Fall Foliage Primer - October 19, 2016
- October 19, 2016 |
Valle Crucis/Boone, NC – After being out of town for a few days, I wondered what the leaves would look like. It looks to me like a lot of color has been added. Typically, in the middle elevations where Boone is the peak of the color will fall usually around the third week of October. This year’s peak may be just a tad late, but that’s good for you leaf lookers that are planning your visit for this weekend. If you compare the hillside from last week’s report to the same hillside this week, you’ll be able to see the increase in the intensity of the colors.
The weather will be fairly pleasant until the weekend...and then it will be pleasant temperatures for fall. We'll have a few showers on Thursday and Friday, accompanied with some wind on Friday. Saturday looks like it will clear off, but be a little chillier than we've been used to. Next week temperatures head back into the 60s for highs and 40s for lows. Click HERE for an updated local forecast.
All of the trees in the forest are getting into the act – maples, cherries, oaks, poplars, elms, etc. The Blue Ridge Parkway is sure to be bumper to bumper with people soaking in the leaf change. Take a break and enjoy a drive out Highway 194 toward Todd and then up to Elk Knob State Park. While some of the colors on the very tip top of the ridgelines may be passed peak, the rest will be breathtaking. Meat Camp Baptist Church (it’s on the left just after the road you’ll want to take to head to the state park) usually makes a beautiful picture perched on a knoll with some colorful trees nearby. I haven’t had a chance to head out there myself this year…yet, but it is a photo op.
It’s Homecoming for Appalachian State University this weekend, so be sure to secure a place to stay before you come up the mountain. Their parade will step off at 6 p.m. and will travel down River Street, on to Water Street, then down King Street to College Street. Be sure to have your spot picked out to enjoy the floats and the Marching Mountaineers and more. The Mast Store is open until 8 p.m. and supper downtown might be a good idea, too! The football game against Idaho kicks off at 3:30 p.m. For more game day information follow this LINK.
If you want to expand your knowledge of the trees and the process that is fall, head over to Grandfather Mountain. Naturalists will lead hikes on Saturday and Sunday and will explain the science of the color change. Here’s a LINK.
Another cool way to see the colors is in a kayak or canoe. If you are out on the Parkway this weekend, stop by Price Lake and rent a kayak or canoe. It’s amazing how your perspective changes as soon as you hit the water.
That’s it for this week. I’m hoping that we’ll have good color for you next week, too!
Asheville, NC - I’m really enjoying this fall, but I’ve gotta say… the weather has been bananas. Persistent drought, unusually high temperatures right into October, Hurricane Matthew’s rain and wind last weekend (otherwise no rain at all), crisp seasonal temps over the past 10 days (at long last), but back up into the 80s again this week. I’ve never experienced a fall like this in all my years living in Western North Carolina. Can I put my shorts away and pull out my sweaters, or not? Good grief.
But, the color. Oh, the color! It’s here, folks. The Blue Ridge is boasting fruit loop patches of gold, orange, red, and yellow deciduous trees all along the Parkway. It is a sight to behold! And though, I must be honest, noticeable areas went directly to brown and crispy this year, likely due to the drought. However, the sight of a lone sugar maple ablaze before Carolina blue skies is a scene I hope I take with me in my memory until my dying day. It only takes one beautiful tree to turn on that fall magic.
Curiously, the Blue Ridge Parkway was much less congested this past weekend than the one prior. This is likely due to the absence of Hurricane Matthew Evacuees. Also, the word is out that fall color will be peaking in the higher elevations later than usual: folks are guesstimating this week and upcoming weekend. So, if you’ve saved up some paid time off, the next two weeks are the perfect time to be in the North Carolina mountains. The color is going into full effect and the weather is already unusually balmy. If it weren’t for my recent foot surgery, I would be hiking to Max Patch this upcoming weekend, no doubt.
Max Patch is widely regarded by thru-hikers, who complete all 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, to be one of the top 5 most beautiful spots on the AT. About one hour west of Asheville, near Hot Springs, NC, on the North Carolina/Tennessee border, Max Patch is a grassy bald with 360-degree mountain views in the Pisgah National Forest. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Mitchell to the east and the Great Smoky Mountains to the south.
