Fall in the Mountains is Closer Than You Think
With fall comes leaves of all different colors, apple-picking and outdoor adventures galore. Cool weather first hits in the mountains and lucky for us in the Southeast, the mountains are just a couple of hours away. From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Blue Ridge Mountains, we are able to truly experience the change of the seasons and embrace all the activities fall has to offer.
Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains, located on the Tennessee and North Carolina border, are a unique branch of the enormous Appalachian Mountain range. The Smokies get their name from a naturally occuring fog that lends the mountain air a certain smoky haze, creating gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Home to over 180,000 acres of lush forest, the Great Smoky Mountains have much to discover.
If the Blue Ridge Mountains have Helen to provide a certain amount of mountain charm, then Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the Smoky Mountain response. To behold is to love it, especially if you like tourist-centered cities. There are plenty of things to do, ranging from Ripley’s museums, a Sky Lift to see the whole city and shops galore.
For the waterfall lovers, try out Ruby Falls, an underground waterfall located in Lookout Mountain. Discovered by Leo Lambert, and named after his wife Ruby, this waterfall has been a public attraction since the 1930s. Don’t drink the water though: while it’s clean and pure, it’s contains large amounts of magnesium, which is a natural laxative.
While visiting Ruby Falls, check out Rock City, a geological and botanical wonder. Throughout the many nooks and crannies of Rock City, you’ll find numerous trails, a man made waterfall and Fairlyland, a peculiar delight that is decorated with blacklight-responsive gnomes and fairies. There is plenty to see at Rock City, including the view from Lover’s Leap, where you can see up to seven states including: Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Virginia.
The Smoky Mountain Harvest
The Smoky Mountain Harvest in Sevierville, Tennessee is a great cultural outlet that contains everything that makes a small mountain town great! With loads of crafts, fall decorations and food, you’ll get pretty familiar with the birthplace of Dolly Parton! Make sure to stop by the Sevier County Courthouse for a bronze statue of the famous country star.
Dollywood is filled with all sorts of amusement park rides, special shows and all different kinds of options for food. One notable dining inclusion is Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse, which features an “all-you-care-to-eat” smokehouse style buffet. Miss Lillian is just one of many of Dolly Parton’s colorful characters, and she might even sing you a song or two!
Blue Ridge Mountains
Sitting on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina and passing all the way from Georgia through Pennsylvania are the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known by their blue hue when seen from a distance, the Blue Ridge Mountains are full of wonder. Autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains is particularly beautiful, especially from the Blue Ridge Parkway, a snaking road that weaves through the mountains. Throughout this mountain range, there are countless things for the entire family to see!
The Altapass Orchard is a historic apple orchard that is perfectly positioned right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Because of its proximity to the Parkway, this orchard is the perfect spot to pick some fresh apples, peruse the store, sample some fudge and even get some delicious apple pie! Just 2 hours from Charlotte, this orchard is perfect for a day trip this fall with the family. Be sure to grab an ice-cold Cheerwine on your way out the door.
Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a really special time of the year, but don’t let Halloween pass you by! Blowing Rock is the perfect, picturesque small mountain town to spend Halloween with the kids. On October 27, be sure to stop by the Blowing Rock Halloween Festival for trick-or-treating, hayrides, decorations and a monster march down Main Street! Just over 3 hours from Raleigh, this mountain town is great for a weekend getaway.
For anyone who hasn’t experienced Bavarian culture by way of the Georgia mountains, Helen might just be the just location for you. Characterized by eclectic charm, Helen showcases a diverse blend of art, culture, tradition and history. knickknacks , putt-putt golf and vineyards, Helen is full of eclectic charm. From local vineyards to corn mazes to Oktoberfest, Helen has a lot to offer.
Grandfather Mountain in Linville, North Carolina, is an excellent place to see up 100 miles of the incredible beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as it is the highest point at an elevation of 5,496 feet. For the adventure seeker, try out the Mile-High Bridge where you’ll get an unforgettable 360° view of the scenery around the mountain. Be careful on that bridge though: there are some reports that record a 200 mph wind speed on the mountain!
Downtown Blue Ridge
If you’re looking for a mountain evening without the kids, consider Grumpy Old Men Brewing in Blue Ridge, Georgia. This a local brewery that specializes in small-batch craft beers that are brewed on site. They say: “If we don’t like it, we don’t drink it. If we don’t drink it, we don’t sell it.” Feeling like food? There are several awesome restaurants in downtown Blue Ridge just a mile down the road. Our favorites include Chesters, Masseria Kitchen+Bar and Fightingtown Tavern.