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Fall Foliage Primer - September 28, 2016

 
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  Fall Color Update - September 28, 2016

Choose your report: Valle Crucis/Boone • Asheville • Waynesville • Hendersonville • Greenville  Knoxville 

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Valle Crucis/Boone, NC - It is hard to believe that another year has gone by and we are at the beginning of fall. As I am compiling my report for you, the Boone area is having its first significant rain in more than a month. It is very welcome because everything is getting quite crispy. By the end of the week, though, the weather clears and more “fall-like” temperatures begin. 

Some of the highest elevations are beginning to see a little color, including Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak of the Blue Ridge. As the fall color season continues, the colors will progress down into the valleys like a wave rolling into shore. Some highlights to watch for include sourwoods, which are turning a rich red, dogwoods, which are a little deeper red, and some poplars and buckeyes that will give you a splash of yellow. Overall, though, it is mostly green.

Our local weatherman, Ray, is predicting very pleasant temperatures for the coming weekend with highs in the 60s and lows in the upper 40s. You can get an up-to-date weather report with a click HERE

Events of interest this weekend include the Colors of Grandfather – a naturalist-led walk at Grandfather Mountain where you'll learn more about the plants and trees that call this ancient mountain home.  You can learn more by following this LINK.

For a scary good time, you might want to go to Tweetsie’s Ghost Train. It’s on Friday and Saturday nights through October 29. Plan ahead here. This is a very popular event, so you’ll want to purchase your tickets before the night you attend just in case.

If you like football, the Mountaineers take on the Panthers from Georgia State on Saturday. Kickoff time has been moved to noon. To get the latest game day information, click HERE. We'll see you at The Rock. Go App!

Catch you next week, when we'll have a little more color to show you.

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Asheville, NC - Forget the holidays, fall is the most wonderful time of the year. Happy autumn, leaf lovers! My husband lovingly teased me last week about the thousands of miles I’ll put on the car in the coming weeks. We live mere minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, so I journey north and south several times a week to the highest elevations for a sneak preview of the color to come. As the season continues, I’ll head over to the Biltmore Estate to see their grounds awash in color. I’ll also cruise along the stunning residential roads around Sunset Mountain and the Grove Park Inn in North Asheville. Downtown Asheville usually begins to peak in late October and I end each fall season with a trip to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure where fall color arrives last. Won’t you join me as we anticipate another wonderful season? 

I have good news and bad news for the last week of September, my friends. The bad news is that we’re in a moderate drought, as we have been all summer. Therefore, crispy is the word. Many of the trees that are already changing are yellow at best or have gone straight to brown. However, as you see in my photos, there are a few brilliant pops of red around Craggy Dome on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  
 
So, what’s the good news? With a cold, wet front moving in for a few days, we may see a transition into more brilliant fall color in the higher elevations beginning this week and into the weekend. “Dr. Beverly Collins, a biology professor and fall foliage forecaster at Western Carolina University, states that the region's summer weather did not reach the extreme conditions that could pose a threat to fall leaf colors. Although vibrancy may vary from mountainside to mountainside due to warmer-than-normal weather, her prediction is that the disparity in precipitation amounts from the beginning to end of the summer could be favorable for a longer lasting leaf-change this year.” You can read the rest of this article at PR Newswire
 
This past weekend, I drove north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens (milepost 364.6) and Mt. Mitchell (milepost 349.9). Mt. Mitchell is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River! Around Craggy Dome, the Mountain Ash Berries were brilliant with red fruit and added a cheerful splash of color against the backdrop of trees still showing off their late summer green. Large patches of Goldenrod also brilliantly heralded the coming of fall. Overall, summer is still in full effect on the Parkway, but then occasional Maple, Sassafras, and Birch trees are showing off some lovely fall color.  
 
This past weekend, my family also stopped by the National Historic Site, Vance Birthplace, in Weaverville, NC (just a few miles north of Asheville). This pioneer homestead was the birthplace of Zebulon Vance, former Civil War Officer, NC Governor, and U.S. Senator. We enjoyed one of their living history programs, the Militia Muster and Encampment. Set up just like it was in a 18th century, the muster camp offered a weekend full of militiamen practicing musket drills, and the women demonstrated weaving, campfire cooking, and candle making.  If you missed it, the Vance Birthplace is hosting an Open Hearth Cooking event coming up on Saturday, October 15th, and Appalachian Heritage Day will be celebrated on Saturday, October 29th. Check out this WEBSITE for more information to plan your visit to this fascinating and beautifully preserved National Historic Site.   
 