At 4,600 feet, the weather on Max Patch can change very quickly. Be sure to wear sunblock (even on a cloudy day) because there are no trees to shield you on the bald. Even if it’s hot and sunny, pack a rain coat, sweater, and hat. I’ve seen the weather go from summery to chilly and rainy there very fast. Two easy loop trails take you to the summit and around the pasture. Don’t forget your camera. This is one of the most awe-inspiring places in North Carolina. For directions and information, click HERE.
Back in Asheville, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is in town again this weekend. Not many events sell out the downtown parking garages on a Saturday morning before 10 a.m. like this exceptionally well-curated craft fair. This is the craft mother lode. Meet the artists who are showcasing their work, see live demonstrations, and connect with other art lovers who may inspire a new winter hobby. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is held in the heart of Downtown Asheville at the US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood Street. Admission for adults is $8 and children under 12 are free. There’s more information HERE.
Ray’s Weather says the week ahead is going to be picture perfect until late Thursday or Friday when a cold front is forecasted to bring us rain and lower than normal temperatures. The color change in Downtown Asheville seems closer to the usual schedule, so we may see some days in the comings weeks with color peaking concurrently in the mid and lower elevations. Whatever way you slice it, we’re in for a stunning second half of October. Enjoy it, friends!
Waynesville, NC - More and more color is beginning to reveal itself to lucky residents and visitors here in the Waynesville area. While you can see that the mountainsides are still green, vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows are peeking out everywhere. The weather has been a little off for the time of year, but it's still beautiful.
The weather is going to cool down for at least a couple of days toward the end of the week when a cold front passes through and brings us a little rain. It has been so dry, we appreciate a little shower, but we hope it isn’t accompanied by wind. On Friday and Saturday nights, lows are dipping into the 30s. That’ll really speed up the color change. Early next week should moderate with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Here’s where you can find a LINK to an up-to-date local weather forecast, so you’ll be prepared for your visit.
This week would be a good time to get out and enjoy a walk around downtown. While you’re out and about, you might notice several quilt squares on the businesses. There’s a whole trail in the downtown area. If you click HERE, you’ll find a listing of the block locations and their names. There’s another link on the same website for information on the inspiration of the blocks.
If you’re up for a little adventure, the Nantahala Outdoor Center is hosting NOCtoberfest on Saturday, October 22 from Noon-5 p.m. There will be pumpkin decorating, a costume contest, live music, the Great Pumpkin Pursuit, and more. Follow this LINK to find out more.
It might be a good weekend to head out to a waterfall or two, HERE’s a list of waterfalls in the Haywood County area with information on how to find them. By the way, the Parkway is absolutely beautiful right now! So many bright colors!
I’m out hunting for more color to share next week. See you then.
Hendersonville, NC - The fall colors are slowly spreading throughout the mountains. We are seeing some beautiful yellows, reds and oranges scattered through town, field and forest. Locust trees, sweet gum, maple, tulip trees and dogwoods are all dressed in their best!
Wow, the weather has been wild and wonderful! Balmy breezes, sunny blue skies and warm temperatures are forecast every day this week, as summer lingers on. On Friday the temperatures take a dip and there is a slight chance of rain. Follow this LINK for a full forecast. But, who could ask for more? Well, how about some awesome things to see and do?
The Bearfootin' Art Auction takes place on Saturday, October 22, on Main Street, down in front of the historic Courthouse from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The beautiful painted bears, each dedicated to a different local non-profit, have been on display all summer. Take a walk to the old courthouse and view them for the last time. The exciting live auction is where the highest bidder gets a bear to take home, and they also make a contribution to our community. This year Mast General Store sponsored a bear dedicated to the Rails to Trails organization.
Looking for a great outdoor activity? Try the free Fall Tree ID Hike hosted by Holmes Educational State Forest on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Meet at Corn Mills parking lot in Dupont State Recreational Forest for a short but steep hike to Big Rock overlook. Bring your lunch and dress for the weather. Families welcome. Space is limited, so please call to reserve a place – 828-692-0100.
Anxious to start your Halloween celebrations? Meet down at Jackson Park on Saturday afternoon for the Halloween Carnival and movie. The carnival starts at 5:30 p.m. with games, inflatables, and treats followed by the movie Hotel Transylvania 2 at 8:00 p.m. Great free family fun!
