“America’s favorite drive”, an idea that originated in Virginia circa 1933, and may have very well started as fantasy. But fantasy is a foundational ingredient of living, and when pursued with passion, grandeur may ensue. The Blue Ridge Parkway, completed in 1987, is no doubt the result of fantasy and passion.
The Blue Ridge Mountains offer one of the longest running, and most colorful fall leaf seasons in the world. Over one hundred species of trees show off their October best. It’s nothing if not awe-inspiring.
The best part? It can all be witnessed on an old crooked road, topping beautiful blue mountains, dipping into river valleys, and wandering through national forests. It’s a ride connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Cruise the 469 magnificent miles in our Wild East at 45mph, allowing the freedom to discover and appreciate it’s enchantment.
Pro tip: Go during the month of October, usually mid to late month. Leaves will begin changing first on the highest peaks, eventually settling into the lower elevations. Drive, pull over, walk, observe… repeat, repeat, repeat.
Imagine the wind whistling through the pines, and leaves crunching under your feet, as you breathe in the cool air. Autumn paints a kaleidoscope of colors in red, orange, and yellow. Autumn speaks in a whisper, offering its reprieve from the harsh Summer months. Fall can be a sensational time for a hike in the forest.
Sensational to my ears! We can’t see wind, only the things it moves. We can’t hear the wind unless it’s flowing past something. That whistle and whisper from the wind has captivated so many, and for so long. It is known as psithurism (sith-err-iz-um). Psithurism is the enchanting sounds of wind in the trees and the rustling of leaves.
Sensational to my eyes! Billy Madison made us laugh, “Chlorophyll? More like Borophyll!” But what Billy failed to mention is that it’s Chlorophyll, or rather the lack thereof, that we can thank for our beloved Fall colors. You probably remember the word chlorophyll from elementary Natural Science class. It’s the secret sauce that gives plants their green color. But as Summer ends, with fewer daylight hours, leaves are not able to make as much Chlorophyll as they do during the long hours of Spring and Summer. As the days grow shorter, that dark green color fades, and oranges and yellows emerge. Craving pumpkin spice, and flannel everything yet??
So as Summer gives way to Fall, if you find yourself in the area, why not jump on US Route 441 and experience one of the most beautiful drives the Wild East has to offer? No flannel or pumpkin spice required.