Fall Foliage Primer - October 23, 2019
- October 23, 2019 |
Valle Crucis/Boone – This another very unusual color year. If you look back at last year's report, we saw high color coming later than expected. That may be the case again here in the High Country. We had some rain over the weekend and early in the week and may have some frost later this week. Luckily, we didn't have high winds, which would not be good for the leaves. This week looks like we will have some showers and overcast skies over the weekend, but the weather on Thursday and Friday looks great. Weather can change quickly this time of year, so be sure to check the forecast HERE before you head out.
While enjoying a little time at my outside office (also known as the big rocks between buildings), I marveled at the bright colors along the ridgelines. Lots of maples are showcasing their oranges and reds. They are eye-popping, especially when viewed against a bright blue sky. The color outlook for this weekend is good - if we don't get any winds. There will be places where most of the leaves are on the ground, but there are more areas where the mountainsides are a tapestry of color including green (both from leaves that haven't changed and pines), yellows, oranges, reds, and most every color in between. My photos this week just don't do it justice.
This week's photos were taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Price Park and Price Lake and Valle Crucis.
Your options for events this week include a Scholars and Scones presentation at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum on Thursday at 11 a.m. It's a lecture by Bill Moretz, who will be bringing apple varieties that were grown at the Cone Orchards. You'll be able to taste them and purchase some to take home with you.
The newly-renovated Appalachian Theatre is getting in the Halloween mood with showings of Hocus Pocus on October 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. You can get tickets HERE.
If you really want to take a walk on the scary side, try Stalker, this year's Haunted Trail presentation at the Horn in the West. It takes place nightly now through October 26. Get your tickets HERE to save a few bucks.
That's a wrap for this week. Travel safely!
Waynesville - Fall is definitely in full swing here in Waynesville, NC. There are pockets of bright reds and slight yellows showing all over town! We have temperatures dipping into the freezing range on a regular basis now and the days are just right! (Check HERE for a forecast for this weekend.) We are gearing up for Halloween here at the store and looking forward to all of you coming to visit during the leaf season as it reaches its peak in what is projected to be early November. All that being said, here are some great ways to see mother nature’s splendor here in Haywood County!
When you think about leaf looking, this is the first thing that comes to my mind, but we have to talk about the Blue Ridge Parkway! Having recently ventured out to Black Balsam over in Maggie Valley, I can tell you the Parkway is in full bloom! The folks that maintain this area to a stand-up job, and it is one of our country's treasures for sure! They have a few itineraries laid out on their WEBSITE if you are a first-timer.
In case you missed it earlier in the month, Maggie Valley is having another car show! This one is a bit different though as all the cars predate 1949. It is a great way to travel back in time for sure! The show will take place on October 25th and include a DJ, food vendors, and crafters from all over the area.
Here is a way to check out the leaves: go have breakfast with a bison! No, I’m not kidding. I have been to a gathering out on this family-owned farm and it is nestled beautifully in a valley in the Smokies. Just driving there is a treat, but the animals are the REAL treat. Along with bison, they have llamas and smaller animals like chickens and rabbits. They will be serving breakfast at their caboose at 8:45 a.m. and will feed the bison shortly thereafter. The event takes place on October 26th and is only $15 per person!
Lastly, if trail running is your thing, or if you’d like to give it a try; the folks over at White Dot Adventures can put together a guided trail run to suit your abilities. With an intimate knowledge of over 1,600 miles of trails in the area, they can cater their runs to any group for sure. They offer afternoon getaways, day trips, and multi-day trail running packages throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. I cannot imagine a better way to get some exercise during leaf season!
As I have said before, if none of these ideas tickle your fancy, just come by the store, and we can let you know all of the fun things that are going on in our area! Safe travels!
Asheville - It’s finally looking like fall here in Asheville, thanks to the cooler temperatures that hit last week. This trend should hopefully continue as we near the end of October, with temperatures lingering in the mid-60s during the day and the lower 40s at night. We’ve had quite a bit of rain here the last few days and will likely have more as the week goes on, so bring your rain jackets with you. For more on Asheville’s weather go HERE.
With the higher elevations nearing the end of their peak season, it’s time for Asheville’s color to shine. Much of the color on the trees appeared almost overnight thanks to a few very cold nights this past week. It’s amazing how different everything looks in the city now, with the reds and yellows highlighting the edges of roads. The University of North Carolina at Asheville’s campus is especially beautiful this year, and I hope its annual “Turning of the Maples” Festival is as much a success this year as it has been in previous ones. No word yet on when the festival is happening, but hopefully they will announce it soon.
