Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Living in the South: Fall Foliage
If you’ve lived in the North and are now living in the South, you might think you’re going to miss the brilliant fall foliage to which you’re accustomed, now that you’re enjoying southern living. In some areas of the Deep South, you’re right – you won’t see a lot of autumn color in Florida, South Georgia, South Alabama, South Louisiana, or South Mississippi. You’ll see splotches here and there, but that’s about it. Don’t give up completely on southern fall foliage, however!
The mountains of North Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, and Western North Carolina erupt in a kaleidoscope of bright colors every fall! The hillsides and valleys are literally covered with scarlet, crimson, orange, gold, yellow, ochre, and rust. In fact, I think this area would rival any in the United States when it comes to colorful autumn leaves.
A couple of the best places to take in the fall foliage in the South are in North Georgia and in the Great Smoky Mountains. In North Georgia, check out the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway, just north of Helen, GA. This is a beautiful drive that takes you past some of the highest elevations in the state. You’ll pass by country churches, small farms, historic homes, and verdant valleys. The road is winding, with some hairpin turns, so drive carefully, especially when you’re in a cloud.
Another breathtakingly beautiful drive is the one between Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This drive is all landscape, with no houses and no businesses to adulterate your experience. There are numerous places to pull over and soak up the amazing scenery. Along the way, you might even see black bears, deer, or wild turkeys. Be warned – at the height of the season, the traffic can be bumper-to-bumper, especially on the weekends.
The peak foliage time for these regions is usually around the middle of October, but it changes slightly from year to year, depending on weather conditions. You can keep abreast of the leaf change via the internet.