Fall Color Report

Post date: 09/30/2013
 This is the first weekend of autumn and also the first time I can report that fall leaf color in the mountains is beginning to show in earnest, especially above 4,000' elevation. Check out the photo attached which I took at Tynecastle, at the intersection of Rts. 105 and 184, near Banner Elk, and just west of Grandfather Mountain State Park. The sugar and red maples are coming out and should peak at the higher elevations by next weekend.American ash is turning also (a dull purplish color), and the mountain ash fruits are like red beacons against the background of spruce and still green...
Post date: 09/16/2013
 The forecast for this week is, in a nutshell, the same as last week: Green! Trees in the High Country still have most of their leaves, and there is isn't much to report right now. Yellow buckeyes are about the only tree species to show a significant change: most have started losing their leaves (remember, these trees are early to leaf out, and early to lose them in the fall – the botanical equivalent of early to bed, early to rise!). However, they also get a leaf fungal disease, so their leaves do not provide much color. Dogwoods and burning bushes are coming along and increasing in...
Post date: 09/09/2013
 Yesterday I took a nice walk with my daughter Gabriela and her dog Hanna, around Bass Lake, just south of Blowing Rock, NC. The lake is part of the original Cone Manor Estate and now a part of the National Park System (http://www.blueridgeheritage.com/attractions-destinations/moses-cone-manor). The first floor of the manor (known as Flat Top Manor) is open to the public and houses a craft center. It was built in 1901 by Moses Cone, a textile magnate at the turn of the 20th century and is part of a 3,500 acre estate. Local crafts people demonstrate their skills on the front porch...
Post date: 10/29/2012
 In the years that I have been reporting on fall color, I have rarely had to contend with hurricane-induced snow storms, but that is what is forecast for this week as Hurricane Sandy moves up the east coast this week and combines with a cold front coming in from the upper Midwest. According to the latest weather reports, significant accumulations of snow are expected for the southern Appalachians in North Carolina, all the way down to Asheville. Some 15" of snow may fall at the highest elevations, with 6" expected for Boone coupled with high winds gusting over 60 mph. If that doesn't...
Post date: 10/21/2012
 Well, you know the dictum – it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature! You may remember that last weekend I said it was probably peak color time for the Boone to Grandfather area. But I was wrong, to say the least! After a drive off the mountain on Saturday, Mother Nature surprised me by bringing out the brilliant reds from the red maples and oaks, contrasting them against the bright yellows of late turning sugar maples. This combination brought out the colors all along the eastern flank of the mountains, from Ashe County down to Linville Falls.Given the mostly calm and sunny weather...
Post date: 10/14/2012
 This was the peak fall color weekend for the Blowing Rock to Grandfather Mountain region, and fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway was brilliant and awe inspiring. I think the leaf color will last through this week to the upcoming weekend. If you are planning to come up this week or next weekend, there should still be color in this area of the High Country, even though it may be slightly past peak. There are still many green trees starting to turn, so colors should persist for a while. For example, oaks are just now starting to turn, and they bring nice deep rust red colors to the...
Post date: 10/07/2012
 While this past Saturday was beautiful, and hopefully people enjoyed the fall colors in the High Country, Sunday turned cloudy, rainy and cool. Monday is supposed to be partially dreary also, but then after that, the weather reports look very promising for a sunny end to the week and cool, clear days on the weekend, all the way from the Smokies to the Virginia border. That's good, because the colors in the Highlands/Cashiers and Boone areas are going to peak by mid-week, and those colors will persist through the weekend. So, if you're thinking of heading up to the mountains to see the...
Post date: 09/30/2012
 After driving around the mountains this week, I feel comfortable saying that the timing of peak color for this year should be on schedule with past years. Although some trees turned early this year (dogwoods, sourwoods, maples), the rest of the trees seem to be progressing at their usual pace, and based on what I saw this weekend, I think the colors will peak between next weekend and the following one, putting them right on their usual schedule.For the Boone area, I notice that there are patches of good color here and there, but most of the slopes are still primarily green. However,...
Post date: 09/23/2012
 I'm happy to report that fall color is now showing up on most mountain slopes in the High Country. The hills are still mostly green, but just driving on the roads, or hiking on mountain trails, you can see the beginnings of fall color dotting the slopes. As expected, the best developed color is at the higher elevations, especially above Stack Creek on the eastern flank of Grandfather Mountain. This one ridge always peaks early each season, but it also has some of the most spectacular color each year. Something about that ridge causes the colors to be vibrant every year. It's easily seen...
Post date: 09/16/2012
 This report marks our first official fall leaf color report for the 2012 Fall Color Season in the North Carolina Mountains – that is, we are now up on VISITNC.COM and will be here for the duration of this year's fall color season. Many of you have been writing me and wondering if the record warmth we've experienced this year will affect fall leaf color, and I've been telling everyone that since this is an unprecedented year in terms of warmth that we have nothing to base our predictions on. What I can say is that we have not had any severe drought, which is good, and recently, the...