Other parts of North Asheville were gorgeous as well. I took some side streets on my way home today and saw a lot of areas that were starting to change. Beaverdam Road, just north of UNCA, is especially nice right now. On your way stop by Grace Episcopal Church and pick up some pumpkins for Halloween. Every year the hill in front of this Church is covered in pumpkins, and it was wonderful to see it happening again. They will have pumpkins through the 31st, so if you’re in the area and still need to get ready for Halloween, go ahead and stop by! Here's a great story that recently aired on our local TV station about the church's pumpkin patch.
If you are in the mood for some seasonal activities, head to the Eliada Corn Maze, 12 Acres of Corn covered hills at the Eliada Homes Children’s Center. Along with the maze, they have a number of activities perfect for fall, from tractor rides and a giant jumping pillow to slides and corn cannons. There is a little something for all ages. The corn maze is open through October 27th, so if you’re in the area and want some family-friendly activities to get ready for fall, stop by the Corn Maze.
And there you have it, another week gone. But with autumn here in full swing. I should have a lot to show you over these next few weeks. See you next time!
Hendersonville - Fall has definitely arrived with a bang! Lots of visitors were stopping in at the Mast General Store all week to pick up some warmer clothing and gloves. Although it took some by surprise, most of us are quite relieved to see and feel the cooler temperatures.
The fall colors are still slowly creeping along and most of the color is on the streets around the city. Main Street, in particular, is looking very festive. The maples are clothed in spicy reds and oranges, and the planters are overflowing with blooms.
Temperatures will probably be in the 60s during the day and dip into the 40s at night. Most of this next week, we will be seeing scattered showers, cool, cloudy and damp days. You'll find the local forecast HERE. Be sure to check out some of the local happenings around town to take your mind off the weather.
In the middle of Downtown Hendersonville is beautiful Jackson Park. Besides the expected playgrounds, picnic shelters, and sports areas, there are also some wonderful trails. Our park is exceptional for birding because it is a migrant trap. This is a result of the combination of local weather conditions, an abundance of food, and the local habitat. So, year-round, we have many species of birds and a surprising variety right through the winter. Fall migration is winding down now, but there is still lots to see on a walk through the park. For more information on migration, go to this LINK and for a bird list and more information on the trails visit, go HERE.
The park is also home to an exceptional 18-hole disc golf course that winds its way through the woods and along the trails. Grab your disc and come try it out!
Just in time for Halloween and the culmination of International Bat Week, we have the Cradle of Forestry’s Bat-tastic Celebration on October 26 from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. This free event recognizes the important role of bats in nature. The family-friendly event allows you to visit information and activity tables to learn more about bats and what you can do to help them. For directions and more event information, click HERE.
The Fall Foliage Festival will be held at Bold Rock Hard Cider in Mills River on Saturday, October 26 from11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free to this family and pet-friendly celebration. There will be an artisan fair and lots of music along with various food trucks, vendors, and fall-themed activities.
Halloween is right in the middle of the week this year. That means the Treat Street Carnival will be on Thursday, October 31, from 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. There will be a costume contest, trick or treating at the stores, and at the pop-up tents too. The dance party and inflatables start at 7 p.m. along with outdoor Halloween movies. It is always a fun time so grab your wig and costume and check it out!
Wishing all of you Happy Fall and Happy Halloween! Talk to you next week.
Greenville - Fall is definitely in the air! It has gotten considerably cooler in the greater Greenville area, but not quite cool enough yet to have a dramatic effect on the color. Check out the Tablerock webcam for the latest changes in that area as an indication of where we stand.
The Fall Festival on Main in Fountain Inn is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Greenville and will be worth the 23-minute ride. The annual event is being held this weekend on Saturday, October 26 from 4 p.m. 'til 8 p.m. It promises to be one of their best ever! Nestled in the foothills of Upstate South Carolina, Fountain Inn is a charming city in the heart of this incredibly scenic state. Free hot dogs and other treats and a pumpkin-carving contest! A Halloween costume contest is followed by a Halloween movie playing at dusk on Depot Street.
