We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for October, 2009

How to Enjoy an Early Morning Fog


With temperatures dropping in the Fall, early morning fogs are fairly common in the Smokies. Obviously, when clouds are touching the ground, there’s not much to see. But if you head for the higher elevations, along the Blue Ridge Parkway or Newfound Gap Road in the National Park, you can enjoy a spectacular sunrise above the clouds.

Photo by J.R. vanLienden

Comments are off for this post

October Sunrise on the Little Tennessee River


Smoky Mountains visitor Susan Weller took this photo of the Little Tennessee River shortly after sunrise in early October last year. The Little Tennessee is one of the the three rivers that feed into Fontana Lake, the others being the Nantahala and the Tuckaseigee.

1 comment

When is the Peak Fall Color in the North Carolina Smokies?


It’s the question of the month from callers to the Bryson City Chamber of Commerce. And the answer is “You can see fall color just about anytime from early October through early November. You just may have to drive to see it.” That’s because the arrival of peak color varies with the elevation, which ranges from 2000 to more than 6000 feet in Swain County.

Autumn’s annual color show is already making its way down from highest elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the climate is more like New England’s. And over the next three weeks, the above display will be repeated throughout the the Smoky Mountain landscape with the grand finale coming around the end of the month. The only spoiler could be a heavy thunderstorm, which could bring down the curtain early.

But right now, it’s shaping up to be quite a show.

Photo by J.R.VanLienden

Comments are off for this post

October’s Fruit of the Month — the Pumpkin


Nothing says “October” quite like the pumpkin. And yes, it is technically a fruit because it has seeds. And even if you carve your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, you can still enjoy those seeds as a tasty and nutritious snack. The shells are edible and a good source of fiber. Recipe below.

Locally-grown pumpkins are available at markets and fruit stands throughout the Smokies. But for children, there’s an exciting way to get a pumpkin in the Smokies. They can ride a train, visit a pumpkin patch, meet Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy and bring home their own pumpkin on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s annual Halloween-themed excursion. “Peanuts — The Great Pumpkin Patch Express” continues weekends through October 25. Trains depart the Bryson City depot.

Oven-Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds
Cooking spray, olive oil, or butter
Optional: Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, or other seasoning of choice

Rinse pumpkin seeds. Use your fingers to remove all the pulp. Drain pumpkin seeds and discard pulp. Spread out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Toss pumpkin seeds in olive oil, butter, or spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat.

Bake about 1 hour, tossing every 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to three months or refrigerate up to a year.

If you like your toasted pumpkin seeds extra-salty, soak overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt to 2 cups of water. Dry an additional day, then proceed as above.

Comments are off for this post