Fall ushers in a time for cozy sweaters, apple cider, and leaf-peeping. Get outdoors and enjoy the mountains of Western North Carolina as the leaves change from the deep greens of summer to the bright reds, golds and oranges of fall. It’s also a great time to mix the palate of brilliant colors with a hearty dash of apple orchards and pumpkin patches, which give you the makings of an unforgettable autumn adventure for the entire family.
The good news is peak color doesn’t just happen in a single weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It actually begins at the highest elevations in late September, and trickles down to the valleys below by early November. The dramatic elevation changes makes for one of the longest leaf season in the world. So you can catch peak color for a full 4 to 6 weeks if you know when, and where, to look.
Apple Picking with a Mountain View
Fall in the mountains isn’t just for leaf peeping. It’s also a time for Appalachian harvest adventures. Here are some ideas for some fall excursions across the mountains.
Start with a drive up to Spruce Pine to visit The Orchard at Altapass. Sitting high atop the Blue Ridge atop the Eastern Continental Divide, the Orchard is historic and fun. And the forecast for this year is for an exceptional apple harvest. Because the Orchard is a natural home of milkweed, the host plant for Monarch butterflies, this is a Monarch friendly stop where you can enjoy watching, and learning, about this important species.
Be sure to swing by Morganton as you traverse along your leaf-peeping adventure and visit the Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill. This family-owned farm goes back five generations. But one thing is constant… they love welcoming visitors each fall. Head on over to their cider mill, country store, U-Pick apples, tours and a yummy bakery.
Whether you are in the mood for pumpkins or cider, there’s no better place than Saluda, a place to make you feel refreshed and relaxed in no time. Put your feet up and take a break at The Orchard Inn, a historic Bed & Breakfast tucked away in the mountains. And it’s the perfect place to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends.
Suggested Day Trip: Visit Apple Country
Take an easy ride over to Hendersonville and visit the orchards and farms in one of the largest apple-producing counties in North Carolina. Most orchards are open daily and several offer tours. This road trip will takes you past multiple points of interest including multiple orchards, Chimney Rock State Park, Lake Lure, and the NC Arboretum. Stay in the heart of it all and put your feet up at Little Creek Rentals for some wonderful views spanning across the beautiful autumn landscape. You might even see Johnny Appleseed himself!
Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Gather up your family and friends and spend time together navigating a corn maze. You can find corn mazes throughout the mountain region and most vary in the experience for all ages and skill levels. Near Asheville, both children and children at heart will love the Eliada Corn Maze and the Hickory Nut Gap Farm corn maze. Corn mazes are one of the best parts of fall so grab a cup of hot cider and go mazy!
Fall Wine Getaways
Apples and pumpkins aren’t the only seasonal crops in the Blue Ridge. Fall is one of the most popular times of the year to visit the great wineries that dot every corner of the region. You really can’t go wrong with a day trip or weekend getaway to a vineyard. To get your (grape) juices flowing, be sure to check out Lake James Cellars Winery located in the foothills and have a taste of the magnificent flavors of their fine wines. While you’re in Morganton, stop by the Silver Fork Vineyard & Winery tasting room and sample some of their unforgettable offerings, including Four Dog Red, a signature red blend inspired by their beloved puppy family.
Visit America’s Most Visited Winery
No trip to the Blue Ridge is complete without a visit to Biltmore. Their historic Biltmore Winery is nestled on an 8,000-acre estate surrounded by stunning views in every direction. Celebrate the season change with spectacular displays of color and a bounty of award-winning wines. Unpack your bags at the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate for a comfortable starting point on your Biltmore adventure.
The Perfect Fall Vacation for Any Budget
Satisfy your wanderlust this fall season in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s hard to resist the gorgeous hues adorning the forests and the endless activities for the entire family. Start planning your fall adventure today!