We hear from guests that the fall foliage at higher elevations (4,000-6,000 feet) on the Blue Ridge Parkway is just past peak, but color still abounds at places like Grandfather Mountain, and wildflowers along the way make for great scenery. [If you’re headed north on the Parkway, be sure to stop by the Orchard at Altapass to take advantage its wonderful mountain views. UPDATE: The Orchard at Altapass closed for the season on November 9. Check their website for their 2008 opening date, and keep in mind they ship their fudge and jars of goodies all year round.]

Locations at lower elevations, such as Chimney Rock Park, are great places to visit right now as their leaf season heads into its peak.

At our elevation (2,500) and around the Asheville area, we’re close to, if not right at, peak. The weird and wacky weather we had this summer and even as late as September means we’ll be getting an extended leaf season. There’s still plenty of green around us; we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that those leaves do put out some color before they fall.

It rained last week, but we’re back to having mild weather and sunny skies, which bring a bursting brightness and sparkle to the leaves as the sun shines through.

Here’s a photo of a morning moon above the orchard with the national forest in the background:

Dave took this photo on his way to Old Fort:

There are several areas to check out if you’re in the neighborhood this week and next. If you’re driving, head out to the North Carolina Arboretum just south of Asheville and witness some spectacular colors (as mentioned in a previous post, the arboretum’s deciduous bonsai trees are changing right along with their regular-sized counterparts).

Head into Asheville or Black Mountain and you’ll see plenty of color while you take in some shopping and grab a bite to eat.

Right here in our neck of the woods, we have two forest service trails off the southern end of our property. The western trail leads along one of the ridges bordering the Inn. About a quarter-mile down the trail is a mountain biking/hiking path off to the left that provides some really beautiful scenery. Now that the leaves are starting to fall, you can begin to see the forest through the trees…we’ll post some pictures of that hike later this week.

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