Fall Foliage Primer - September 25, 2019
- September 25, 2019 |
Valle Crucis/Boone – Fall is here; it just doesn’t feel like it yet. Along the high ridgelines, some color is already beginning to appear - some reds and oranges. Many of the trees, in general, now have that "I'm ready for fall" green on. Some of the color change is from being so dry. It’s hard to remember when the last good rain shower was. Our weather through the weekend looks to be warm and sunny. Highs will be in the mid to upper 70s and lows in the mid 50s, with a slight chance of showers on Friday and Saturday. Check with Ray for a local, updated forecast HERE.
If you’re looking for something to do this week, you’re in luck! Tweetsie’s Ghost Train is underway on Friday and Saturday nights. It frightening fun for the whole family. The black light show at the Palace is awesome. There’s trick-or-treating on Main Street, the Haunted House, the Freaky Forest, and the Creepy Carnival. Don’t wait to get your tickets, this is a popular event, so buy them ahead of time. Here’s where you can LEARN MORE.
The Appalachian State Mountaineers are playing at home against conference rival Coastal Carolina on Saturday, September 28. Kick-off is at 3:30 at Kidd Brewer Stadium. App is first in the East division of the Sun Belt and Coastal is right behind them. It’s the first conference game for both of them. The Rock should be rockin’ on Saturday. Get more game-day information HERE.
Most of the photos for this week were taken at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, located near the Horn in the West amphitheater. Sometimes we forget that fall’s colors don’t all come from leaves – there are many flowers that bloom into fall including iron weed (purple), Jerusalem artichoke (yellow flowers), and asters (lavenders and pinks). There are also some berries to watch for – like the red clusters from the Jack in the Pulpit. The sourwood trees are beginning to turn their deep red as are the dogwoods. As I was leaving, I spied a Monarch butterfly chrysalis on a milkweed leaf. I hope to capture the butterfly as it emerges for a future posting
We’ll visit again next week.
Waynesville - It is officially fall, but you can only really feel it in the mornings so far here in Waynesville, NC. With high temperatures still sitting in the upper 80s, we are hoping for a break in the coming week. You can find a local, up-to-date forecast HERE.
All that being said, we are still pretty green across the area. I took a walk around Lake Junaluska the other day and found some very light hints of fall, but nothing too exciting just yet. The view coming into Downtown Waynesville is also a palette of greens with no obvious sign of fall except the stores and restaurants decorating for the season. I wouldn’t let that shy you away from coming over though. We’ve got a lot going on this weekend here in Haywood County!
Here at the Mast General Store, in particular, we are hosting a Dogs' Night Out where we have invited local dog-friendly businesses to come and share their offerings with dog lovers from near and far! We will also have some prize drawings and a photo booth to take some fun pictures with your furry friends!
If that is not your cup of tea, the Gold Wing Riders Association will be hosting their Wings over the Smokies gathering over on the Haywood County Fair Grounds. This is a gathering of riders with a theme this year of honoring our Veterans. There will be vendors and rides organized throughout the weekend.
We also have our last gathering of the summer season on the courthouse steps for a Mountain Street Dance this Friday! You can come dance, watch, or just enjoy the great comradery that this event brings to the community.
If you’ve never been, I highly recommend getting yourself over to the Maggie Valley Swap Meet and Car Show this weekend at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. I’m not necessarily a “car guy” but this is just fun.
There are quite a few other things going on in the area so please do not hesitate to stop by the store. We’ll be happy to see you for sure!
Asheville - Autumn is here at last! And for those of us that have been enduring the unseasonably warm summer we’ve had in the mountains this year, it is a welcomed reprieve, once the lower temperatures actually hit. As of right now, temperatures in the area seem to want to linger in the upper 80s during the day, at least ten degrees above the norm, falling to the lower sixties at night. Despite the near August feeling weather, there is little to no rain predicted, so if you want to sneak out and see some early leaf color, the weather is ideal for it. For more updates on regional weather and possible changes check out our local weather station at Ray’s Weather.
