~ New ways to see the leaves change, interactive 360-degree views and weekly color reports at FallintheMountains.com ~
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (August 24, 2017) – Biologists and NOAA weather experts are citing ideal conditions for a healthy and bright 2017 fall color show across the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville, an area known for one of the longest and most colorful fall foliage seasons in the world. Named Lonely Planet’s “Best in the U.S.” travel destination for 2017, Asheville heads into autumn with a slate of new fall color adventures for travelers including new hotels with rooftop views, “forest bathing” ecotours and craft breweries with panoramic mountain scenery. Fall travel deals, weekly color updates and interactive 360-degree views of peaking fall leaves at http://www.FallintheMountains.com.
WHAT’S NEW IN AMERICA’S BEST FALL COLOR DESTINATION
The Asheville area experiences an unusually long leaf season due to extreme elevations and unmatched biodiversity. New this year are a variety of ways to experience the extended color.
- New Hotels for Fall: Just opened, the AC Hotel Asheville Downtown (a boutique brand by Marriott) is home to Capella on 9, a new rooftop restaurant and bar with 360-degree views of mountains and city landmarks. The Cambria Downtown Asheville, set next to the historic Grove Arcade, opens later this fall. Also check out Pillar Bar at Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown and Montford Rooftop Bar at the Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown.
- New Ways to Get Outside: Try the new Land & Lore Ecotours with private natural history tour options and hikes to waterfalls near Asheville; combine hiking and outdoor spa treatments for the ultimate forest bathing experience with Ascend Adventure Wellness; or hop on the six-person party paddleboard from Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours (season open until October 31).
- Craft Brew with a View: New breweries have been popping up in the scenic countryside around Asheville – Turgua Brewing Company, a small farmhouse brewery using locally sourced ingredients, and Whistle Hop, with its antique train caboose taproom, disc golf course and sweeping mountain views.
- Harvest Food News: Check out Asheville Farm to Table Tour’s new mini tour, offering a three-hour trip to local farms and artisan creameries; Chef Katie Button’s new vermouth bar at Cúrate; a frenzy of new restaurants in West Asheville; and “Taste of Biltmore,” a two-month celebration of Biltmore’s farm-to-table heritage with outdoor feasts across the estate, special tastings and behind-the-vine winery and vineyard tours.
FALL FOLIAGE REPORT: IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR A COLORFUL BLUE RIDGE AUTUMN
A warm and wet 2017 with a temperate summer has biologists and fall color experts predicting that autumn will be beautiful and vibrant across the Blue Ridge.
According to NOAA Climate Scientist Jake Crouch, Asheville is experiencing its second warmest year on record. The average high temperature of 58.8 degrees Fahrenheit is 3.5 degrees above normal. Much of the warmth occurred in winter and early spring, with summer offering more temperate conditions. While precipitation levels for Asheville are above average in 2017, the summer has been fairly dry. "Drier soils typically mean brighter fall color in the mountains,” said Crouch. “But we aren’t having to worry about any extreme conditions like drought and what that might do to the leaves.”
Healthy trees will add to the color spectrum this year says Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, professor of biology and "fall color guy" at Appalachian State University. "We aren't seeing trees prematurely losing their leaves in the mountains. Tulip poplars often lose their leaves in the summer, but this year we may get to enjoy an added burst of bright yellow from these sentinels in the forest."
As the area moves into autumn with favorable conditions, a continuation of below-average precipitation is ideal to keep the strong color on track this year. Dr. Beverly Collins, a biology professor and fall foliage forecaster at Western Carolina University, adds that September weather is a very important factor for fall color. Sunny days and crisp, cool nights during the month are what causes green chlorophyll in leaves to degrade and red, orange and yellow pigments to emerge. The extreme variation in elevation and variety of tree species make for a colorful display of falling leaves from late September (at the highest locations like Grandfather Mountain and Mt. Mitchell) to early November (lower locales like Chimney Rock).
FALL 360 COLOR REPORTS: FALLINTHEMOUNTAINS.COM
Weekly fall color reports at FallintheMountains.com will gather input from biologists and weather experts, color progression updates from area parks and attractions, autumn travel deals and fall events. Stay tuned for Facebook Live updates with Explore Asheville’s fall color experts at www.facebook.com/Asheville. NEW THIS YEAR: interactive 360-degree fall views of peaking fall color and up-to-date looks at where the best color can be found.
Surrounded by the highest peaks in the East, Asheville is steeped in natural history, fall adventure and cultural legacies – including America’s Largest Home, Biltmore. With elevations that range from 1,500 feet in the valleys to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River), the Blue Ridge Mountains have more than 100 deciduous (leaf-shedding) tree species, regularly placing the area among the nation’s top fall travel destinations.