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October 18, 2017 13 minute READ

Fall Foliage Primer - October 18, 2017

tags Fall Foliage Primer
locations Asheville | Annex - Valle Crucis | Boone | Greenville | Hendersonville | Knoxville | Original - Valle Crucis | Waynesville

Week four is filled with special events, festivals, and fall color. Asheville, Waynesville, and Hendersonville are stretching toward their peak color, while Knoxville and Greenville are still a ways off.  In Valle Crucis and Boone, the color is here and there, with some spots being past peak and others still waiting to begin their final act. Overall, the weather for being outside and enjoying whatever is around the bend is going to be just about perfect everywhere!

FALL COLOR UPDATE - October 18, 2017

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


Valle Crucis/Boone, NC Well, dear friends, I have to be honest with you. This fall’s color season is downright weird. It goes right along with the weather, which has also been downright weird. We finally had some frost in the Boone area. Temperatures dipped down into the low 30s, which should lead to fantastic color change. Our weather forecast for the rest of the week and weekend couldn’t be any better. Sunny days with highs in the 60s to pushing 70 and lows in the mid-30s to mid-40s. The next chance of rain looks like next Monday. The forecast can always change – fall is known for that – so, you’ll want to head over to get the local forecast at Booneweather.com.

And now for a look at the colors. There are some places where you’ll notice tree trunks and branches with a few colorful leaves in their crowns. In other places, you’ll see lots of green where the colors haven’t even considered showing themselves. I turned to Dr. Neufeld at Appalachian State University, who is also a leaf watcher, to see if he had any insight into the color condition. He is at a loss, too, but believes the unusual weather has had a lot to do with the color starting and stalling.  

The bottom line is you’ll see various levels of color if you visit over the next week. While you probably won’t be engulfed in color, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed either because the weather will be hard to beat.

This weekend is a BIG weekend in the Valle Crucis/Boone area. There are two huge festivals occurring – the Valle Country Fair (come early, it starts at 9 a.m.) in Valle Crucis and the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk – and the Chanticleers from Coastal Carolina University are traveling up the mountain to take on the Mountaineers on Saturday afternoon (follow this LINK for game day info). If you haven’t made reservations and plan on staying, please call High Country Host at 800-438-7500 to find vacancies. Rooms will be hard to come by without prior planning this weekend.

You might want to stop by the Watauga Farmers’ Market on Saturday to pick up some apples to enjoy during the winter. Last year, I picked up some Limbertwigs to make some apple butter. They cook down really good and have a dandy taste. They also will winter over well in your garage.

For a frightfully fun activity, you might want to head out to Tweetsie’s Ghost Train, which will be running this weekend and next, or try the Haunted Horn: The Curse of the Wendingo, which takes place at the Horn in the West grounds. 

Until next week, I’m out looking for more fall colors and fun things to do.



Asheville, NCHello from Asheville! It looks like fall has finally hit at last. We have chilly weather in the forecast for the next week with highs in the mid to low 70s and lows in the 40s. Other than the chill, it is perfect leaf-peeping weather, with sunny days predicted for the next week. For weather updates check this LINK.

The leaves are finally beginning to show their true colors here in Asheville, and I think we may hit peak here in the next few weeks. The reds along roadways are finally fading into oranges and yellows that come with late autumn.

For those wanting to travel away from the city, places like Craggy Gardens (MP 364) along the Blue Ridge Parkway are ideal for mountain views with a highlight of leaf color. Look for the color down in the valley and along Ridge lines while you're up there, unfortunately much of the highest elevations are either done or do not change color.  However, the view from the visitor center and from the Glassmine Falls overlook a few miles further north, still provide some magnificent views of fall at its finest, with the added bonus of mountain scapes behind it.

If you are looking to gather some leaf pictures a little closer to home. Places like the North Carolina Arboretum and the Biltmore Estate have large forested areas with both hiking trails and  natural areas to explore, and both are within ten miles of downtown Asheville. Both places do have entry fees however, so plan accordingly.  

There is also the Asheville Botanical Gardens next to the University of North Carolina at Asheville, which provides nice easy trails and access to a nice stream. The Botanical Gardens may be small but it is a popular place to explore nature very close to the center of town. Azalea and French Broad River Park are also nice options. I hope to get pictures from one or all of these places in the upcoming weeks, so even if you aren't able to get out to any of these places check back, I should have a few pictures to show you. 

This week is filled with things to do, the biggest of which is the 22nd Annual LEAF Festival. This event runs all weekend from October 19-22 at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain (about 20 minutes east of Asheville). LEAF is a popular event for locals and provides live music, showcases local artists, and provides a fun, family-friendly atmosphere in a beautiful part of Buncombe County. 

The Southern Highlands Craft Fair is also happening this weekend on October 20-22 at the US Cellular Center in Downtown Asheville. The Southern Highlands Craft guild is one of the oldest Craft guilds in the country and has nearly 200 local artists from all along the Appalachians. If you enjoy supporting local artists and want unique or historic art forms, this is the event for you. 

I hope to take advantage of the nice fall weather that has finally come to Asheville, and whether it's up in the mountains or here in Asheville proper I hope to see you out there. Safe travels!



Waynesville, NCThis week will see the most significant weather change so far for the 2017 fall season. Expectations in the mountains are for lows in the 30s with daytime highs into the mid to upper 60s, but don’t despair as it won’t be long before we will probably get many more of those 70 degree days that makes this area so popular. The weather is highly changeable during fall, so please click on over to this LINK for a local forecast to plan your outing. 