Despite the hot temperatures and the lack of rain, this lingering summer weather is ideal for a more vibrant fall color season. Recent years have had more muted color than in the past, but according to some locals, this year may break that trend and give us a more "traditional" looking fall. If true, we can expect some very bright colors as we head into October. For more info on the relationship of weather and leaf color check out this Citizen-Times article.
Here in Asheville, we are already seeing some hints of color on our Maples and Sourwoods, which have a high sugar content and tend to change color early. They are easily identified by their telltale red and orange hues, and are abundant around town. Over the course of the next few weeks, those reds should be a highlight around most roads and buildings. But if you want to get a jump on tourists and get an early start on your leaf viewing, I recommend going into our higher elevation areas. The Blue Ridge Parkway is ideal for that, it is easy to access from the Asheville and can get you to high elevation viewing areas within 20 miles. For more on the Blue Ridge Parkway check out this WEBSITE.
Another thing to look for in these early fall months when the leaves are not quite ready to change are wildflowers. Fall wildflowers are always in abundance here in the mountains and offer a large variety of color along roads and mountain ridges. Common fall flowers in the area include Asters, Queen Anne’s Lace, Cardinal Flower, and the more well known Goldenrod, among others. Wildflowers provide a full color palette of beauty for enjoyment as we wait on the fall colors to begin. For more info on wildflowers in the area, this is a good REFERENCE.
Asheville is always the place to be for special events, early fall in particular has a lot to offer for people visiting the area. This weekend we have the 33rd annual Asheville Greek Festival at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church in the historic Montford area of Asheville. The festival provides Greek food, beer, and traditional music for visitors to enjoy, and admission is free! For more info, follow this LINK.
For the more nature-oriented among you, there is also the 2nd Annual DuPont Forest Festival this Saturday to celebrate National Public Lands Day. The event celebrates the beauty of the park and will have a number of events including live demos, wildlife presentations, history hikes, food trucks and more. Here's where you'll find MORE on the festival.
As you can there is still a lot to see in the Asheville area even though its still early in our leaf season. Come out and enjoy the flowers and the sunny weather as we head deeper into autumn and what I hope is a magnificent leaf season. I’m excited to be here again with you this year, and I hope my Primer can give you just a taste of Asheville and the beauty it holds during the fall months.
Hendersonville - So, it seems we must be a tad bit worried about the highly-anticipated fall leaf season this year. Some are saying we will not have good leaf color and others say it is going to be spectacular! All I know is there are trees all around town showing off their first colors as a soft blush. The dogwoods are deepening their leaves to mahogany and the maples are putting on their party finery like a sprinkle of glitter across your nose.
The weather is forecast to be pretty warm next week, but the nights are cool, which is perfect! No rain in sight (check the weather forecast HERE), which is wonderful for outdoor activities like the Oktoberfest and Dachshund Races at the Southern Appalachian Brewery on Locust Street in Hendersonville. Polka music and dancing, dachshunds, and beer, along with German food and a costume contest make for a fun day. There is a small fee and proceeds from the races benefit the Blue Ridge Humane Society. Save the date, Saturday, September 28 from 1 p.m.- 6 p.m.
Art on Main will also be happening on Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit Main Street for an amazing outdoor arts and crafts festival featuring more than 100 of the best artists from the southeast. Vendors sell beautiful artwork and crafts and there will be art demonstrations, too. This event is free.
The North Carolina Arboretum will be hosting the fifth annual Monarch Butterfly Day this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monarch butterflies migrate every year through the mountains of Western North Carolina on their way to Mexico for the winter. The monarch population has been declining and this festival is part of a national effort to help restore the monarchs. Besides the beautiful grounds the arboretum will offer butterfly crafts, milkweed plants for sale, and a butterfly release. Parking and entrance fees apply.
