Looking to experience fall in the Blue Ridge Parkway? Here are our top picks for things to do, see, and experience, as well as where to stay and what to eat.
- Rough Ridge: The shortest, but also one of the most rewarding hikes, close to both Boone and Blowing Rock, Rough Ridge is one of the perfect spots to view the colorful fall foliage. The hike offers views of both Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct, alongside plenty of boulders along the way, great for picnicking and enjoying the beauty of the surrounding vegetation.
- Linville Falls: Also not far from Blowing Rock or Boone, Linville Falls offers access to some of the most stunning waterfalls in North Carolina. All five viewpoints require about a four mile hike, but are worth the journey and spectacular sights they result in. Fall in The Blue Ridge Parkway never looked more beautiful.
- Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower: Near Asheville, Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower is only 1.5 miles total, but offers exceptional views from the five flights of stairs on the tower. This quick hike offers views of both Looking Glass Rock and Cold Mountain, made famous by the renowned novel of the same name by North Carolina native Charles Frazier.
- Shenandoah National Park: North of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive connects directly with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Whether for a day-hike or for overnight backpacking, Shenandoah also features various picnic grounds, restaurants and exhibits scattered throughout, complementing the abundance of its natural elegance.
- Biltmore: America’s largest home, the Biltmore remains an escape into the grandiose décor and architecture of the past. Alongside touring the interior of the dazzling residence, the home also boasts America’s most visited winery, in addition to features such as a spa and numerous outdoor adventures such as kayaking, biking and horseback riding. Whether taking a stroll throughout indoors or outdoors in the magnificent grounds, the Biltmore never fails to disappoint, and during fall in The Blue Ridge, this is particularly spectacular.
- Andon-Reid Inn and Bed and Breakfast: Nominated as one of TripAdvisor’s 25 Top B&Bs in the USA, Andon-Reid Inn is located in downtown Waynesville. Only thirty minutes away from both Asheville and Biltmore, Andon-Reid offers both a prime location and an extremely inviting breakfast menu. With options such as lemon ricotta pancakes, homemade biscuits with Nantahala sausage gravy and goat cheese and asparagus frittata, visitors will be satisfied whether in hopes for something savory or sweet. Initially built in 1902, the Andon-Reid Inn allows visitors to experience the beautifully preserved and historic architecture, including stunning veranda porches that wrap around the house– ideal for gazing at the picturesque mountains that surround the property.
- Cumberland Falls Bed & Breakfast Inn: Within walking distance of downtown Asheville and only three miles from historic Biltmore, Cumberland Falls Bed & Breakfast offers an incomparable location. Close proximity to downtown makes local restaurants and shops easily accessible. The Inn also features relaxing koi ponds, gardens and jacuzzis to wind down after an active day of hiking and exploring. It’s a cozy spot to retire during fall in The Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Stay at the Biltmore: Not only just for visiting for a day trip, the Biltmore offers various different beautiful lodging options such as the Village Hotel on the Biltmore Estate, the Inn on the Biltmore Estate, and Cottage on the Biltmore Estate. From a slightly more casual options to the heights of luxury, the Biltmore Estate offers special packages depending on your desired visit, in addition for specific holidays and occasions.
Places to Eat:
- Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant & Catering Service: Located in Blowing Rock since 1977, Woodlands provides their infamous barbecue beef, pork, chicken, and ribs, but also home style Mexican food. The space is family-friendly and captures the country-style atmosphere of the surrounding mountains. Alongside nightly live music, the restaurant also serves up sandwiches, desserts, and classic southern appetizers such as potato skins and swine rinds.
- White Duck Taco Shop: A local favorite, White Duck Taco Shop is the perfect spot for a laid-back meal of creative taco combinations such as Thai Peanut Chicken, Mushroom Potato with Romesco, Lump Crab and Duck with Mole. Sourcing 99% of their ingredients from the USA, White Duck Taco Shop provides options that will please carnivores and herbivores alike with their diverse pairings. Colorful and fun, the environment is casual, and great for lunch amidst an afternoon of exploring downtown Asheville.
- Lost Province Brewing Co.: Located in downtown Boone, Lost Province is both a microbrewery and craft pizza hotspot. On tap, they offer beers such as their Lost Province IPA, Strawberry Ale, Carolina Kolsch and Hatchet Coffee Lager. Their menu sports impressive meat and cheese boards to appetize, and Wood Fired Pizzas with curious combinations such as their popular Sweet Beet: a combination of rosemary olive oil, fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, sweet potatoes, beets, candied walnuts, rosemary, and jalapeño honey. Alongside specialty pizzas, microbrews, and frequent live music, Lost Province offers a wide range of sandwiches, salads, desserts, and various pub fare. Plus, fall in The Blue Ridge Parkway makes for the perfect outdoor dining setup.
- Leaf-Looking: As simple as it sounds, both visitors and locals anticipate the magnificent colors of the fall foliage every year. Usually peaking in intensity in October, visitors flock to experience the leaves’ change in pigmentation, whether via by foot or by car. Without a doubt, the Parkway in autumn is a sight not to be missed.
- Orchard at Altapass: Apple picking is a great activity for the entire family, and the Orchard at Altapass offers additional activities such as hayrides and guided nature walks. Alongside the numerous different flavors of apples ripe for the picking, the Orchard features The Apple Core Grill, which serves burgers and sandwiches with a southern twist, such as their Pimento Cheeseburger and Honey Apple Chicken Salad. All in all, the Orchard at Altapass promises an easygoing, pleasant day.