Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]

Fall began a couple of weeks ago, however around these parts "Fall" means "fall color" and you can use just about any other term such as fall foliage – however no matter the term today unofficially begins what we call fall foliage season here in the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and into the mountains of North Georgia and Northwest Maryland.

The highest elevations will see the fall color first and it may come as a surprise to many of you who are reading this that SOME of our trees around the High Country of Western North Carolina are already leaf-less. Sugar Maples are among the first trees to turn each Autumn and I was up around the base of Beech Mountain this past weekend and a few of our trees up there are already bare.

The drive up Hwy 105 South from Foscoe/Seven Devils to Banner Elk and from Tynecastle on Hwy 184 through Sugar and up towards Beech Mountain and Valle Crucis is already showing a good bit of color which has prompted some to forecast an early peak season. I’m going out on a limb here to say that I think you’ll have a colorful trip of leaf gawking if you made the drive up today through this weekend…but I think peak color is probably still 10 days or so away.

September 30, 2012

I was up at the foot of Beech Mountain where I routinely report that "snow goes to die" every winter. This place will ALWAYS get more snowfall everytime it snows each winter (than locations closeby). Anyway I was up there on Sunday and snapped this photo that shows that while many neighboring trees are still green – there are some that simply decided to burst out with tons of color.

Although it isn’t showing you guys any color, I also snapped this shot while driving up Cliffwood Drive in Sleepy Hollow (Banner Elk). A family of turkeys was lazily crossing the road and a couple of them looked pretty close to "peak" as well! 😉

THINKING ABOUT A FALL GETAWAY?

This week and weekend should make for a good time to make the drive up. While colors are certainly NOT anywhere near peak, NEITHER is the heavy traffic! This weekend Beech Mountain will be hosting their 19th annual "Autumn at Oz" festival. This would be a great weekend for your trip as well. There’s no question that traffic will be a bit heavier, but so will the color.

On Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, travel back in time to 1939 to the enchanted world of the "Oz", high atop Beech Mountain at the Land of Oz park. This year the 19th annual "Autumn at Oz" Festival is returning with an expanded venue providing visitors with more activities, food, drink, and sights to behold while maintaining the same nostalgic feeling from the Land of Oz.

Children and adults a like will be enchanted as they experience the re-­creation of Dorothy’s trip from her farm home in Kansas through the twister and down the yellow brick road to the "Land of OZ". Along your journey you will be met by a full cast portraying many of the vibrant characters similar to those of the original movie production.

You can see more about Autumn at Oz by clicking here: http://www.autumnatoz.com

The following weekend – which should coincide with peak color – Sugar Mountain will host their annual Oktoberfest and we’ll post more about that in the coming days.

We’re getting some good rain today (October 1st and 2nd) and the slightly cooler temps should charge up the leaf color turning machine. So come back here for updates.

If you’d like to provide us with some information about your neck of the woods, send those to me (along with any photos) to [email protected]  

SUMMARY OF OCTOBER 1, 2012 NC FALL COLOR UPDATE:

After driving around the mountains from Marion, Linville, Linville Ridge, Linville Falls, Valle Crucis, Blowing Rock, Boone, Banner Elk and up to Beech Mountain – YES I touched the ground at every one of those communities and more in the last week 😉 – I feel very comfortable saying that the timing of this year’s peak fall foliage color will be right about on par and on schedule with most seasons. In other words, while we are already seeing SOME color and some nice pockets of autumn patchwork, I think PEAK COLOR is about 7-10 days away.

Although some trees have already turned (dogwoods, sugar maples and sourwoods) most have not. The highest elevations around Beech Mountain and the top of Sugar, Mt. Mitchell etc will certainly see peak-like color this coming weekend and by this weekend I’d expect Grandfather Mountain to be at peak color up top. Blowing Rock is already seeing some nice color as well, but again I think we’re still 7-10 days away from peak over there.

If you can’t make the trip up to the mountains, we HIGHLY recommend checking out ALL the cameras at the new www.ResortCams.com . Please pass the word to your friends as well.

SUGAR MOUNTAIN GIVING YOU TWO NIGHTS FREE STAY!

See: http://www.skisoutheast.com/articles_3916_Fall-for-Fall-in-the-High-Country-.html?archived=false&type=all&subtype=firsttrax  

If you’re thinking about making the trek up for a fall leaf getaway, why not book and stay at Sugar Mountain. Pay for three nights and they’ll give you a 4th and 5th night free.

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