If you're looking for something in town, Art in the Park, in Downtown Asheville, is a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. For the next three Saturdays in October (1st, 8th, and 15th), enjoy this free outdoor festival featuring some of our region's finest artists. The event is from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in Pack Square, right next to the Vance Monument. The monument is named after, you guessed it, Zebulon Vance! There’s more information about this family friendly event HERE
 
In the week ahead, I’m going to journey south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to a gorgeous area that usually experiences color change first due to its high elevation: Sam’s Knob and Black Balsam (near milepost 420) and Graveyard Fields (milepost 418). I’ll let you know what I’ve found next week. 
 
In the meantime, the Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a helpful resource for planning your trip to the area and it also offers some interesting information about the science behind the changing leaf color. Check it out HERE.  

And before I forget, you can get a local weather forecast from Ray HERE. You'll want to see if you need to bring a rain jacket or a fleece for your adventure. 

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Waynesville, NCFall is officially here, and we're starting to see hints of it all through the mountains! The weather is mild - highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. The skies have been clear and sunny; however, there is a chance of rain on Thursday the 26th of September 2016. Here's a LINK where you can find a local forecast with information gathered from a weather station right on top of the Mast Store in Downtown Waynesville. Not many leaves have turned quite yet, and the color change is spotty, but the scenery is ALWAYS spectacular.

Speaking of scenery, there are a couple of local hikes you do not want to miss! Both Flat Laurel Creek (located off of 215) and Hemphill Bald (also known as the Catalochee Divide Trail), located off of Heintooga Ridge Road via the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stunning mountainous views overlook the Smokies, and wildlife can be seen throughout the hikes, from the moment you hit the trail head until you finish your invigorating hike!

If you are looking for something to do to see the scenery and the kids will like it, too, ride on over to Dillsboro and Bryson City to take the Pumpkin Patch Express. The Great Smoky Mountain Railway takes a scenic journey with all of the Peanuts Gang. HERE's where you can find more information on tickets and times.

As we say in Appalachia, "Happy Fall y'all!"

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Hendersonville, NCFog like tendrils of smoke drifts through the early morning air. Impossibly blue skies grace the days while cicadas and crickets sing an afternoon chorus that lasts until evening and lulls us to sleep in the cool, crisp nights. Just a small tease of autumn, but by these things we know, fall is on its way.  
 
The weather this week will be wonderful! Highs in the mid 60s to mid 70s and lows in the 50s. Lots of sunshine and low humidity. Outstanding weather for oodles of outdoor activities! HERE's where you can check the local forecast, so you'll be prepared for whatever is in store. 
 
This weekend, Historic Downtown Hendersonville will host the 57th Annual Art on Main, sponsored by the Arts Council Of Henderson County. Many fine arts and crafts by artists from the southeastern region of N.C. will be represented. Walk along our beautiful Main Street and watch live demonstrations by local artists and artisans. Art on Main will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 1st and 2nd. 
 
We are not seeing much color in the leaves yet, but as I strolled along the trails at Jackson Park, the fall wildflowers were in full bloom and attracting butterflies galore. Jackson Park is located near the heart of downtown - just follow 4th Avenue East from Main Street and after five blocks you run right into the park.  
 
The birding at the park is well known, and we have several easy trails to follow. This time of year it is possible to see yellow-billed cuckoos, cerulean warblers, and Philadelphia vireos, to name a few. 
 
Another attraction at Jackson Park is our brand new 18 hole disc golf course. It is receiving a lot of attention and praise. Appropriate for all ages and skill levels, just grab a Frisbee, your family and go. 
 
Jackson Park will be hosting Farm City Day on Saturday October 1st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This family-friendly event features antique and modern farm equipment, crafts, children's activities, wagon rides, a petting zoo, tractor pulls, food, live music and dancing. City folk and country folk will both enjoy a fun family day. 
 
So, as we laze our way through the early days of fall, keeping a sharp eye out for the first leaf colors to appear, we can look forward to all the lovely leaf looking in our future! 