Just outside of Waynesville and next to the Blue Ridge Parkway is the historic and very popular destination of Maggie Valley. Packed with unique shops and restaurants, it is also close to the Smoky Mountain National Park making it an exceptional location to use as a central lodging spot while conducting day visits around this area in Western North Carolina. No matter what time of year you visit, there is something for everyone from winter snow skiing at Cataloochee Ski Area, a visit to the Wheels Through Time museum, hiking, white water rafting, or leisurely drive through Maggie Valley’s portion of the Haywood County Quilt Trail.

The Waynesville Mast Store will hold its annual Tent Sale later this week in conjunction with one of Waynesville’s biggest festival events of the year...the Apple Harvest Festival. This year’s event which has been previously recognized as one of the “10 Best Fall Harvest Festivals in the Nation” will take place on Saturday, October 21st, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Downtown Waynesville. 



Hendersonville, NCHot apple cider, pumpkin pies, raking up piles of leaves for jumping in, and crisp fall evenings for walking the dog - these are the signs of the season we all love, autumn.

Another week of unseasonably warm temperatures is behind us, and we are watching out for sunshine and cool nights ahead. We are expecting the daytime temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s and the nights should drop down to the low 40s. It will be beautiful! Here's where you can find a LOCAL forecast before checking out all the interesting events this week.

The Halloween Carnival will be October 21st at Jackson Park from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. There will be games, inflatables and trick-or-treating for the kids. Be sure to wear your best costume or funny face! Stay for the movie at 8 p.m. “Monster House” will be shown on the big screen. Free family fun! Call the Henderson County Parks and Recreation office at 828-697-4884 for more information.

WNC Fall Harvest Days starts October 19th and goes to October 21st at the WNC Agricultural Center. The gates open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $8.00 for adults, children 12 years and under are free. There will be crafters, antique tractors, tractor pulls, antique tools and collectibles. 

The Cradle of Forestry will be presenting an outdoor drama called The Legend of Tommy Hodges on Friday and Saturday October 20th and 21st with three showings each evening. On Halloween night, in 1906, a student named Tommy Hodges disappeared from the Biltmore Forest School and ….. Sounds spooky to me!

The play takes place along the Biltmore Campus Trail and the audience walks the trail from scene to scene. Hot cider and cookies provided after each show. Come early to wander the lovely trails, visit historic buildings and see outdoor exhibits. Call 828-877-3130 for admission information.

Be sure to visit the Carl Sandburg Home, a National Historic Site, located in Flat Rock, NC. The views are amazing, from the easy walk around the lake to the more strenuous climb up to Glassy Mountain. Here is the website for more information. 

Last but not least, visit the Historic Courthouse Plaza on Main Street this week and take your final look at the Bears. The Bearfootin' Bear Auction starts on Saturday October 21st at 3 p.m. with music and registration, then the live auction starts at 5 p.m. For more information, contact Dalleen Jackson at 828-233-3205 or [email protected]

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” L.M.Montgomery



Greenville, SCJust when you think that Fall has arrived, the sun makes another appearance and heats everything up again! Once again our mid-week weather looks wonderful, before the heat, humidity and chance of rain return for the weekend. We are starting to see some increased color changes now, and that trend will continue as we finish out the month.

Zombies will invade Downtown on Friday, October 20 during the 2017 Greenville Zombie Awakening. This charity event will this year benefit The Barker Rescue Project, a local non-profit rescuing cats of all ages. Donations are greatly appreciated but not required to participate.

Oktoberfests are in full swing this weekend, with two neighboring communities embracing their love of all things German. Greer will celebrate on Saturday, October 21st, but the party in Walhalla lasts all weekend! Both festivals will feature authentic food and entertainment, and terrific family fun.

Also on Saturday, Travelers Rest will host Art on the Trail. This wonderfully creative event features an Art Market, and is a great opportunity to find some new treasures, meet the creative folks who make them, and put a dent in your Christmas shopping



Knoxville, TN

The calendar says that October is here but it has felt more like late summer here in East Tennessee last week. 

To possibly view some fall foliage, I took a trip to picturesque Cades Cove last week. The Cove is one of the most visited places in the Southeast and people flock here during Fall. Remember to be patient, allow yourself extra time, and expect some traffic delay if you decide to take the drive. It is worth the visit if you have never had an opportunity to go.  Go HERE to find out more details.

Instead of driving, I wanted to take a hike. The Rich Mountain Loop was my choice. This trail allowed me to sample the beauty of the Cove on foot without the distraction of traffic.  Our friend Holly From Friends of the Smokies wrote a complete description and guide for this trail. You can read it HERE.  

Anyone who does this hike will want to stop by the John Oliver cabin. This cabin is one of the park's oldest structures. It's a perfect spot to take a break.

Most of the trees with color were spread out for my hike. Something I really enjoyed seeing were the Hearts-a-bustin' along the trail. When looking at a photo of the plant one can easily see how it got its name.  There are also some beautiful views looking down into Townsend and into Cades Cove intermittently along the trail's highest elevation. 

I suspect that as our foliage forecasters have predicted the leaves in Knoxville will start to peak in the next couple of weeks.  The cooler mornings and shorter days will signal the leaves to start their show!

The weather  has finally cooled off for this week so it should make a great time to get out and explore! The forecast says we should look for highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. You can get a 7-day outlook with a click HERE

If you are looking for events in Knoxville to get you excited about Halloween, I would recommend a visit to Ijams Nature Center for their Haunted Lantern Tour. It happens this Saturday, October 21. Tours will leave every 30 minutes starting at 7:00 pm. 

Costumes and Cartoons is an open house for kids and their parents on October 28.  The ornate and beautiful Tennessee Theater is a joy to visit. Classic cartoons, music from the Mighty Wurlitzer, theater tours and treats will await visitors at this lively event. You can learn more with a visit HERE

More next week! 


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