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Fall Foliage Primer - October 5, 2016

 
 
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Fall Color Update - October 5, 2016

Choose your report:
Valle Crucis/BooneAshevilleWaynesvilleHendersonvilleGreenvilleKnoxville

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Valle Crucis/Boone, NCThis week we are beginning to see a little more color. As I travel around on the way to work, coming back home, out running errands, or doing something fun, I’m paying attention to the tint of the green. Right now, it’s getting to the time when you can see that the trees are thinking about getting prepared for winter. The greens are a little more yellow than their deep green of summer. Some of the maples are showing some reds and oranges in their crowns, and there are a few yellows here and there, too.

Probably the most color that you will see in the middle elevations, like around Boone proper, are in the maples near the roadways. Those always turn first because they face lots of stress factors that other trees do not – car exhaust, brine and slush in the winter, and having their roots a little more confined. Higher elevations, like around Grandfather Mountain, the colors are beginning to pop out. Higher elevations usually show their best color between the first and second week in October. Many people think that the colors are a little behind this year, but fall comes in its own time.

Our temperatures have yet to dip into the 30s and we haven’t had a frost yet. Those two happenings are what really get the color change underway. Temperatures for the upcoming week look to be moderate with highs in the 60s and maybe tickling the 70s and lows mostly in the 40s and 50s. We may have a few showers on Thursday into Friday, but other than that, it looks like beautiful weather to get out and enjoy a hike or a drive. Click over to Boone Weather to get an up-to-date local forecast.

If you enjoy a small, hometown festival, head on out to the small community of Todd (just off Highway 194 North). You’ll find lots of local music, food, crafts, and children’s activities. It’s held on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Here’s a LINK for more information.

This Sunday is the Boone Heritage Festival. Held on the grounds of the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum and Horn in the West, kids can try their hand at making scarecrows and making tin-punch lanterns and others will enjoy visiting with tradition bearers like Charlie Glenn, who makes fretless mountain banjos. Learn more about the festival HERE.

We’ll hope for a little more color for the report next week, until then…Happy Leafing!

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Asheville, NCI chuckled to myself when I saw a sign at a gas station this past weekend that read, “The Pumpkin Spice Oil Change Is Back!” Indeed, the pumpkin spice anything is seemingly everywhere. And being a lover of all things fall, I love every bit of it. And there’s more good news, my friends: fall weather and color change are finally back, too.

While steamy September felt every bit like August, the first few days of October have ushered in the cold, clear nights and crisp, sunny days we’ve all been anticipating. Looking through my photos from past Octobers, the highest elevations of the Blue Ridge Parkway were already at peak and there was quite a bit more color in the middle elevations by the start of the month. Based on the dates of those photos, I’d guess that we’re about 10 days behind the color change progression we usually see in Asheville.

I ventured to the most southern and northern portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway nearest Asheville this past weekend. Graveyard Fields (milepost 418.8) and Black Balsam (milepost 420) were not near peak color and a lot of what has changed was dull and brown. As I found elsewhere along the Parkway, it appears that this summer’s drought has taken its toll and some areas aren’t as colorful as they have been in the highest elevations by the beginning of October. However, there are quite a few brilliant fall trees as you head north on the Parkway between Bull Gap (milepost 375.2) and Craggy Gap (milepost 364.5). While most trees are still sporting their deep summer green and have yet to change, the cooler weather will usher in more dramatic changes in the coming week.

My family enjoyed some exciting sightings this past week as well. The mighty Monarch Butterfly is making its fall migration back to Mexico and many were spotted along the Blue Ridge Parkway this past weekend. We saw five Monarchs enjoying a snack of milkweed at the Cherry Cove Overlook (milepost 415.7). We also happened upon a black bear cub popping his head up along the Blue Ridge Parkway and making a fast getaway to the other side. Both the Monarch and bear cub sightings were so fleeting that I was unable to catch either with my camera. However, our neighbor was able to take a quick photo of an adult black bear that was strolling through our front yard one afternoon last week.  You can see in the photo above that the bear is wearing a collar – a sign that it’s a part of the fascinating NC Urban/Suburban Bear Study. You can read more about how Asheville locals are successfully co-existing with black bears HERE.

Looking ahead, Friends of Dupont State Forest are hosting Tour de Falls. This Waterfall Bus Tour will take you to Triple, High, and Bridal Falls as well as Lake Julia. On Saturday and Sunday, October 8th and 9th, you can catch a shuttle bus to these beautiful falls every 30 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. This is a wonderful way for those with limited hiking abilities to see the forest and falls in their autumn splendor. A donation of $6 for ages 6 to 17 and $12 for ages 18 and up is requested. For more information, click HERE.

