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October in WNC

By Missy Schenck

WNC outdoors

October is the month for the fall foliage show in WNC and brings a kaleidoscope of leaf colors for many weeks. The Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains have one of the longest autumn color seasons in the country, thanks to the many 6,000-foot peaks, deep valleys and varying microclimates. Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the changing of the leaves and breathtaking views of the mountains.

Another great way to experience the leaves in WNC is on the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad with excursions along the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, over the mountains, across valleys and through tunnels.

North Carolina is the seventh largest apple-producing state in the nation and Henderson County is the largest apple-producing county in North Carolina. The apple season runs from August through October and many of the orchards are open daily for “pick your own” apples, hayrides and barn animal petting arenas. Early arrival is recommended as these venues are popular. Masks are required.

Events and festivals

  • Tryon International Film Festival, October 8-10.

  • Leaf Festival, October 14-17, a longtime favorite multicultural music festival held in Black Mountain on Lake Eden at Camp Rockmont.

  • Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, October 14-17, celebrating 73 years, showcases the work of members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild with free craft demonstrations, regional music and entertainment.

  • North Carolina Ceramics Arts Festival, October 23.

  • Uncommon Market, October 24, Asheville’s largest curated pop-up market for antiques, art, vintage décor, jewelry and beyond in the River Arts District.

Plan ahead for holiday events

  • Van Gogh Alive at Biltmore, Nov. 5–March 5

  • Christmas at Biltmore, Nov. 5–Jan. 9

  • Polar Express Train, Bryson City, Nov. 12–Dec. 31

  • Christmas Wonder Lights, Tryon, Nov. 17–Jan. 1

  • Winter Lights at the N.C. Arboretum, Asheville, Nov. 20–Jan. 2

  • National Gingerbread Competition, Grove Park Inn, Asheville, Nov. 20–Jan. 10

  • Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas, virtual, Nov. 30–Dec. 20

Fishing tips for October

Hannah Myers of Headwaters Outfitters says, “N.C. Delayed Harvest waters will open back up starting in October. These streams will switch from Hatchery Supported Regulations to DH Regulations, so keep lure/bait/hook restriction changes in mind. Delayed Harvest streams offer beginners a great chance to try their hand at fly fishing due to the quantity of fish released paired with fairly easy river access. These streams can become heavily crowded as well. Don’t forget about our wild streams! Keep your fly box simple: eggs, worms, zonkers, girdle bugs and just about anything with some flash!”

Missy Craver Izard was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. She resides in Flat Rock, North Carolina with her husband, Sandy Schenck, where their family runs a summer camp.


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