Fall Foliage Primer - October 11, 2017
- October 11, 2017 |
FALL COLOR UPDATE - October 11, 2017
Valle Crucis/Boone, NC – The color change from last Friday until Monday was astonishing. We are making our way to peak color with a little more speed now. Truly, the photos I took for this week’s report were taken on Saturday morning because the rest of the weekend and early week was going to be a little damp. Use your imagination and bump up the color just a little. The color this weekend in the middle elevations around Boone should be good…and I hope they hold out until the next weekend, which will be Valle Country Fair and the Woolly Worm Festival.
As you probably experienced, we had some really heavy rain and wind on Sunday into the early hours of Monday. Rain at this time of year and wind are not good for the leaves, but even though we had some leaf fall, I don’t think that it is going to affect the overall color that much. The yellows are stunning, more and more reds and oranges are beginning to display, and there’s still more to come. The middle of the week still has a slight chance of showers, but the weekend looks to be outstanding! You can always check the weather forecast with a click HERE. Weather can change quickly, so check it often.
I didn’t think about it when I was out with my camera, but my route for photos took me out toward Todd. Highway 194 was like driving through a kaleidoscope filled with lots of yellows, oranges, and reds. This weekend is the 24th Annual Todd New River Festival hosted by the Todd Ruritan Club. It features food (of course…and I hear that the BBQ is excellent), music, crafts, face painting, and more. Here’s a LINK for more information.
While you’re headed out Highway 194 toward Todd, you might want to take a slight detour and head up to Elk Knob State Park. The leaves at the highest elevations may be a little past peak, but looking down in the valleys toward Mount Rogers and back the other way toward Grandfather is well worth the hike on the Summit Trail. Be sure to take a jacket just in case, you do gain about 1,000 feet in elevation, so the weather can change a lot.
If you enjoy immersing yourself in the area’s haunted history, check out the Mountaineer Mystery Tour. It’s a one-hour walk through Downtown Boone through back alleys and to graveyards to hear strange tales of Boone’s past. Here’s a LINK for more information.
See you next week!
Asheville, NC - Hello from Asheville! It's been a wet few days and the rain looks like it's going to continue through Thursday. Unfortunately that means many of the already turned leaves may start to fall off and outdoor plans may be impossible. For weather updates, check with Ray. His weather station sits atop the Mast Store in Asheville.
For the most adventurous among us, however, there is still a lot to see. I didn't have the chance to travel anywhere this week, but from what I can see around my apartment in west Asheville and on my way to work every morning, the leaves are finally starting to change. It seems like peak will definitely be sometime in the next few weeks.
My apartment is actually an ideal place for leaf peeping. Nestled in the mountains between the cities of Asheville and Leicester, I have a direct view of Mount Pisgah from my porch. I have been watching every day as more and more color creeps down the hillside. I can't wait to catch peak when it happens!
We are starting to see a lot more of the orange and red trees starting to pop. On Hazel Mill Road, my daily route to work, these bright colors are framed along the road. Yellow leaves riddle the puddles from the recent rain, and it's finally beginning to look like autumn.
There are still some wildflowers out as well if you can catch them. Purples and yellows and whites cover the roadsides in their last spurt of the season.
There are a lot of things happening this week. The annual Eliada Corn Maze is up and running in my neck of the woods. It runs every day of October from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Monday through Friday and extended hours on weekends. If you want to enjoy a classic autumn activity then this is for you. In addition to the corn maze there are hay rides, a giant jumping pillow, and more. Sounds like fun!
There is also the 34th Annual Mountain Glory Festival in Marion, North Carolina from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on October 14th. This festival will have a plethora of locally made arts and crafts, live music, and popular festival foods and activities.
Also in Asheville this weekend is the 15th Annual HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival. This event will be held at Pack Square in Downtown Asheville from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on October 15th. Come and enjoy music and dancing, Jewish delicacies, and more.
Prime leaf season is almost upon us. And as we head into the best viewing time for the city of Asheville, I hope to be able to keep up with Mother Nature. Have a wonderful week and avoid the rain if you can. Safe travels!
Waynesville, NC - As fall begins to arrive with shaper colors of reds, oranges, yellows and gold displays of corn shocks and pumpkins are everywhere. Area Pumpkin Patch lots abound, and in front of the Mast General Store on Main Street, some of the many decorations remind us that fall is here and the holidays are fast approaching!
The Cataloochee area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is very close to Waynesville. This unique, but highly visited area, is home to several of the remaining elk herds that used to grace this area in large numbers. October is one of the prime times to view these majestic animals up close in their natural habitat. In addition to elk herds, you probably will see flocks of wild turkeys, woodchucks scurrying across the roads, deer, and possibly a black bear. On the way, you’ll find a scenic overlook providing a beautiful vista of ridge lines in spectacular fall colors. If you want to maximize your opportunity to see elk herds, make sure to arrive early in the morning or later in the early evening before dusk...please note that portion of the road that dead ends into elk viewing area is only open between sunrise and sunset.