The Downtown Asheville Association is hosting Oktoberfest in Pack Square Park on Saturday, October 8th. Enjoy local beer tastings, seasonal brews, Oktoberfest games, and German food fair in the bright sunshine. This is a ticketed event for ages 21 and up. If you can't make into the event, Oktoberfest is a still a joy to behold outside the festival gates. Downtown Asheville will be filled with yodeling, polka music, and cheerful festival-goers in their lederhosen. There's more information HERE.

Ray’s Weather is predicting a gorgeous week of fall weather ahead. Though the color is slow in coming, and may be spotty in areas due to drought conditions, rest assured that there’s a great deal of beauty to come. We’ve only just begun! The latest local weather information is regularly updated at Ray’s Weather found HERE.

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Waynesville, NCThere's a chill in the air, and you can feel that fall is upon us! When you walk outside you can breath in the refreshing mountain air. The colors are changing, little by little, and they are beautiful. This week the weather is predicted to have highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Most days will be cloudy as well. There is a 50% chance of rain on Friday, October 7th, so be prepared with jacket or umbrella. You can always click over to Waynesville Weather to get a forecast with data gathered from the weather station right here in the Mast Store.

There are several craft events going on in the area this week. If you are a quilter or just admire the beauty and nifty handwork in quilts, you may want to travel over to the High Country Quilt Show at the Maggie Valley Town Hall. It takes place October 6-8. To get more information, call 828-926-3169.

On the first Friday of the month through the end of the year, we celebrate Art After Dark. Hosted by members of the Waynesville Gallery Association, studios and galleries, along with restaurants and other merchants, stay open until 9 p.m. with music, artist openings, and even poetry readings.

October 8 is the 33rd Annual Church Street Art and Craft Show. Held on Historic Main Street in Downtown Waynesville, the show features juried art from over 100 crafters, entertainment on two stages, and children’s activities. Learn more HERE

And if you are looking for one more place you can visit with local area crafters, try the Autumn Leaves Craft Show that is put on by the Blue Ridge Artist and Crafters Association. It is being held at the Haywood County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on October 8 and 9.

Looking for a hike that will take your breath away? Try the Flat Laurel Creek trail off of Highway 215, the Pink Beds Loop, or Graveyard Fields off the Blue Ridge Parkway (near MP 419).

Also, there is a walk or "hike" that tours the Downtown Waynesville area. It is 6.2 miles and would be a nice evening walk with the cooler weather coming! To learn more, call 828-483-6372.

I look forward to our visit next week. 


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Hendersonville, NCBright orange pumpkins and loads of chrysanthemums are magically appearing on stoops and steps as everyone prepares to welcome autumn. Just the softest touch of color is finally showing up on the sugar maples, the burning bush and a few of the sweet gum trees in our area. These small pockets of color promise to spread until all the trees are covered in glorious glowing hues.

Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 50s to 60s along with little chance of rain, make this a week for playing outside. Sunshine and blue skies are calling, so let's see what is happening around town this week. To find an up-to-date local forecast to help you plan for your outing, click HERE.

Bullington Gardens is a public botanical garden on 12 acres and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Along with herb, rain, woodland and shade gardens there is a dazzling dahlia garden in full bloom. Dozens of butterflies dance through the gardens as you walk the paths, and birds are everywhere. For more information and directions, click over to their WEBSITE

Speaking of butterflies, the monarchs are migrating through the mountains right now, so keep on the lookout for them! The fields and meadows along the Blue Ridge Parkway are prime viewing areas for the monarchs - like Cherry Cove Overlook, south of Mount Pisgah. Look for goldenrod and wild asters that supply food for the butterflies on their long journey. A great web site with monarch migration maps and news about this year's migration is HERE

A wonderful way to enjoy our scenic wonders is the annual Tour de Falls at DuPont State Recreational Forest. It takes place on October 8 and 9 from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Buses take visitors to view High Falls, Triple Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Lake Julia. Buses will be available in the parking lot on DuPont/Staton Road. To find out more, follow this LINK

The historic Johnson Farm was a late 19th-century tobacco farm that became a popular summer tourist retreat in the early 20th century. Today, the farm is a heritage education center and farm museum. The farm features an 1870s brick house, a 1920s boarding house, a barn-loft museum, 10 historic buildings, two nature trails, and 15 acres of fields, forests, and streams. Guided tours are available Monday to Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.  The grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and you can walk along the quiet trails and listen to birds as you admire the turning leaves. For more information, click HERE

Be sure to stroll into Mast General Store before you go anywhere. Stock up on hiking supplies, snacks, maps, binoculars and bird or butterfly identification books so you always know where you are and what you are seeing. So, take a gander, take in the sights and feast your eyes on beautiful western North Carolina!


