weather forecast says, I suggest packing a jacket, hat, and gloves this time of year because even though the temps can get up to 75, the morning lows can be chilly.  You need a good backpack, so you have room to carry those extra items and bring a lunch so you can find a good spot on the trail to snack and watch the pretty leaves blow in the breeze.  

I also recommend a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend. This is a fantastic place to see. It celebrates the cultural and social heritage of the area the park comprises. There are interactive gallery exhibits and educational programs you can be part of. My favorite exhibit focuses on the Cherokee and pre-Cherokee people who lived in the area.  Please check out their WEBSITE for more information on the hours of operation and the tours they provide. 

If Halloween is one of your favorite holidays, check out the Shadow Side Ghost Tour of Knoxville.  Mast General Store is not the only interesting place on Gay Street. Apparently there are some ghost tales that have Gay Street as a backdrop. Here's a little more of the tour's description: "Ghosts on Gay Street – Knoxville’s main thoroughfare is host to more than fine restaurants and retail establishments. Phantasms of fires and family feuds also roam the sidewalks and hover in historic places." Follow this LINK to reserve a spot.  

The Tennessee Theatre is hosting a family-friendly event on October 29 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. It's an open house that includes screenings of classic Looney Toons, face painting, and a Mighty Wurlitzer concert. You can learn more HERE

The weather will continue to warm and sunny the next week. We are looking at highs in the mid 80s with lows mostly in the 50s. Be sure to check the FORECAST before heading out, so you'll be prepared. Don't put away the Chacos just yet. You may need them on your hike or Ghost Tour. 

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