(Directions to Cataloochee)
Driving to the Cataloochee area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from I-40 (NC Exit 20) and Hwy 276 is approximately an 11-mile drive that will take about 45 minutes, but it is well worth the effort! Cove Creek Road is a winding and narrow road that starts just south of I-40 and intersects with Cataloochee Entrance Road, aka Ranger Road, which ultimately ends in the Cataloochee area. (Don’t be put off by the 2.6 mile unpaved portion somewhere in the middle of the drive on Cove Creek Road; just slow down and enjoy the experience!) In the Cataloochee area of the National Park, you’ll find several hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty, so plan to arrive early, go for a hike, and enjoy a late picnic lunch before seeing the herds of elk just before dusk; you won't be disappointed!
Before you go please view the National Park Service website. This LINK provides a direct link to Cataloochee information. Pay close attention to the elk viewing requirements as safety to those viewing and the animals are paramount!
The weather looks like it is going to be very nice toward the end of the week for elk-watching, leaf-peeping, or any other outdoor activity you'd like to enjoy. It can change quickly, so we recommend checking this LOCAL FORECAST before heading out.
Hendersonville, NC - Swirling leaves and sunset-colored trees framed by vivid clear blue skies are appearing everywhere. Seemingly overnight autumn has started to arrive! Maples are just beginning to show some yellows and reds, while the dogwood trees are adorned in red berries and dark burgundy leaves. The tulip trees and black walnuts are turning beautiful shades of gold and don't miss the red of the sourwood trees. But, the best colors are still at higher elevations, like along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The weather will be a bit unpredictable this week with cloudy skies and raindrops possible almost everyday. We are hopefully going to see some clearing by the weekend and Sunday promises to be clear, sunny and unseasonably warm. The highs all week will be in the mid 70s and the lows will be in the mid 50s to mid 60s. Check HERE for a local forecast.
Butterflies are flitting around, all over Hendersonville gardens, this time of year. To learn about our local butterfly species and their life cycles, plus see monarchs, swallowtails and more, go to the Western North Carolina Arboretum. Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., inside the Baker Exhibit Center Greenhouse is the indoor butterfly exhibit called Winged Wonders. Call the Arboretum for more information at 828-665-2492.
Take a leisurely drive out Kanuga Road to the Dupont State Forest. The forest contains over 10,000 acres of woodlands, trails, and waterfalls. The property is open to hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Mast General Store, in Hendersonville, has several maps and books with suggested drives, trails, scenic waterfall viewing and other activities. Please visit the Dupont State Forest WEBSITE for more information.
And remember, “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”
Greenville, SC - The trees may not be changing in Greenville quite yet, but there are still plenty of wonderful and colorful things to see! From Falls Park to the campus of Furman University, the fall colors are becoming breathtaking! Thank you to my wonderful co-workers for the help with the photos!
A trip to Paris Mountain State Park is a great way to spend the day. You can explore the emerging colors of the foliage while hiking, biking and just driving through the park. Stop along the way for a picnic lunch and enjoy the wonderful views of the lake.
Our typical fall weather continues, with rain apparent during the week but clearing up in time for all the wonderful weekend events. Temperatures will be slightly higher mid-week, before cooling to the mid- to upper-70s for the weekend.
This weekend brings the start of many seasonal festivals, but none bigger than Fall for Greenville. This 3-day festival takes over Main Street, and includes live music, cooking demonstrations and competitions, and the best restaurants in Greenville offering more than 250 menu items.
If you're looking more on the spooky side, come out to nearby Pendleton on Saturday, October 14th for annual Ghost Walk. Tours run every 20 minutes from 7 p.m. until 9:40 p.m., and include visits to buildings and grave sites. This event runs rain or shine, and advance registration is required.
Also on Saturday, Pendleton will host its Fall Harvest Festival on the Village Green. The event offers music, crafts and old-fashioned games and family fun. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and includes the third annual Scarecrow Contest.
There is truly something for everyone in Greenville this weekend!
If so, I have a great idea for you.
With warmish temperatures this week, I was surprised to find some color starting to show up along the Foothills Parkway. I wanted to get away from the masses, and this was a good choice. So far, one can easily spot the "outliers," like Sourwood and Dogwoods, but very soon the parkway will be at peak level. This parkway is not totally completed at this time, but it skirts along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You can take a trip along the parkway from Chilhowee to Walland, then from Cosby to I-40. The higher elevations along the parkway allows some cooler temperatures at night. It was magnificent to finally see some autumnal views. There is more information about the parkway HERE.
If you have the opportunity to head to Norris Dam State Park this week, they will be offering Fall Color Cruise around the lake to view the leaves and wildlife. These will be going on periodically from October 16-29. You can register for this event HERE.
Knoxville's own Three Rivers Rambler will be hosting an "All Hallows Eve Special" family train ride this year. You are encouraged to dress in costume to view the scenery along the Tennessee River, and the kids get treats! It starts on Friday, October 13th (how fitting, right?), and continues through October 30th. Find out more HERE.
Remember to check the weather before heading out. Temperatures look pretty moderate, even warm, through the weekend. HERE'S where you can find an updated local forecast.
I think our colors are starting to appear only a tiny bit at a time for now. If you are yearning to see colors ASAP, then I recommend heading to an area with slightly higher elevation than in our river valleys. Meanwhile, we keep you posted about fun activities and places you can venture to enjoy Autumn in East Tennessee. See you next week.