First Signs of Fall Color

First Signs of Fall Color
(September, 18, 2008) —The lights have dimmed and the curtain is just about to rise. Fall is just around the corner, and recent weather patterns indicate a long, colorful season.

In the Asheville area, fall foliage season lasts from late September to early November due to the region’s varied elevations as color begins at highest elevations and creeps down the mountainsides. One of the most diverse biological regions in the world, the Blue Ridge Mountains are home to hundreds of deciduous tree and shrub species that create a vibrant palette of colors in the landscape.

The Experts Say...
Fall is definitely in the air and the cool weather trend in recent days is a good recipe for fall color, according to Dr. Gary Walker, biology professor at Appalachian State University. If the region continues to see warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights, visitors can expect to see nice fall foliage this year.

While it is still early in the season, some leaves have already begun to turn. Color hunter Lynn Collins from Maggie Valley reports just a tinge of orange at the tops of a few maple trees. Katherine Matthews, botany professor at Western Carolina University (WCU), has seen some trees with hints of red in her area near Great Smoky Mountain National Park including sourwoods, dogwoods, sumacs, and vines like the Virginia creeper.

Fall Color Isn't Just on the Trees
Although the leaves have yet to come out in full force, late summer wildflowers are still in bloom in the Southern Appalachians. You can find bellflowers, angelicas, witch hazel, and blazing stars near the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center on the
Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 364.6.

Elsewhere in the region you may find that love vines, Queen Anne’s lace, mountain ash, starry campions, goldenrods and asters continue to offer their splendid palettes.

Weekly Updates
Make sure to check back each week for updates on where to find the best color in Western North Carolina. And as you’re out this fall in the Asheville area,
share your fall photos with us.

Insider Tips
Fall Harvest Tailgate Flavors of the Week: Late summer rains gave North Carolina, the seventh largest apple producing state in the country, a bountiful harvest of intensely sweet apples. Now is the perfect time to pick up a bushel of apples as well as native grapes, like Muscadine and Scuppernongs, at area
tailgate markets.

Budget Tip: Now is the best time to plan your fall vacation. To get the best rates at area accommodations, consider coming in late September or early November. The color is still great and crowds tend to be less. Book your room online now. If you are looking to getaway early in the fall season, check out our Extend the Weekend packages to make trip-planning an ease.

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