BANNER ELK, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s prime time for looking at trees as they change from verdant summer green to rich autumn colors. While New England and other areas further north are usually in the spotlight during these months, there are plenty of other places for leaf-peepers to enjoy the scenery — including here in North Carolina.
Banner Elk, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has been named one of the top 10 most underrated places for fall foliage in the United States by the website Trips to Discover.
“Banner Elk is one of the most quaint destinations in North Carolina, with local theater and authentic restaurants fueling the social scene,” the entry said. “Surrounding mountains meld with beautifully colored trees throughout the one-stoplight town, and industrial buildings are completely absent.”
The list, which does not rank the ten places individually, also mentions Banner Elk Winery and Beech Mountain Resort as local business where visitors can soak in the autumn scenery while enjoying local beverages and snacks.
At around a four-hour drive from Raleigh, Banner Elk is a good option for a weekend trip as peak season for fall foliage in North Carolina — usually in mid-to-late-October — approaches.
According to the town’s tourism website, Banner Elk attracts visitors every October for the Woolly Worm Festival in addition to the area’s spectacular fall colors.
The unique festival features “two days of racing woolly worms, aka woollybear caterpillars, with crowds cheering on their favorites amid the backdrop of autumn’s leaf-changing splendor,” the town’s tourism website said.
The dates for this year’s Woolly Worm Festival are Oct. 21-22.
Top 10 underrated places for fall foliage in the U.S. according to Trips to Discover:
|Portland Japanese Garden, OR|
|Sweet Creek Trail, OR|
|June Lake Loop, CA|
|Banner Elk, NC|
|Bar Harbor, ME|
|Jackson Hole, WY|
|Lake Pend Oreille, ID|