Autumn in Kentucky and Tennessee offers food, fragrance and fun to spare, so take time to enjoy it all during the weeks ahead.
This is the peak season for leaf gazing, and the area is brimming with color. In Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cade's Cove
is the perfect backdrop for a lovely afternoon drive. This vast, verdant valley is one of the most popular tourist draws in the region when the foliage starts to turn. The scenery is a spectacle of color with a mixture of beech, hickory, oak, sourwood and sweet gum trees all mellowing into their autumn hues. If you prefer to get out and stretch your legs a bit, there are numerous trailheads in the Cove area, including a five-mile roundtrip hike to Abrams Falls. The area is well known for the best wildlife viewing in the park; white-tailed deer are frequently seen, along with black bears, groundhogs, coyotes and other mountain animals. Visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cadescove.htmfor more information.
In the Bluegrass State, the area around Lexington is particularly beautiful during fall. Take a self-guided Bluegrass Country Driving Tour through the Kentucky back roads and enjoy an afternoon of unspoiled natural scenery mixed with authentic Kentucky history. For more information, visit www.visitlex.com. From Lexington, head north to relish the flavors of the changing season at Evans Orchard in Georgetown, Kentucky. The farm spans 175 acres including 15 acres of apple and peach orchards and 20 acres of vegetables. Everything is ripe for the picking, so grab a basket and head out into the fields. In-season apple varieties include Enterprise, Cameo, Rome, Goldrush, Fuji, Braeburn and Arkansas Black. You might even come across some Asian Pears in the mix. Through October 31, 2011, the orchard hosts a Harvest Festival that lets you experience fall on the farm and taste for yourself the distinctive flavors of the season. Work up an appetite as you enjoy pony and camel rides, a petting zoo, a corn maze and more. Refuel in the Sweet Apple Cafe, known for selling as many as 20,000 fried apple pies per year. Other favorites on the menu include apple dumplings and apple cider donuts. On your way out, don't forget to stop by the old-fashioned Farm Market & Gift Store. Converted from a historic tobacco barn, the shop offers a delicious assortment of produce, jams, jellies and honey produced right on the farm. For more information, visit www.evansorchard.com.
To fill your home with the aromas of the season, visit The Candle Cottage in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The shop boasts 30 years of candle making expertise, and all candles are handcrafted in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The Candle Cottage offers a large variety of fragrances and waxes in reusable glass jar containers. Seasonal favorites include Apple Crisp, Apple Jack, Baked Apple Pie, Gingerbread, Hot Chocolate, Hot Cocoa, Roasted Chestnuts, Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Jubilee and Mulled Cider. Their specialty scents evoke the warm and fuzzy feeling of fall. All candles are made with the best waxes and dyes of the region and are long burning. For more information, visit www.candlecottage.com.
While the temperatures outside are cooling off, fall brings many experiences that warm the soul. Enjoy all the sensory treats Kentucky and Tennessee have to offer as the seasons change.