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Greenville, SCGreenville is still staying true to its name. Our leaves here are still very green with a few trees still trying to creep into their yellow phases. Some of the area Sugar Maple and Dogwood trees are beginning to show some signs of a orange ombre future. The muscadines have now abandoned their vines and are setting the perfect example for our leaves to follow. The cooler temperatures will do nothing but assist this highly anticipated work in progress. The area temperatures continue to complement autumn with the highs staying within the mid 80s. As for now our forecast is showing mostly sunny days ahead with the exception being Friday with a 60% chance of rain. Stay tuned to the forecast for unexpected thunderstorms as a result of Hurricane Matthew. Get Greenville’s 10-day forecast by clicking HERE

What pairs better with these fall temperatures than some primitive camping? Join the Albino Skunk Festival for three days of camping, live music, food and craft beer. There will be food vendors available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bring the family for they will also have entertainment for the kids that will include a playground, the SkunkArt bus and performances from The Secret Circus and more. The festival starts on October 6th and ends on October 8th. It is located about 35 minutes from Downtown Greenville on The Skunk Farm in Greer, SC. On Saturday Edible magazine will be hosting The Albino Skunk’s Farmers Market from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Don’t miss out this opportunity for fun for the whole family. Complete info and ticket pricing can be found HERE

Looking for a good laugh? We Welcome Ron White also known by “Tater Salad" to the Peace Center this Thursday, October the 6th. He is a Texas stand up comedian known for having a cigar in one hand a drink in the other. He has performed with Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, so you know he won’t disappoint. Tickets are available from $45-$65. For more info and to purchase tickets click HERE. This show is for mature audiences, so please don’t take your young ones. 

To get some relaxation out of the early stages of fall visit South Carolina’s last remaining covered bridge, Campbell’s Covered Bridge. It was built in 1909 to provide an easier route for farmers to bring their crops to the grist mill, which was owned and operated by Mr. Campbell. The bridge measures about 38 feet long and 12 feet wide and is now a perfect place to enjoy a picnic while enjoying the sounds of the Beaverdam Creek below. For a physical address click HERE

As promised the answer to last week's “corny” joke.
Q: Why shouldn’t you tell a secret in a cornfield?
A: Because its full of ears.

The best is yet to come! Hopefully next week I will have some more colorful leaf news from Greenville! Stay tuned!


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Knoxville, TN I was up in Cades Cove earlier this week. While it was beautiful, the leaves really haven’t changed much…yet. Our weather is predicted to be mostly sunny with just the slightest chance of a little rain on a few days. Highs in the 70s and 80s and lows in the upper 40s and 50s. Fall is a changeable time, so check out the forecast before heading out to your activities. 

With this being the biggest crowds that will visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I am trying to find events and places that would be less crowded, so you will be able to enjoy your leaf-looking adventures even more.

This weekend, October 7-9, you might want to take a short drive out to Norris, TN for the Tennessee Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia. In addition to enjoying live music performed by more than 70 musicians, you can also experience sorghum and lye-soap making, blacksmithing, and more. Sounds like fun! To plan your visit, follow this LINK

For those folks who love special historic places and live music, we have the Rocky Top Pickin’ Party at the Mabry Hazen House on October 14 at 6 p.m.

Mabry Hazen House is a historical home located a mile away from the Mast Store in Downtown Knoxville. This family-friendly and waste-free fundraiser for Keep Knoxville Beautiful is unlike any other in Knoxville; in between sets, pickers of all levels will form break out pickin’ parties around the grounds. Attendees who bring an instrument pay only $5 to enter. Ticket includes 3 free beverages. Food trucks will be on-site. Here’s a LINK to their Facebook event. 

Fort Loudon State Park is located 30 miles south of Knoxville, and they will be hosting the 18th-Century Trade Fair on October 15th and 16th.  During this event, you will have the opportunity to shop with numerous vendors of fine 18th-century goods, enjoy some lively performances and educational programs, and even see a battle between the French and English at the fort’s gates. Fort Loudon is one of the earliest British fortifications in the area. There are several good trails you can walk in the park, and the views of the lake and the mountains there are beautiful.  Here’s more about the STATE PARK

At Norris Dam State Park located about 30 minutes north of Knoxville, they will be hosting a Fall Color Cruise on the lake on October 17. This will be a leisurely boat ride that lasts about an hour.  Reservations are required and there is an admission price. 

Norris Dam has a great trail system with 15 trails ranging in length from .5 miles to 5 miles. They vary in degrees of difficulty, so there’s a trail that’s right for anyone. These trails traverse ridge tops, valleys, hollows and the lakeshore. Mountain biking and equestrian use are permitted on designated trails. Trail maps are available at the park office. If you can take the boat tour or go on your own hike, the colors during this time should be beautiful. This park will be busy but not as crowded. Follow this LINK to find out more about the park. 

See ya next week!

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