Don’t forget to visit the local apple orchards and farm stands for pumpkins, apples, and fresh veggies. My personal favorite is Sky Top Orchard. The apple trees are planted on a slope and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains as you pick your own apples. Try an apple doughnut or one of the heavenly apple crumb top pies - YUM! There is also a playground for the little guys to play while the big guys eat pie.
We will get together again next week- I promise!
Greenville - Fall is coming to Greenville. The leaves are slow to turn in South Carolina with peak color not coming until mid to late November, although a few trees are starting their turn even now (i.e. Ash). However, here’s lots to do while you wait! The weather looks to be perfect for getting out and doing things outside - it may be a little warm, so be sure to bring some water along to hydrate often. Check the forecast HERE.
The weekend of September 27-29 is the Oktoberfest at Fireforge Crafted Beer. Guten Tag! Enjoy seasonal brews, food trucks, games and feats of strength; dirndl & lederhosen costume contests, live music, and more at the family-friendly Oktoberfest extravaganza! Friday, September 27, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, September 28, noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday, September 29, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. It's right in Downtown Greenville at 311 E. Washington Street. This is a non-smoking and non-vaping event.
Happening soon is Fall for Greenville the weekend of October 11-13 when over 40 restaurants feature over 200 menu items and combine with multiple stages featuring musical talent from all over the region. You'll definitely want to include this on your fall travel itinerary.
If you are interested in a foliage tour, the recommended path to follow is the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, and if you would rather have an armchair alternative, check out the Table Mountain webcam for a live view of the color change as it is happening!
Knoxville - The waning days of summer finally reached their conclusion this weekend in Knoxville, but summer heat still wants to maintain its fierce hold on us for at least another weekend. Temperatures will reach the mid-90’s throughout most of the area. Before heading out, be sure to check the weather and be prepared.
Still, we hold out hope that autumn will soon arrive and bring some relief to the heat-weary. We listen for the subtle shift from late summer cicadas to early autumn crickets, and we venture into the higher elevations in search of some changing leaves. One such venture was a hike along one of the area’s lesser-known parks, the House Mountain State Natural Area.
This lone-standing mountain is only a 25-minute drive from the heart of Downtown Knoxville and provides several short, but rugged, trails for people seeking a vigorous early morning outdoor excursion before going into town for work or weekend brunch.
Some of the leaves showed a small hint of change, but the predominant color among them is brown, which indicates how much we are in need of a cold snap and some rain to spur them into brighter hues. In some areas, the Maples make a valiant effort, but for now, we’ll just have to seek the majority of our fall colors in the abundant fields of goldenrod.
Meanwhile, Knoxville has plunged head-first into autumn festival season with a dizzying array of events coming up this weekend.
or starters, the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral will be hosting the 40th Annual Greek Festival on September 27-29 serving up traditional Greek food and pastries and lots of live music and traditional Greek dancing.
Also that weekend, September 28 and 29, will be the Hola Festival. Held on Market Square in the heart of Downtown Knoxville (just a couple of blocks from Knoxville’s Mast General Store), this festival celebrates Latino culture with plenty of food, live music, dance, and art.
And just down the hill, in Knoxville’s Old City District, folks will be celebrating Oktoberfest In The Old City on September. 28, with lots of German beer, hand-made crafts, and live music.
For those who prefer their festivals a bit more “down-home,” there’s Dollywood’s Harvest Festival in nearby Pigeon Forge beginning on September 27 and running until November 2. This event will feature crafts like blacksmithing, glass-blowing, and pottery making from visiting artisans, live Gospel music, and the park’s famous Great Pumpkin Luminights installation.
And if you prefer quiet creativity in nature over the bustle of an outdoor festival (and you have a spare $125 to spend), Ijams Nature Center will be hosting a Nature Walk + Photo Workshop on September 29 to teach the basics of nature photography to a limited number of budding shutterbugs anxious to capture their own snapshots of the local fall colors.
See you next week!