The mountains call to us this time of year with their glorious reds and yellows, glowing against the hazy blue skies, but their allure belongs to no one season alone.
N&O photographer Juli Leonard and her family went west this summer and found magic in woods and meadows, trails to explore and woods to forage away from the usual tourist stops. Here are some of her suggestions to guide you as you search out the brightest spots of autumn. Take them as a starting point as you plan your own mountain magic.
▪ For information on fall color at different elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway, go to nando.com/fallcolor or call the parkway information line to hear the latest seasonal report at 828-298-0398, and select option 3.
▪ For a list of upcoming events and festivals in the North Carolina mountains, go to highcountryhost.com.
▪ For an out-of-the-way bar check out Marshall Container Co. at 10 S Main St, Marshall. They serve craft beer and small snacks. Find them online at marshallcontainer.com.
▪ For a great vegan meal check out Plant in Asheville, at 165 Merrimon Ave., or online at plantisfood.com.
▪ For a break from Asheville’s tourist-heavy downtown, check out the variety of locally owned shops and eateries in West Asheville’s Haywood Road neighborhood (find them online at onhaywood.com.) A particular favorite is VILLAGERS, an urban homesteading shop with beautiful pottery and gardening tools. Visit them at 278 Haywood Road or online at forvillagers.com.
For craft lovers, check out Penland School of Crafts, an international center for craft in Penland. The school has regular visiting hours for The Penland School Gallery with a variety of work created by artists associated with the school. Find them at 67 Doras Trail or online at penland.org.