The Fall Blue Grass and Harvest Market continues through October 31 in Traveler’s Rest. It's short drive from Downtown Greenville and is a great destination to enjoy before the weekend. Come to Trailblazer Park on Thursday evenings in October for a small town - get to know your neighbors - community event complete with family-style dining and authentic Bluegrass music! The Travelers Rest Farmers Market sets up under the pavilion with vendors selling everything from local produce to handmade artisan products and old-time, bluegrass songs are performed in the open-air amphitheater. A great lineup of food trucks gathers and families sit down to a community-spirited evening for one of the most charming experiences in the Upstate.
Boo in the Zoo continues through October 25, Boo in the Zoo is the Greenville Zoo's signature Halloween event. The event features 20 trick-or-treat stations, character photo opportunities (including princesses), an extinct species graveyard, Dragon Ally, and Alice's Fun House! Visit this Friday from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, October 26 and 27 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Greenville’s fall activities include several art shows, special events, and holiday markets. A few will be highlighted in upcoming newsletters: GCA Fall Festival and Holiday Market on November 2; Swamp Rabbit Trail – best as trees get more color. For more in-depth information about these and other Fall activities, visit Yeah, That Greenville!
Knoxville - We can safely say at this point that autumn has finally settled in for the long haul. The flannel shirts have been pulled out of storage, an extra quilt is on the bed, and occasionally you can detect a far-off scent of a fireplace lit up on a cool evening. Temperatures have been hovering in the mid-40s and into the 60s for the last week. This upcoming weekend looks to be a damp one with rain forecast in all but two days. Here's a handy LINK to find out the latest in Knoxville.
The colors are beginning to be a bit more pronounced. Even the trees at lower elevations and along the downtown streets are showing flashes of red and amber.
October always sets in my mind images of crisp air devoid of the humid summer haze, dying cornfields, and All Hallows Eve. It’s when I like to take my camera and go explore old cemeteries and seek out the crumbling headstones and ancient statues that reside there. I’ll often spend hours contemplating the stories that each stone has to tell. Many visitors to our store may not be aware that about a block behind the Downtown Knoxville Mast General Store resides the oldest graveyard in the city - the First Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
This graveyard dates back roughly to the 1790s; the time when the original plans for what would become the city of Knoxville were being plotted out. The earliest marked grave is that of Tennessee governor William Blount, who passed away in 1800. Also buried in this lot is Knoxville founder James White.
About a mile north lies Knoxville’s second-oldest graveyard, The Old Gray Cemetery. This scenic Victorian-Garden-style graveyard sports winding roads and rolling hills filled with a variety of statuary, headstones, and mausoleums set amongst thick trees of Oak, Walnut, and Maple. Scanning the markers can reveal much about the history of Knoxville. The conflicted nature of this city during the Civil War can be represented by numerous Pro-Union and Pro-Confederate rivals, who perished at each other’s hands only to be buried in almost adjacent plots. Many markers will reveal identical deceased dates due to an outbreak of cholera throughout the city in 1854.
Even ventures to smaller graveyards farther out among country roads can yield surprises. A small lot maintained by a Presbyterian Church in Corryton features many stones so old they have been worn down to nubs. I have discovered at least two markers of Revolutionary War soldiers in this yard. Surprisingly, despite its small size, it is still in use. History haunts every inch of this town.
In keeping with this haunted theme, here are some events that are coming up in the following days:
On Thursday, October 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Downtown’s Blount Mansion will host a reception and lecture by author Laura Still, who will discuss the history of the many epidemics and plagues that have hit Knoxville through the centuries. Still’s book, A Haunted History of Knoxville, is one of the most popular books we sell at the Downtown Mast General Store. This event will be a precursor to the series “Days of Dread, Knoxville’s Epidemic Tours,” which will run intermittently through October 25 - 31 and will feature live dramatic reenactments of historic figures and events during the many epidemics that have hit this city throughout history. Click HERE for more info and tickets.
Also, on October 25 - 27, the Historic Mabry-Hazen House and Bethel Cemetery will host their Victorian Séance Experience. This event reenacts an authentic 19th-Century Séance by a medium following the traditions that were in vogue during the height of the Spiritualism movement. Click HERE for more info.
For people who want a more outdoor experience, try the Marble Springs State Historic Site. They will be hosting their Frontier Frights After Dark Hiking Tour, which will lead a guided tour through dark woods while guides tell chilling stories and regional folklore of monsters and ghosts. This tour begins at 6:30 p.m. on October 25th and 26th. Be sure to bring a flashlight.
See you next week...if the spirits are willing.