Indulge your artsy side and go to the Gallery Hop happening on October 21st, Friday evening. Browse through historic Downtown Hendersonville and Flat Rock while visiting 15 galleries with fine art and crafts by local artists. Galleries stay open until 8:00 p.m. and refreshments are served. Call 828-693-4545 for more information.
Take a drive to Carl Sandburg Home NHS and take a leisurely walk around the lake or up to the goat barns. The park is located on 264 acres and there are several beautiful hikes on the property. Visitors can tour Connemara, the Sandburg home, hike on over 5 miles of trails or visit the farm and dairy goats. Open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Admission to grounds is free, small charge to tour the home. HERE's where you can learn more to plan your visit.
That wraps up this week, hope to see you in Hendersonville soon!
Greenville, SC - As I welcome each of you back this week I am also glad to be welcoming the fall leaves for this season. This week seems to have brought a much more drastic color change than the other weeks prior. This is my favorite stage in the leaf changing process because you can find many different colors within a single leaf. The red maples are more than beautiful at the moment and I only expect it to get better. The sugar maples aren’t too far behind for they have a sunburst look going on right now. I’m continuing to keep an eye on the ginkgo trees, they are green with a yellow tint to them. The weather this week looks like we will have highs in the upper 80s up until Thursday, then a cold front is supposed to move through to bring our temperatures back down. I will be curious to see how this effects the leaves for the up coming week. For further details on our weather click HERE.
One of my favorite things about the fall is Halloween. Greenville is getting a jump start on this celebration by offering the family-friendly Boo in the Zoo. The Greenville Zoo will be hosting the event for the 30th year in a row now starting this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The event will also be going on next weekend.The cost for children 12 and under is $7, and the cost for adults is $6. There will be Trick-or-Treating and activity booths, as well as an “unhaunted house” and fun characters for the kids to meet. Costumes are encouraged and bags for collecting candy will be provided. Be sure to make it to town to check out the zoo in a fun way that's only available these two weekends out of the year.
If you aren’t quite ready to celebrate Halloween yet, on Sunday the Greenville Hospital System will be hosting The Greenville Polo Classic, which benefits the Neurological Institute of the hospital. It will be on October 23 at the Historic Hopkins Farm. General admission tickets will be $75. There will be a champagne luncheon that starts at noon, and the opening ceremony will follow at 2 p.m. You even get to participate in the stomping of the divots at halftime. Come be a part of an exciting ancient sport that dates back to the first century. Flats and Hats are encouraged. Don't miss this easy way to give to a good cause and have fun while doing it.
Lastly, this week I wanted to give you a park to check out - Ceasars Head State Park. This park is located about 45 minutes from Downtown Greenville and features a great viewpoint with some light hiking. The park features “The Devil’s Kitchen,” which is two pieces of rock that have just enough space to walk between. I always thought it was the coolest place as a kid. A perfect place for a family picnic and to enjoy some fall air. The drive up will be perfect for with the changing of the leaves taking place for it is more evident the closer you get to the mountains.
As the season is finally taking off, I look forward to reporting to you all next week! See you then!
Knoxville, TN - If you are lucky enough to get to the Smokies this week, the views are fabulous. It is very crowded at this time due to the peak of the leaf season. I spent a little time on the east side of the Smokies, which is a little less crowded and was treated to some very vibrant colors. It was almost like looking through a stained glass window. It was in the Big Creek part of the Park.
If you want to try something new, head out to Frozen Head State Park. It is about an hour's drive from Knoxville into Morgan County. There are fewer people there, and it's a little bit off the beaten path. It has been a very dry year in East Tennessee this year, and the creek in the park is almost non-existent during this drought. However, the woods are still full of beautiful color. There are 50 miles of scenic trails in this park, and you can purchase a detailed trail map at the visitor center.
We are starting to see color in the local parks and greenways. Knoxville has over 40 different greenways to choose from. One of the best in the area is The Northwest Greenway near the Victor Ashe Park. It is easy to get to and starts near the Northwest Middle School and loops around into Victor Ashe Park.
The weather is going to cool down a bit for the first part of the weekend, and we may see a little needed rain. Highs on Friday and Saturday will be in the 60s and lows in the low 40s and upper 30s. Later in the weekend and next week, the temperatures are going to moderate to highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. Fall is a changeable season, so check the forecast before heading out. I look forward to visiting next week.