Fall color is arriving in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in the Asheville area. Peak color along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Great Smoky Mountains is expected in mid October. So far in 2016, fall color is running about a week later than usual due to our recent warm weather. The first places to see color are the highest ridges, including Mt. Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain and Mt. Pisgah – with the most color during the second week of October.
For a week-by-week fall foliage forecast, go to www.romanticasheville.com/fall.htm. Also, see frequent photo reports at www.romanticasheville.com/fall-color-report.
The fall color season along the Blue Ridge Parkway will last about 4-5 weeks. While the highest sections of the Parkway will peak in early October, the views down into the valleys will last much of the month. The color show will conclude in the lowest valleys, including the Lake Lure and Chimney Rock areas and the foothills of Rutherford County.
Favorite things to do during the autumn season including hiking, waterfalls and scenic drives. There are many state and national parks to explore, including Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gorges State Park and DuPont State Forest. Get outdoors and enjoy!
During your vacation to Asheville, take a fun art class to create a wonderful souvenir – and return home with some new skills. The River’s Edge Painting Studio in the River Arts District has a big variety of art workshops and lessons. Located near downtown Asheville and Biltmore Estate, they love to introduce beginners to many techniques. Here are just a couple of upcoming classes:
April 7, 2016: Golden Effects with Watercolor and Beer, Wine and More – A unique Approach!
Celebrate National Beer Day with this fun 3-hour class that begins at 12:30 PM. Create luminous effects in skies, water and golden glows in your landscapes using dark beer and watercolor as your painting medium. Dark beers produced in the Asheville area will be used for warm tones in small paintings. Create 2 to 4 paintings, depending on your choices of subject and how quickly you work. Reference materials, beer for painting and a few select tube watercolors will be supplied. Some pieces will be pre-sketched to take the worry of drawing away, and allow you to paint more! No experience necessary. $90 Tuition.
April 9, 2016: Experimental Watercolor
Delve deep into new ways to work with watercolor in this full day hands on class, 10 AM-4 PM. This workshop is for artists with no or a lot of experience, but want to explore new and free techniques with watercolor. Experiment with scrubbing, dripping, splashing and glazing and more in an unexpected way. Learn about different papers, non-traditional tools, brushes and painting on an easel. Start new work, bring your own work to salvage or enhance, bring your own reference or use what is provided. Experiment with light and dark before color and creating a strong mood before subject. Nadine is an award winning former New York artist now residing in Asheville, with a studio at 310 ART. $125/person.
Read more about Asheville Art Classes and Workshops.
Looking for free things to do in Asheville, NC? With a 5,000-foot elevation change, our area of the lush Blue Ridge Mountains has one of the longest-running fall color displays in the country. You don’t have to spend a bundle to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Here are ten vacation getaway ideas for all of us on a tight budget:
- Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the top scenic drives in the country with breathtaking views from overlooks, walking trails, and great spots for picnics.
- Take a hike with trails for all fitness levels, from short walks in the woods to strenuous hikes up to mountain peaks. Find hundreds of trails along the Parkway, and in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests.
- Experience Downtown Asheville with hundreds of locally-owned boutiques and art galleries. Enjoy street entertainers, great people watching and the Friday night Drum Circle.
- Drive to the top of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rockies, and enjoy panoramic views from the observation deck. Take a jacket! It’s always 15-20 degrees cooler up top.
- Discover lots of art since this is one of the top arts destinations in the country. Galleries abound in downtown Asheville and in Biltmore Village, along with artist studios in the River Arts District. The Folk Art Center has galleries and daily craft demonstrations.
- Find waterfalls in free state and federal parks. At Dupont State Forest, take a short hike to see three waterfalls. Other waterfalls include Looking Glass Falls, Rainbow Falls and Linville Falls. We have guides to our 60 favorites.
- Watch elk graze a short distance away from your car in the Cataloochee Valley section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are two additional entrances to the park within 50 miles of Asheville with many free historic sites, hiking trails and more.
- Tour the Estes-Winn Antique Automobile Museum with collection of 20 classics, just a few miles from downtown.
- Explore architecture, art and history on downtown Asheville’s Urban Trail, a 1.7-mile walking tour.
- Enjoy the fall foliage from your bicycle on many mountain bike trails in Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests.
For more details on these and the fall foliage forecast and reports, go to our 700-page free online Asheville NC travel guide.