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That first cool September morning always gets me thinking about going to the mountains, but what about this long, hot summer we’ve had?  Will North Carolina’s fall foliage be delayed by late summer high temperatures?

According to the National Forest Service, the fall colors that we enjoy every year are actually there the whole time.  The production of chlorophyll is what makes the leaves appear green in the growing season.  As daylight hours dwindle in the autumn, chlorophyll production stops.  This lets the vivid colors show through.

The North Carolina summer heat stubbornly held on this year.  We asked Channel 9 meteorologist Keith Monday for his thoughts and he predicted a pretty good show.

“Typically, you want some decent rain leading up to fall and we’ve surely had that,” Monday said.  “Temps have started to drop off now and if that trend continues with sunny and mild afternoons and cool nights, then we should see a nice season ahead.”

Monday added that the hot weather in August put a lot of stress on trees, so it remains to be seen how much of an impact that will have on North Carolina’s fall foliage.

At least one leaf expert is predicting a later start for leaf color.  For popular areas such as Boone, Blowing Rock and most of the Blue Ridge Parkway, colors should really be cranking up October 10-20.  Lower elevations such as Lake Lure and Chimney Rock could see peak color as late as the first week of November.

These Towns Are The Best To See Fall Leaves In (And Near) North Carolina

It may still be in the 90s but fall is closer than you think! College football returns in just one short week (I CANNOT WAIT), tickets to county and state fairs are on sale now, and we know Starbucks’ fall drink lineup. I can (almost feel the chill in the air). I mean I did wear a jacket this morning, mainly because it made my outfit and it was in the 70s for at least my drive in to work. It’s something, and I’m holding on to it. So while it may not feel like fall, it’s time to start planning for fall. Thanks to the aforementioned college football most of my weekends and booked up. But I am looking to plan a fall trip. This is why I was intrigued by Country Living’s list of the best places to see fall foliage. And two of the best places to see those gorgeous, red, orange, and yellow fall leaves- are right here in North Carolina.

Best Fall Leaves In North Carolina

The list contained 55 towns, many situated in New England, where the colors are breathtaking. I frequently visit Asheville during “leaf season” and it’s always packed with visitors. While I’m surprised it didn’t make the list, a neighboring town did. You’ll find the two places with the best fall leaves in North Carolina below. You will also find four other spots that are an easy driving distance from NC.  All six of these towns are located in the mountains of their respective states. And the mountains are one of the best places to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of fall.

So browse this list, and start making plans. Soon enough you’ll be drinking a pumpkin spice latte, looking at the leaves fall out the window, with College GameDay on in the background. Take me there now! You can read the full Country Living list here.

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