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Greenville, SCFall is finally here! If you have visited Greenville lately this may be hard to believe. Our days have been pretty hot with temperatures reaching the mid 90s. Luckily, this week we may get our closest taste of fall with our expected highs only reaching a max of 83 degrees. You can get Greenville’s 10 day forecast by clicking HERE.

It should be perfect weather for a nice walk in Downtown Greenville's Falls Park. The leaves here vary with many brilliant shades of green. The main exception to my findings have been a few sneaky yellow leaves hiding in our Poplar and  Sweetgum trees. A few distant trees appear to have a bit of an bronze hue appearing from the crowns. The mornings are the best for a glimpse of fall. The sunrise brings a lovely warm light really complements the fall tease we are getting out of our leaves this week. Hopefully next week we will see more progress.

Though the leaves in Greenville are not quite on the same page as fall it seems the events are! This weekend we will be say “Prost!” for NOMA Square will be Hosting a four day Oktoberfest! It starts on Thursday the 29th and ends on October 2nd. Get here at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and you can enter the bratwurst eating contest for a chance to win a gift card to the "2016 Best of The Upstate" award-winning restaurant named Roost. If that isn’t your thing just come hang out in your lederhosen or dirndl and enjoy the live bands and cold beer while snacking on a giant pretzel. You can get more info including a schedule and times HERE.

If you are looking for something a little more low key, but still pleasant, then check out our Saturday market! The air in the early part of the day is just cool enough for you to enjoy a cup of coffee while browsing. You can find everything farm fresh produce and artisan breads to reasonably-priced flower arrangements and handmade soaps. They usually have a band, so you can enjoy live music while you shop. If this sounds up your alley then you can find more info HERE including a list of vendors. Don’t forget to stop by The Swamp Rabbit Bakery display for a blueberry scone!

If you happen to be looking for a super light hike, then I have the perfect one for you. The trail is located in Pickens County and takes 15 minutes give or take. Be aware of loose rocks and slippery grounds. The trail will come to a viewing area you will be pleasantly surprised by Twin Falls. If you can make it up after a good rain then the viewing will be at its best. Click HERE for the directions and the physical address.

I thought I would “leaf” you in the fall spirit with my love for “corny” jokes. The answer will appear on next weeks post:
Q: Why shouldn’t you tell a secret in a cornfield?

I’m Victoria from the Greenville Mast Store I will see you back here next week with further leaf-peeping results.

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PHOTO COMING SOON!

Knoxville, TNThe leaves here in East Tennessee have not yet started a lot of changing. If you are able to make a trip up into the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will see some leaves beginning to turn. Another good place to drive would be the Foothills Parkway. It is located near the Park, too. The weather looks to be very pleasant for the next week with highs in the mid 70s to mid 80s and lows in the 50s. Be sure to check the local forecast before visiting. Fall can be a very "changeable" season. 

In general, the leaves don't hit their peak here in our area until the middle October up until early November. Keep in mind that this is the most popular time for visitors at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and towns on its border.  The beauty of the turning of the leaves in the Smokies is known all over the world.

We are very lucky to have some amazing state parks in and around Knoxville where a person could experience the beauty of fall without so much of the crowd. 

This is for anyone who likes fall and Halloween. On October 7, the Big Ridge State Park will be hosting a ghost hike. Big Ridge is one of the first state parks in Tennessee it was a Civilian Conservation Corps development created when Norris Dam was built. It is only about a 30-minutes drive from Knoxville, and you'll find lots of great trails there. The fee for the Ghost Hike is $5 per person and you'll want to meet at the Grist Mill around 7 p.m. to enjoy this easy 1-mile hike that's accompanied by a ranger spinning tales. For further information call Big Ridge State Park office at 865-992-5523.

They call Townsend, Tennessee the peaceful side of the Smokies. Townsend does border the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it's usually a lot less crowded. You'll find lots of neat shops and restaurants there, too. While in Townsend, stop by the the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center. This museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is a great place to learn more about the culture of the area. It has several interactive displays, so you don't just look, you get to experience your stay. They are holding a lecture series on October 6 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. called More About the Mountains. And on October 7, you'll want to catch the Appalachain Tales and Melodies Concert. Admission to the concert is $8 per person. You can get more details on their WEBSITE or call 865-448-0044.

We'll visit again next week with more places to see and things to do during your leafing adventure. 

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